How to Use a Daily Reminder iPhone App to Write a Book

How to Use a Daily Reminder iPhone App to Write a Book

    For years I’ve wanted to write a book. Through various notes on documents I have a dozen different titles or topic ideas, and at least 5 book outlines. These are all ideas that I started on but never made much progress. Some ended up just being material for a blog post, but most of the ideas never saw any kind of completion.

    Oddly enough I’m not alone in this desire or behavior. So many people talk about a desire to write a book, but very few actually do. Of the few that start, most are like me and never finish. The follow-through on the initial inspiration is completely lacking. So why am I depressing you with this?


    Well, I have a solution. At least it worked for me. My book was released September 4th 2012. I’d like to share the simple tricks I used to write it.

    The Method

    First I established that the problem wasn’t with my ideas or inspiration, but really just with ability to get words down on paper. So I made a decision to focus on volume written until I was confident in my ability to write. Want to get good at writing? Then write.

    Last year I designed and developed an iPhone app called Commit. The idea behind Commit is that if you want to get good at something you should do it every day. If you want to learn to draw then you will make more progress with 15 minutes of practice every day than you would by practicing in 2 hour blocks once or twice a month. So when you first launch Commit it asks you what you will commit to. The page reads like this: “I will ________ every day”. You fill in the blank and create your first commitment.


    Mine is “I will write 1,000 words every day”. Then you set a reminder time (10:00 PM). If I don’t finish my commitment for that day by the time set it will send a notification to my phone asking “Were you going to write 1,000 words today?” If you already have marked it completed for the day then Commit won’t bother you… until tomorrow.

    But that’s only part of it. Commit keeps track of how many days in a row you keep your commitment. After several days you start building a chain. By the time you have 15-20 days in a row not breaking the chain becomes part of the motivation. If I’ve written 1,000 words a day for 30 days, then I can do it today as well. So when that reminder appears on my phone at 10:00 PM I know I need to sit down and start writing in order to not break the chain I’ve worked so hard to build.

    This chain continues to grow and the motivation to not break it increases. If you were to keep your commitment for 150 days in a row, do you think you would keep it on the 151st day as well?


    The Quote

    But that’s not all there is to writing a lot of content. Sometimes you get stuck and can’t find the perfect way to phrase a thought. So you write and rewrite it endlessly, trying to make it perfect. That’s where this quote comes in:

    “When faced with writer’s block, lower your standards and keep going.” – Sandra Tsing Loh

    Striving for perfection is often what trips us up, preventing us from writing as much as we need to.  Getting the idea written is most important since I can always go back and refine my words later.


    The Results

    For me the results from combining the quote and Commit have been astounding. Not only have I written a book, but also dozens of blog posts (this one included). I went from having a hard time writing one short blog post per week to easily writing 1,000 words per day.

    I bet you could as well.

    (Photo credit: Once Upon a Time via Shutterstock)

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    11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

    11 Brain Training Apps to Train Your Mind and Improve Memory

    Whether at work or at school, people these days are under tremendous pressure to perform, perform and perform! Stress and pressure can have adverse affects on the well-being of a person, and need to be controlled.

    Now, this doesn’t mean you make a dash to your nearest therapist. There are a number of wonderful and smart apps that you can use on your phone. These brain training apps have been scientifically designed to target specific areas of the human mind and control harmful emotions such as anxiety, as well as to improve memory and sharpness of the brain.

    Here are 11 iPhone apps that you will not only enjoy but also find useful in keeping your mental health balanced at all times.

    1. Lumosity

    This app consists of games that focus on improving the user’s memory, problem-solving capability, attention span, and thinking. There are three games in each session, and they challenge the brain by changing every time. The user has to complete the games while playing against a clock.

    Free of trial. $15 per month for the full version.


    Luminosity Mind training apps-Lifehack

      2. Fit Brains Trainer

      This brain training app has 10 sets of games that work on different areas of the brain and improve memory as well as concentration. A user is required to finish a particular task from each category on a daily basis and the app tracks the progress by a color coded graph.


      Fit Brains Trainer Mind training apps-Lifehack

        3. CogniFit Brain Fitness

        Developed with the help of neuroscientists, this fun app improves a person’s cognitive abilities, which includes memory and concentration. The progress made by the user over a period of time can be tracked. Users can also play challenge rounds with their friends. The app also modifies the difficulty level to suit the profile of the user and provide recommendations based on the results. Spending 20–30 minutes a few times every week can give measurable improvement in the performance of a user.

        First four games free, then $13 a month.

        cognifit-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

          4. Brain Fitness Pro

          The makers of this app claim that it can improve the IQ of a user, and improve intelligence and memory. The app is fun and is user friendly, and 30 minutes a day can fetch you results in less than three weeks.


          Buy for $3.99.

          5. Happify

          If nothing else makes you happy in life, this app will. Well, this is what the developers claim at least. This app comes loaded with lots of quizzes, polls and gratitude journals, which work on the fundamentals of positive psychology. The app also helps to control stress and emotions to make you feel better.

          Free to use.

          Happify-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

            6. Clockwork Brain

            You will like the little gold robot that comes in every time to explain the next game you are going to play. While the games are not much different to those offered in apps such as Luminosity, the look and feel reminds me of a workshop from old times.



            Clockwork Trsin-Mind Training Apps-Lifehack

              7. ReliefLink

              Initially created as an app for suicide prevention, it has found its use as a great app for tracking the mood of the user by taking measure of all things relevant to the user’s mental health. In case the user experiences high emotional stress, the app has a coping mechanism that includes voice-recorded mindfulness, exercises and music for relaxation. There is also a map that informs the user of the nearest therapist and medical facilities for mental health treatment.

              Relief Link - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                8. Eidetic

                Eidetic is a memory enhancement app and uses a ‘spaced repetition’ technique to help users memorize information such as important phone numbers, words, credit card details or passwords. It also notifies you when it’s time to take a test to see what you remember, so that you retain information in your long-term memory.

                Eidetic - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                  9. Braingle

                  Braingle helps to maintain the sharpness of the brain and improve the reasoning ability of a person through riddles and optical illusions. It is different from other brain training apps that employ memory and reaction based tests. You can also compete with your friends and family members in figuring out the fun riddles.


                  Briangle- Mind Training Apps-LIfehack

                    10. Not The Hole Story

                    If you have a penchant for solving hard riddles, then this app is a must-have for you. Filled with exclusive riddles along with a simple-to-use interface, the app gives you riddles that you have to solve through a book. You will be given hints along the way, and when you give up, the answers will be revealed. This app will encourage you to broaden your thinking and put your mind to a challenging test.



                    Not the hole story - Mind Training Apps - Lifehack

                      11. Personal Zen

                      This fun brain training app follows the journey of two animated characters who travel through a field of grass. Personal Zen is a nice app meant for reducing anxiety and trains the brain to focus on the positive aspects. The developer’s advice is to use the app for 10 minutes a day to see the best results.


                      personal zen- mind training apps - lifehack

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