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How to Manage Notifications in iOS 6 for Better Productivity

How to Manage Notifications in iOS 6 for Better Productivity

With your new installation of iOS 6 in hand you may be wondering what all the cool extra features are that can make your more productive. One of the big “selling points” of iOS 5 was the new Notification Center, a way to manage and view your notifications for all of your apps. But, we quickly found there was some granularity that would have been nice to have for notifications; iOS 6 has added some of that and allows the user to manage their notifications in a more productive way.

Different Alerts for Different Email Accounts

One of the newest additions to Notification Center is that you can now control email alerts by email account, rather than control them for all email. This is a great way to be able to be alerted of something that you deem important (work emails at work) and not so important.

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    Go to Settings > Notifications > Mail. You can then change the tones and vibrations, alert style, badge count, and Notification Center listing for each email account you have. For anyone that has multiple email accounts this is a great way to manage your notifications.

    One way that you could do this is if you are at work and you have to respond to emails promptly (forced to), you could turn on your notifications for your work account while at work and leave your personal accounts off. This may work for some, but if you don’t need to see emails instantly, then we at Lifehack highly suggest turning all email notifications off and make your email processing more deliberate.

    Do Not Disturb

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      The new Do Not Disturb feature of iOS 6 allows you to block out a repeating time or manually flip a switch to block all incoming calls and texts from numbers that are outside of the ones that you have specified as allowed. For instance, you can allow calls only from a group in your contacts or people that you have marked as “Favorites”. You can even block all calls if you want to but still leave your phone on.

      This is a great way to control your inputs when you are working. You can just flip your Do Not Disturb switch while working on something important and then only the contacts you deem as “necessary” will be able to contact you. It’s a great way to manage your time and attention.

      VIP Alerts

      As I said before, we at Lifehack love to turn all of our email notifications off but use services like AwayFind to be notified when someone “important” emails us. Apple has included a sort of “AwayFind lite” in iOS 6’s Mail.app in the form of VIPs.

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        Go to Mail and in the list of accounts you will see your VIP list. When you tap on the list you will see all emails that have been marked as VIP. You can also tap the blue arrow on the VIP listing to see your VIP list contacts and settings. You can mark certain numbers and email address as VIPs and then control the notifications of those emails separately from all your other email. Also, you will get a nice, handy VIP choice in your email account listing.

        VIPs help you stay out of your inbox and keep you notified of emails from key people in your work and life.

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        iOS 6 gives the user some great new features to control and manage their endless amount of notifications from apps and messages. It’s nice to see that Apple is recognizing that allowing the user to become granular with their notifications is the best for them to have control and become more productive with their devices.

        More by this author

        CM Smith

        A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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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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