My Current iPhone Homescreen

It’s the beginning of the year so you know what that means.

Not going to the gym you just bought a membership from. Stuffing a whole bag of goldfish crackers down your gullet for lunch. Other things that dissolve your new year resolutions. Along with those, I do one thing that affects me every day. I look at my current iPhone homescreen and assess if should make any changes. In truth, this is not a once a year thing for me. I do this every few months because my needs change. Plus, there are always new apps popping up that become more important than others.

Below is a screenshot of my new homescreen. For the most part, these represent the apps I use the most frequently.

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Popclip – A Little Mac Gem

As a geek that likes to find new apps to make my life easier, I tend to think of the big ones – Slack, Evernote, OmniFocus. Secondarily, I think of Fantastical, Overcast, Streaks, and Due.

One that I use daily and love yet gets overlooked is a little thingby called PopClip. It gets overlooked because it’s just a part of your normal workflow. It’s not an app that you have to open to use. PopClip provides you options to use when you select any text on your Mac.

Here’s are two simple scenarios, with and without PopClip.

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Evernote versus Apple Notes

I need to get away from Evernote. It’s not as good as it used to be. It’s certainly not worth paying for. I wish Bear or Apple Notes would be a better solution. – Me

I have been struggling with a decision on a note-taking and management app for quite awhile. I’ve been an Evernote user for a long time and have been paying for it for at least five years. It has served me well over the years for the most part. But things change. My needs and workflows have changed.

  • I used to put pdf attachments into Evernote. But I found that inefficient, mainly when I wanted to get those documents out. When I got a real scanner and started scanning a lot of files, I switched over to having my files in a simple folder structure on my laptop.
  • A lot of my notes were very short, text-based notes. Some were even temporary. Evernote was overkill.

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2 Apps to Develop Great Habits

As the new year begins, most of us have our typical resolutions. Lose weight, exercise more, read more books, watch less tv, etc.

Unfortunately, they’re probably the same exact ones as last year.

So how can we try to not be in this same situation next year?

In the past year, I have come across two apps that I believe can help create good habits.

The Art of Streaking

Early last year, I read about an app called Streaks. Its premise is simple – set up a task you want to do on a regular basis. Every time you complete the task, check it off. That’s it.

This is all based upon the notion that you don’t want to break a streak, especially the longer the streak goes.

See that exercise streak of 9? Make it 10.

If you do some simple googling, you’ll find many articles about Jerry Seinfeld and his Don’t Break the Chain calendar.

Why I like this particular app is because it’s very simple to use AND you can ONLY track up to 6 tasks. Trying to track more than that is probably a recipe for disaster so it protects you from yourself.

Note: If you are interested in getting an in-depth review, read this brand-spanking new article on Achieving Personal Goals with Streaks at MacStories, which has a ton of amazing articles.

After a few months of use, I found that I was both successful and unsuccessful with creating habits. Certain ones I was great at, keeping very long streaks alive. Other streaks were broken soon after and never started back again.

So now what?

Help Yourself with Reminders

One problem people have in their lives is being too busy.

Honestly, who doesn’t say that?

You’re scurrying around all day trying to get your to-do list items done (aren’t you?). And at the end of the day, you look to see what you’ve done and hopefully, add another day to all your streaks.

But as I’ve found, that’s doomed to fail in a lot of cases.

If you have streaks you do first thing in the morning, those are probably going to get done a little more frequently. However, the ones that fall in the middle of the day? Not so much.

What you need are reminders.

Some people think it’s beneath them to have reminders. And there are some lucky people that don’t need them. But for most of us, I would strongly suggest not fighting the true need for reminders.

In comes Due app.

Although there are many apps that will remind you to do things, including stock apps on your phones, most fail because they only give you one reminder.

In our hectic lives, it’s easy to get caught up in something and actually need to push back that reminded task a little bit. Maybe it’s just 10 mins or maybe it’s an hour or two. You still want and need to get it done but that exact minute is not going to work.

Where Due stands out is that you can easily snooze the reminder instead of marking it complete or deleting it.

Can’t eat that one piece of fruit right at 10am? Can’t floss your teeth at 8pm because dinner has been delayed? Overslept and missed taking your daily medication?

This app will remind (or is it nag?) you until you check it off that you have completed the task. You can set those nag intervals to as little as every minute although I would only use that in extreme cases.

Clear your brain of having to remember things and let technology work for you. Let it remind you and nag you when its needed.

I believe that in this case, the sum is greater than its parts.

Using one of these type apps is good but using both in tandem will get you to develop habits you are more apt to keep.

Please note that I have received no compensation from the makers of these two apps for this article.

Digital filing with the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500

Those that know me or have read some of my blog articles, I’ve become a big proponent of decluttering.

Arguably, it’s been somewhat addicting. Instead of wanting to obtain, I want to purge.

As I help people become more efficient, one key thing I tell everyone is that you never want to turn your physical clutter into digital clutter.

Let’s say you scan boxes of documents. Sure, you pick up that much space in your office closet but there’s a good chance that you just created a different kind of mess on your computer.

So, before you jump into scanning, consider everything that you have kept and if you will need it for the future. Old gas and utility bills? Tax returns from 10 years ago? Car payment invoices?

None of that is needed.

Check with your accountant but from asking multiple accountants, they all have told me that you only need to keep records that are less than 7 years old.

Once you have gone through all your papers and thrown out everything you don’t need, only then is it time to scan. Just like laying out every piece of clothing you have in one place when you purge, do the same with your papers. You’ll be able to see exactly what you have accumulated over the years.

Regardless of whether or not you have a lot of historical documents, there’s no doubt that you’ll continue to get more. If you are serious about moving your documents to a byte-sized world, my recommendation is that you invest in a great scanner.

Long gone should be the days of the individual document flatbed scanners or all-in-ones. If you try to use one of those, you will fail quickly.

Instead, I can’t highly recommend the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 enough.

The quickness of being able to scan all different kinds of documents and more importantly, through a sheet feeder is pretty astounding if you have never seen it in action.

Multiple page documents? No problem. Double-sided documents? Again, no problem. Need to switch between single-sided vs double-sided? Done with ease.

You can scan directly to email or into documents. It even works wirelessly so you don’t have to even plug it in to your USB port. Heck, you can even scan to your mobile device.

It has software for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Not only have I had one myself for over 18 months, I have set them up for friends and clients.

Get this scanner and get rid of all those filing boxes and cabinets.

Note: I am not being paid for this review and I paid for my scanner in full. I am just a very happy user trying to help those that also want to move to a digital filing system.