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Lifehack’s iOS 5 Tips and Tricks Guide

Lifehack’s iOS 5 Tips and Tricks Guide

    The latest, greatest OS from Apple has been out for almost a week. Now that we have started to put it through its paces we can bring Lifehack readers some tips and guidance.

    This article is simply about iOS 5 specific enhancements. Later this week we will cover Siri and and how you can use it to increase your productivity.

    Check out the list below and click on the thumbnails to see a more detailed view of the screenshots. If you have a tip that you love about iOS 5 that isn’t covered here, add it to the comments!

    Camera

    Quick access – To get to your camera quickly just double tap your home button when your iPhone is locked or asleep. You will see a small camera button on the bottom left of the lock screen. Touching it will take you to your camera app. Snap away.

      Grid – Under options, where the HDR option is, you are now given an option to place a grid over your shot, allowing you to line it up. Power of thirds!

      Slide to album / camera – When you are on your camera screen you can flick the camera to the right to go straight to your album. Then you can flick left to get back to your camera.

      No need for too many camera apps – The iPhone’s camera app now has built in cropping, red-eye removal, and auto-enhancements. So for quick and simple editing you can stick with the built in app.

      Hardware snap – You can now snap a picture by clicking your volume up button while in the Camera app.

      Notification Center

      Notification Center is a much needed addition to iOS as the very modal popups have gotten quite annoying over the years. Notifications are now on par with Android and could be even better by some aspects.

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        Organize your notifications

        – It’s easy to organize what notifications you want to see and in what order you want to see them. Going to Settings > Notifications you have access to all the apps that support the new Notification Center. Tap the Edit button in the top right and you can organize the order as well as move some apps’ notifications to “Not in Notification Center”. Also, you can skip organizing notifications by order and choose to view them by time.

          Adjust your notifications – By tapping on each app in Notification Center you can adjust the alert’s style (None, Banners, and (old school) Alerts). You can also control the app’s badges and if the notifications show up in the lock screen.

          Weather widget – Just a quick one. The weather widget in Notification Center can be swiped to see the five day forecast.

          iCloud

          iCloud is a huge advancement in iOS 5. Here are some of the things that you will love to know about it.

            iCloud Backup

            – When you are setting up iOS 5 for the first time, you are asked whether-or-not you want to backup to iCloud. Regardless if you answered yes or now you can always go to Setting > iCloud > Storage and Backup and turn on iCloud Backup. Your iPhone will now backup automatically when you are connected to power and WiFi and with your screen locked. You can backup manually by pressing the Backup Now button. You have to be connected to WiFi to backup.

              Managing iCloud storage – If you are running low on iCloud storage, which you can check by going to Settings > iCloud > Storage and Backup > Manage Storage, you can easily delete backups of iOS or even documents that you have put “in the cloud”. That is if you have any iWork apps on your device.

              General sync items – Of course, you can turn off any iCloud sync items from Settings > iCloud.

              Maps

              Multiple route choices – The biggest addition to maps is the ability to choose among multiple routes when getting directions. To choose a different route after getting directions, simply click on the alternate route’s blue line.

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              Safari

              Mobile Safari is probably one of the apps that I am in most of the time. There are some small enhancements that make it even better.

                Reading List – Oh, no! Is it an Instapaper killer!? Not really at all. But it is easy to use and a great feature to have integrated into the OS. When you are on an article that you want to read later, click the middle bookmark button and choose “Add to Reading List”. Then to get to your Reading List click the little Open Book Button (the second from the right) and choose Reading List. There you will see a list of all the articles that you added.

                  Reader – Reading List doesn’t inherently do much of anything other than give you a simple list of stuff you want to read later. The real magic is in the Reader function of Safari. This strips down the page and lets you see just the content of the article in a nicely formatted way. On any article in Safari, just tap the Reader button in the address bar.

                  Twitter

                  iOS 5 comes with “deep” Twitter integration. It’s a shame that no other apps can hook into iOS this way, but it’s cool to see Twitter get the “rock star” treatment.

                    System-wide sign in – Go to Settings > Twitter. You can sign in with your Twitter credentials as well as install the official Twitter app. You don’t “need” to install the official Twitter app to take advantage of using Twitter in mobile Safari. After signing in you can update your iOS contacts with information from your Twitter contacts.

                    Tweeting from Safari – On any page in mobile Safari tap the middle Bookmark button. In the list choose Tweet. Fill in your Tweet. Couldn’t be easier and more convenient! You can also add your location by tapping the Add location label at the bottom of the Tweet prompt.

                    Calendar

                    The calendar on iOS is pretty mature but there were a few tweaks that iOS 5 brought to it.

                      Adjust appointments – To adjust the time-span or time of an appointment long tap on the appointment and then drag it wherever you want to move it to. After long tapping you can let go and then adjust the span of the appointment by dragging the small top and bottom handles.

                        Week view – You can go to week view by rotating the device to landscape.

                        Year view – On iPad you can go to year view by rotating the device to landscape.

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                        Reminders

                        I was super excited about reminders when they were announced at WWDC. The idea of having a nice, simple task and reminder manager built directly into iOS is compelling. Personally, I am an OmniFocus user, but to set up a quick reminder, Reminders is perfect.

                          Add and adjust lists – Tap on the list button on the top left and then tap “Edit” on the top right. You can then adjust the order of your lists as well as add new lists by tapping “Create New List…”

                          Navigate and using lists – You can navigate all of your lists by swiping left and right or by tapping the list button in the top left and then tapping which list you want to go to. Adding tasks is simple. Just hit the plus button on the list and type the name of the task.

                          You can rapidly type in tasks by typing and tapping return and typing more. Tapping Done on the top right will get you out of “task adding mode.” To edit a task, tap the task and edit the task’s details. You can add a reminder for the task at your current location, or set a specific due date. You will then be notified through Notification Center (as long as you set up the notification).

                          Mail

                          I don’t like to use any email application more than I have to and with the new iOS 5 enhancements to the stock mail app, Apple has made it easier and faster to use.

                            Searching mailboxes – To search any “mailbox” (that is any label for you Gmail peeps or any folder for you regular mail guys) tap which one you want to search then scroll up all the way and start typing. When you start typing four buttons show up below your query allowing you to search the fields From, To, Subject, or All. All searches every aspect of your email messages.

                            Notifications – This goes with any app that allows notifications. You can turn on lock screen previews of your incoming mail, choose how many messages you want to see, choose the way you want to be interrupted (I mean notified) by the message, and also turn off the mail unread count badge completely.

                              Rich Text – You can now add some rich text formatting to your messages. Long hold on any word, select the text you want to format, tap the small right arrow, then tap ‘BIU’ to choose either bold, italics or underline. You can also change the quote level of the sentence you are working on.

                              Move recipients – You can quickly move mail recipients from the To, CC, and BCC fields by long holding their little blue name labels and dragging them to the desired field.

                              iMessage

                              Using iMessage – My experience with iMessage has been limited to my wife. As far as I can tell iOS simply recognizes that my wife has an iPhone with iOS 5 and we can instantly start iMessaging each other with nothing more to set up. Pretty simple.

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                              Accessibility

                              Apple has always made strides to make their iDevices accessible to those that need it. iOS devices seem to be some of the only devices that make it easy for people with special needs to use.

                                LED notifications – There is no small multi-colored LED on the iPhone to notify you that something is happening with your phone, but you can now turn on LED notifications (they use the LED flash on the back of the iPhone) to make the iPhone alert you. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and switch on the LED Flash for Alerts. When an app alerts you, the LED will flash.

                                Custom vibration settings – You can create custom vibration patterns for any contact. Go to Settings > General > Accessibility and switch on Custom Vibrations under the Hearing subheading. Then go to a contact and tap Edit in the top right. Right under where you can set up their custom ringtone you will now see vibration. Choose that and you can then select one of the built in vibration settings or choose Create New Vibration. On this screen you can tap your vibration and then play it back. Ingenious.

                                System-wide

                                iOS 5 is all about increasing overall features and functionality. Here are some of the great little tweaks across the entire system.

                                  Dictionary – Don’t know the meaning of a word? No problem. Long hold on a anywhere in the OS to select it and tap “Define”. You are then given a nicely formatted definition of the word.

                                  Keyboard shortcuts – Go to Settings > Keyboard and down at the bottom of the screen you will see the Shortcuts section. You can add custom keyboard shortcuts that can be used in any iOS app. This is great for small signatures, email addresses, and just about anything else you type a lot of that is a pain in the ass to type.

                                  Split keyboard – On iPad you can split the landscape and portrait keyboards so you can thumb type. To do it, tap and hold each side of the keyboard with your thumbs and slide to the outside of the iPad. To put the keyboard back together slide your thumbs together to push both sides of the split together. This is a much needed and much appreciated feature.

                                    Emoji – For all you smiley and little cute graphic lovers out there, an Emoji keyboard now comes standard in iOS 5. Go to Settings > Keyboard > International Keyboards > Add New Keyboard… and tap Emoji. You can then access your pretty pictures from anywhere you can type by tapping the small globe icon by your spacebar. As far as I know, only iOS devices can see these little icons.

                                    There are so many enhancements to iOS 5 that we are still uncovering to this day. What’s your favorite tip or trick in iOS 5? Share it in the comments below!

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                                    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 July 27, 2020

                                    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                    20 Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity

                                    Are you usually punctual or late? Do you finish things within the time you stipulate? Do you hand in your reports/work on time? Are you able to accomplish what you want to do before deadlines? Are you a good time manager?

                                    If your answer is “no” to any of the questions above, that means you’re not managing your time as well as you want. Here are 20 time management tips to help you manage time better:

                                    1. Create a Daily Plan

                                    Plan your day before it unfolds. Do it in the morning or even better, the night before you sleep. The plan gives you a good overview of how the day will pan out. That way, you don’t get caught off guard. Your job for the day is to stick to the plan as best as possible.

                                    Here’s How to Create a To-Do List that Super Boosts Your Productivity.

                                    2. Peg a Time Limit to Each Task

                                    Be clear that you need to finish X task by 10am, Y task by 3pm, and Z item by 5:30pm. This prevents your work from dragging on and eating into time reserved for other activities.

                                    3. Use a Calendar

                                    Having a calendar is the most fundamental step to managing your daily activities. If you use outlook or lotus notes, calendar come as part of your mailing software.

                                    I use it. It’s even better if you can sync your calendar to your mobile phone and other hardwares you use – that way, you can access your schedule no matter where you are. Here’re the 10 Best Calendar Apps to Stay on Track .

                                    Find out more tips about how to use calendar for better time management here: How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space

                                    4. Use an Organizer

                                    An organizer helps you to be on top of everything in your life. It’s your central tool to organize information, to-do lists, projects, and other miscellaneous items.

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                                    These Top 15 Time Management Apps and Tools can help you organize better, pick one that fits your needs.

                                    5. Know Your Deadlines

                                    When do you need to finish your tasks? Mark the deadlines out clearly in your calendar and organizer so you know when you need to finish them.

                                    But make sure you don’t make these 10 Common Mistakes When Setting Deadlines.

                                    6. Learn to Say “No”

                                    Don’t take on more than you can handle. For the distractions that come in when you’re doing other things, give a firm no. Or defer it to a later period.

                                    Leo Babauta, the founder of Zen Habits has some great insights on how to say no: The Gentle Art of Saying No

                                    7. Target to Be Early

                                    When you target to be on time, you’ll either be on time or late. Most of the times you’ll be late. However, if you target to be early, you’ll most likely be on time.

                                    For appointments, strive to be early. For your deadlines, submit them earlier than required.

                                    Learn from these tips about how to prepare yourself to be early, instead of just in time.

                                    8. Time Box Your Activities

                                    This means restricting your work to X amount of time. Why time boxing is good for you? Here’re 10 reasons why you should start time-boxing.

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                                    You can also read more about how to do time boxing here: Get What Matters Done by Scheduling Time Blocks

                                    9. Have a Clock Visibly Placed Before You

                                    Sometimes we are so engrossed in our work that we lose track of time. Having a huge clock in front of you will keep you aware of the time at the moment.

                                    10. Set Reminders 15 Minutes Before

                                    Most calendars have a reminder function. If you have an important meeting to attend, set that alarm 15 minutes before.

                                    You can learn more about how reminders help you remember everything in this article: The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

                                    11. Focus

                                    Are you multi-tasking so much that you’re just not getting anything done? If so, focus on just one key task at one time. Multitasking is bad for you.

                                    Close off all the applications you aren’t using. Close off the tabs in your browser that are taking away your attention. Focus solely on what you’re doing. You’ll be more efficient that way.

                                    Lifehack’s CEO has written a definitive guide on how to focus, learn the tips: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

                                    12. Block out Distractions

                                    What’s distracting you in your work? Instant messages? Phone ringing? Text messages popping in?

                                    I hardly ever use chat nowadays. The only times when I log on is when I’m not intending to do any work. Otherwise it gets very distracting.

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                                    When I’m doing important work, I also switch off my phone. Calls during this time are recorded and I contact them afterward if it’s something important. This helps me concentrate better.

                                    Find more tips on how to minimize distractions to achieve more in How to Minimize Distraction to Get Things Done

                                    13. Track Your Time Spent

                                    When you start to track your time, you’re more aware of how you spend your time. For example, you can set a simple countdown timer to make sure that you finish a task within a period of time, say 30 minutes or 1 hour. The time pressure can push you to stay focused and work more efficiently.

                                    You can find more time tracking apps here and pick one that works for you.

                                    14. Don’t Fuss About Unimportant Details

                                    You’re never get everything done in exactly the way you want. Trying to do so is being ineffective.

                                    Trying to be perfect does you more harm than good, learn here about how perfectionism kills your productivity and how to ditch the perfectionism mindset.

                                    15. Prioritize

                                    Since you can’t do everything, learn to prioritize the important and let go of the rest.

                                    Apply the 80/20 principle which is a key principle in prioritization. You can also take up this technique to prioritize everything on your plate: How to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster

                                    16. Delegate

                                    If there are things that can be better done by others or things that are not so important, consider delegating. This takes a load off and you can focus on the important tasks.

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                                    When you delegate some of your work, you free up your time and achieve more. Learn about how to effectively delegate works in this guide: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

                                    17. Batch Similar Tasks Together

                                    For related work, batch them together.

                                    For example, my work can be categorized into these core groups:

                                    1. writing (articles, my upcoming book)
                                    2. coaching
                                    3. workshop development
                                    4. business development
                                    5. administrative

                                    I batch all the related tasks together so there’s synergy. If I need to make calls, I allocate a time slot to make all my calls. It really streamlines the process.

                                    18. Eliminate Your Time Wasters

                                    What takes your time away your work? Facebook? Twitter? Email checking? Stop checking them so often.

                                    One thing you can do is make it hard to check them – remove them from your browser quick links / bookmarks and stuff them in a hard to access bookmarks folder. Replace your browser bookmarks with important work-related sites.

                                    While you’ll still checking FB/Twitter no doubt, you’ll find it’s a lower frequency than before.

                                    19. Cut off When You Need To

                                    The number one reason why things overrun is because you don’t cut off when you have to.

                                    Don’t be afraid to intercept in meetings or draw a line to cut-off. Otherwise, there’s never going to be an end and you’ll just eat into the time for later.

                                    20. Leave Buffer Time In-Between

                                    Don’t pack everything closely together. Leave a 5-10 minute buffer time in between each tasks. This helps you wrap up the previous task and start off on the next one.

                                    More Time Management Tips

                                    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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