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Bloom: A Different Kind of Productivity App for the iPhone

Bloom: A Different Kind of Productivity App for the iPhone
    Photo courtesy of Mindbloom

    Seattle-based Mindbloom has made waves with its digital inspiration and productivity web app, adding a gamification element to the niche that was both unique in approach and in accessibility. Now they’ve added a standalone app to its arsenal with Bloom, a free app that gives users a real kickstart in doing what really matters in everyday life. It offers a fun and simple way to transform photos and music into a private or shared digital inspiration. Bloom brings what’s really important in life to the forefront, enabling users to connect better with their lives as a whole as opposed to just their to-do lists. I’ve had a chance to play with the app while it was in testing, and the Mindbloom team definitely are onto something with Bloom.

    The digital inspirations that are the foundation of the app are called (fittingly) Blooms, and the app comes pre-loaded with several of them. You can set reminders that will notify you when it’s time to “Bloom” them – and those reminders can be randomized or set for particular dates and times. You can associate different images from your iPhone with each Bloom, and do the same with music from your iTunes library. Each Bloom comes with imagery attached already, so you can choose to go with those defaults or pick photos from your own library that fit the Bloom best. As for musical selections for Blooms, each one comes with a preview of a suggested iTunes song (and offers a download link so you can grab it straight away), or you can go with your own song if you want.

      The "Edit Bloom" Screen

      Blooms can also be shared socially via your Facebook and Twitter accounts, or can be sent to friends and family via email. Once shared, Blooms can be saved in the Bloom app, played, or be used as the starting point for a new, personalized Bloom. Here’s an example of how I’ve used varying privacy settings with Blooms:

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      1. I sent a private Bloom to my wife to be sure that we share a hug every day.
      2. I have prepared a share group-only Bloom with fellow NaNoWriMo writers on “staying the course”.
      3. I’ve got a public Bloom that ready to be “socially shared” (Facebook and Twitter followers) that suggest they give Bloom a look as soon as they can download it.

      Bloom notifications are one of the things I really took advantage of during my testing of the app. It reminded me to reflect, take a break, or trigger an action that kept me focused on what mattered to me most. I’ve never been really good at keeping up with water intake, but Bloom has allowed me to do this.

      I’d never enter something like “Drink water” into my task management app of choice, but since I don’t look at Bloom in that manner, I’m able to do it here. What I consider Bloom to be is a life enhancement app, a companion piece that I can use (along with Mindbloom) to keep augment mindfulness while I let my task manager handle all of the other stuff. It’s part of my combined system, and it works well for me because each component does what it does better than the others.

      But why should you grab Bloom? And more importantly, why should you use it – or Mindbloom, for that matter?

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      Unlike any productivity-type application I’ve seen, Mindbloom basically makes achieving what might be usually considered an ordinary thing quite an extraordinary digital experience.

      Parks Associates, an industry research firm, is studying a growing demand for health entertainment and lead analyst, Harry Wang believes Mindbloom can be just as entertaining as it is beneficial.

      “Many health and wellness applications often take a prescriptive approach when designing the user experience. But we’ve seen that people tend to become less engaged with these types of applications over time,” said Mr. Wang.  “Mindbloom takes a more personal approach, entertaining even, which makes the overall experience more inviting, relevant and rewarding.”

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      I had the opportunity to speak with Mindbloom founder Chris Hewett when Mindbloom first launched and just days before Bloom was scheduled to go public. What I discovered is that he is among those who are developing a new generation of productivity/task management apps that “gets it”.

      It brings to mind this quote, which, much like Steve Jobs, I’ve been a fan of:

      “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” – Wayne Gretzky

      Hewett and his team are doing just that with the Mindbloom web app – and now, with Bloom on the iPhone.

        The "Reminder Prompt" Screen

        “Everyday, more than 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook, Instagram recently celebrated 150 million photos being shared and iTunes recently surpassed 16 billion song downloads,” said Hewett, a former executive producer for Monolith Productions who developed blockbuster hits such as No One Lives Forever, Tron 2.0, and F.E.A.R. ”Photos and music are a powerful way to express ourselves and to share experiences, but we believe there’s an untapped opportunity to use photos, music and inspiring words to remind ourselves and express to others what matters most to us and what we’re doing about it.”

        As mentioned, Bloom can act as a standalone app, or can work in conjunction with the Mindbloom web app through the recently launched free-to-play “life game”, which serves to inspire people to define what’s important, discover what motivates them, and take meaningful daily actions in all areas of their life. Users can connect Bloom with their Mindbloom life game, where it builds on these goals by focusing on the science behind behavioral change – integrating technology, art, and human psychology to make personal growth more effective on-the-go.

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        Bloom is now available as a free download in the iTunes App Store .  I recommend you give it a look – it’s not your ordinary productivity and lifestyle app.

        In fact, it’s quite extraordinary.

        More by this author

        Mike Vardy

        A productivity specialist who shows you how to define your day, funnel your focus, and make every moment matter.

        Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero 4 Simple Steps to Brain Dump for a Smarter Brain Why Is Productivity Important? 10 Reasons to Become More Productive How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

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        Last Updated on November 19, 2019

        10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

        10 Smartest Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

        Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

        Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

        As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

        In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

        Projects and Tasks Management

        1. Monday dot com

          Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

          The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

          The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

          The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

          Check out the software here!

          2. Asana

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            The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

            The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

            Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

            Check out the software here!

            3. Trello

              Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

              Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

              Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

              Check out the software here!

              4. Jira

                The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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                The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

                The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

                Check out the software here!

                5. Evernote Business

                  Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

                  The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

                  Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

                  Check out the software here!

                  Communication

                  6. Slack

                    Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

                    Check out the software here!

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                    7. Spike

                      Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                      Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                      Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                      Check out the software here!

                      Creation

                      8. Office 365

                        Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                        Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                        You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                        Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                        Check out the software here!

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                        9. Grammarly

                          Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                          Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                          Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                          Check out the software here!

                          Team Analytics

                          10. ActivTrak

                            ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                            The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                            Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                            Check out the software here!

                            The Bottom Line

                            Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                            More Productivity Tools

                            Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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