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How To Personalize Your iPhone From The Inside Out

How To Personalize Your iPhone From The Inside Out

I’ve been an iPhone user since I was able to get my hands on one, which wasn’t easy as a Canadian. I had to go to eBay and grab an iPhone second-hand. Then I had to jailbreak it. In essence, I made my first ever iPhone as personalized as possible … because I had no other choice!

Now that iPhones are widely available, I have plenty of choices. And those choices aren’t just related to apps or carriers. There are many ways you can personalize your iPhone from the inside outand that’s how you can make the device a real pleasure for you to use every single day.

The Right Case

One thing you can do that requires virtually no knowledge of the iPhone’s innards is to get a case that says “you” and wrap it in that. To be honest, I’ve got one case that does that for me, and it doesn’t really seem like a case at all, which is actually one of the reasons I like it so much.

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It’s made by WoodChuck, a company that makes far more than iPhone cases (and they do custom work). I have a Green Lantern case (pictured) for both my iPad and iPhone, and being able to look at the GL logo every day really resonates with me, and the case is top quality.

WoodChuck represents American-made products in an industry over-populated by overseas manufacturing. Their products are 100% sustainable and customizable, so beyond being incredibly personal, they’ve got a great company culture to match: these things are important to me. See if you can find a case that resonates that well with you.

Device-Specific Uses

I’ve got a myriad of devices, and I want to make sure I use each of them with intent. One of the ways that I’ve chosen to make my iPhone as personalized as possible is by using it for certain things and not using it for others.

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For example, I don’t read on my iPhone. I don’t have any RSS reader applications installed on it, and I don’t have iBooks installed on it. That’s what my iPad is for. By removing the reading applications from my iPhone, I’ve freed up one particular area that I know it is not intended for. And that can really help me in terms of being more efficient and effective in my use of the ones that it is for.

So, take a look at what you have installed on your iPhone and decide if it’s really what needs to be on there. You may find there are some applications that you’re just not using because the device just isn’t designed for that purposeat least not in the way that you use it.

Launching Apps

Having a bunch of apps installed all over the place is one thing, but having an app that allows you to quickly access the apps you use most often (and keep your screens as clutter-free as possible in the process) is another. That’s when apps like Drafts and Launch Center Pro come into play.

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I use Drafts as my ultimate inbox. Everything that I input into my iPhone goes through Drafts, be it tasks, tweets, or ideas for posts like this one. Then from within Drafts I can decide where those things should actually be. Tasks go to OmniFocus or Asana, tweets go to Tweetbot, and ideas for posts either go straight to Byword or sit in Evernote. But I always know where the starting point is: Drafts.

I’ve also personalized all of the destinations within that app. I use Launch Center Pro in many cases when I know where things are going to go immediately. I use a setup very similar to Michael Schechter’sa setup that works very well for me. Using Launch Center Pro allows me to make choices with my iPhone that are designed and maintained by me. And using these apps also allow me to keep my screens and folders in far better shape, which is the shape I like to keep things in.

Screens and Folders

Any of you who have read about the iPhone since it came out have probably seen articles that show off users’ home screens. With the arrival of iOS 7, you can now put more apps in folders, finally bury Newsstand inside of a folder, and really decide how you want to map out your iPhone so that it works more cohesively for you. I’ve gone as far as to keep the bottom row on my home screen “app free” because of the amount of real estate I’ve got to work with now.

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When it comes to screens and folders, the possibilities are endless. And that means personalization is just as endless. We can’t do much about changes to operating systems or updates to our favourite apps. But now, more than ever, we are able to make our iPhones uniquely ours. And we can do that from the inside out.

So what have you done—or are going to do—to make your iPhone as personalized as possible? Let me know in the comments below.

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Mike Vardy

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

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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