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Make Your iPhone More Efficient with Launch Center Pro [Review]

Make Your iPhone More Efficient with Launch Center Pro [Review]


    One of the best things about the more recent iterations of iOS is the ability to place apps into folders. But while this allows for better organization of apps, it doesn’t make them all that more accessible. Yes, you can swipe left on the home screen and then search for the app you’re looking for, but having an app like LaunchBar or Alfred available on iOS would improve the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the device. That’s why when Launch Center by App Cubby arrived, I jumped on board straight away.

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    I’ve watched as more and more apps and actions were able to be used by Launch Center, especially as it gained notoriety. The thing about Launch Center is that it makes many of my regularly-used apps accessible with just a couple of touches. Now with the arrival of Launch Center Pro, those touches have become even more robust, taking better advantage of the iOS user interface. (David Barnard of App Cubby even addressed some of the limitations that Launch Center had in a recent blog post.)

    The new look of Launch Center Pro is the first thing that caught my attention. Rather than a linear list of things that I can do within the app, it has more of a button-based design. This allows for deeper layers of activity, such as when you press the preset App button it then dives down into whatever app you’ve placed inside (as seen below).

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      One of the really great presets is the Toggle button at the top of the main screen. I find that digging into the Settings on my iPhone to make my brightness dim a chore, but with this preset I can do it with the touch of a button. And when I want to resume my brightness level, I simply touch the button again. A simple and thoughtful addition to the app that further shows a thoughtful approach to making the app.

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      Predetermined actions such as Bookmarks and Flashlight are very handy, especially for those of us that don’t keep Safari or the Flashlight app in a commonly-accessed area. Some of the bookmarks have predetermined logos attached (sadly, Lifehack isn’t one of them), which I think is a neat touch and shows the care that the App Cubby team has put into Launch Center Pro.

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        There has been an increase in the apps that can be used with Launch Center Pro versus what Launch Center had readily available, and I’ve already reached out to several developers to see if they are willing (and able) to use URL schemes to make this happen. App Cubby has provided such developers a resource to help them out, and while I realize that using the developer’s own Timer app as a default app is a smart move, I’d love to see task and time management such as 30/30 and Asana step up to the plate and allow users like myself to use Launch Center Pro to access them quickly and easily. That said, there are plenty of these types of apps to choose from so far, and as with Launch Center, more will likely join the fold as time goes on.

        It’s not a matter of if you should grab this time-saving app; it’s a matter of what you’re going to move off of your Dock so you can replace it with this productivity savior.

        Launch Center Pro is $2.99 in the iTunes App Store, and it is worth every penny. After all, time is money – and the time you’ll save now (and in the future) using this app means the app will pay for itself in short order. If you’re trying to be more productive on your iPhone, then do yourself a favour and pick up Launch Center Pro…today.

        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.

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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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