Google Productivity Pad: June 2014

Monday, June 30, 2014

The 168 Hour Log: Filling Out the Sheet

Yesterday I realized that I am once again at a place in my life where I am either not happy with what I am achieving, or at least I don't feel that I am. It could be possible that I am actually achieving plenty but that I don't know that I am because I have unrealistically set more things for myself to do than are actually achievable (I have been known to do to this before). I just started my graduate program at BYU this past week, so that could have something to do with it...

After talking to my wife about this during our weekly planning and goal meeting we decided I should redo a wonderful productivity tool called the 168 hour log. I first discovered this tool from Laura Vanderkam when she was on Beyond the Todo List.

The concept behind the 168 hour log is that you will use the next week to do something, every hour in it, so let's log what that is so we can analyze it and use it better. So I am going to try this again since I am at a new phase of my life here, and I am going to bring you all along for the ride.

Friday, June 27, 2014

iPhone and iPad Tip: Home Page Corner Tap

Here is a quick little tip that many people do not know about iOS.

Most people know that you navigate between home screens by swiping left or right as shown below:

But not everybody realizes that you can an also navigate between the home screens by tapping the corners directly above the dock as shown in yellow below:

It can take a little effort to use this navigation technique, but it can be useful for moving quickly between pages.

Hope you enjoyed that tip. If you have iPad or iPhone questions that you would like answered please comment below. Thanks for reading, and remember, live better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Todo List Quest: Recurring Tasks

Recurring tasks have been one of the items on my todo list criteria since the beginning. I think that is one of the main benefits of having electronic todo lists, is the ability to make tasks reappear periodically. There are some things I want to do everyday, some things I want to do once a month, and some things I want to do on a specific day every year.

In the old days of paper planners and todo lists these tasks always had to be rewritten manually every time they needed to be done. That meant that when you finished a task you did every month you would have to go write it down on the calendar for the next month or put it in the tickler folder.

That is exactly what GTD would suggest doing, and I suppose it worked fine. Now there is a faster and easier way though with recurring or repeating reminders. You don't have to go write it down all over again, you just set it an forget about it until you are reminded on the proper day.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Affiliate Links

Hello faithful readers of Productivity Pad. I wanted to let you all know that I am starting to use Affiliate Links on the blog. The reason behind this is that I would like to offset some of the costs of running the blog and eventually be able to purchase my own domain and hosting. I have been talking about a lot of products for a long time and linking out so that you can purchase them if you desire, but I have never received any compensation for that, now I would like to monetize the blog through those links.

How it works
I have signed up to be an Amazon Associate. That means that when I link out to an Amazon product from this site I will receive a percentage commission if someone clicks through and buys that product on Amazon. I might also sign up to do the same thing through iTunes since I review many apps.

My Promise
I will always give honest reviews on this site and only recommend that you purchase products that I actually use and believe are helpful. I will link to these products from blogposts and from widgets on the side bar. I hope that this will be one more way that Productivity Pad can provide value to you as a reader. The products I recommend will, as always, be ones that can help you live better.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Todo List Quest: Gneo and Todoist, where I am now

Alright, it has been a little bit since I have talked about the todo list quest. I am still in the process of going through different apps and putting their info in the spreadsheet. But, I wanted to let you all know where I am now in the aspect of managing my own lists from day to day.

Currently I have separated my day job and the rest of life in to two different task management apps. For work I am using Todoist and for the rest of my life I am using Gneo (the G is silent, but I like to pronounce it anyway :)

These two apps both fulfill different purposes for me. Some people would discourage you from using two different apps and systems to manage tasks, David Allen would probably be one of those. But, at this point in my life it helps me to keep work from invading the rest of my life.

Todoist is for work

I really like Todoist, the system is clean and because of its integration with chrome through an extension it works really well. I do almost all of my work for my day job in chrome so Todoist is always there for me to dump things into. It also integrates with Gmail so that I can turn emails into tasks (one of the criteria I was looking for).

Gneo is for everything else

I have selected Gneo as my first full test for a new personal todo list because of a few features. The first one is its integration with Evernote, Gneo is essential a skin for an Evernote notebook stack. I have long heard of people using Evernote for GTD but I just couldn't get the interface to work for me for task management. Gneo ends up making that interface much more user friendly. I really like the idea of my todo list data actually being stored in Evernote where most of my other project data will also be stored.

The second reason is that Gneo uses the Covey matrix as one of its task views. I am a huge fan of the work of Stephen Covey and I love the way the matrix organizes things. I didn't put this on the criteria because at the time I hadn't ever seen an app that did it.

A third reason is that its integration with Evernote allows me to use it with Drafts for quick input. I find this to be super useful for the capture step of GTD.

So there you have it, for now I am using these two apps for work and personal life. I am still testing others and adding them to the spreadsheet. I will right more full reviews of the apps in the future.

Both apps are nicely put together and have responsive teams. If you have used either of the apps please tell me what you think of them and any tips you have for using them.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

WWDC 2014 Keynote Recap

Alright, so as a follow up to yesterday let's talk about what we actually saw at Apple's WWDC keynote, and how it stacked up against what we were guessing.

iOS 8: Yep, we got it, just as everyone knew we would.

We also got the new health data tracking app, called simply Health not Healthbook, which will pair with many different health monitoring devices so long as developers use the new Healthkit SDK.

Notification center got some big and much needed bumps, including responding to notifications directly from them (Yeah!) and 3rd party widgets, which has been long in coming.

Sandboxing isn't going away, but for the first time ever apps are being allowed to talk to each other, through the security of iOS. This is part of what will make widgets possible for notifications, and it will also make possible my two dreams from the last post of having Pinterest integrated and having a Dvorak keyboard. Honestly this is probably what I am most excited about.

There are a ton of other new features in iOS 8 that we will be discussing as we get closer to the release this fall.

OSX 10.10: Yep, we got it too, and it is named for another California location: Yosemite. It will be free update just like Mavericks was and will have a lot of features to make it and iOS 8 work awesomely together. As Craig Federighi said it will be really handy. The biggest thing is that the two OSs will now have handoffs that will be seamless. Your devices will sense each other and you can pick up doing something on one, right where you left off on the other. This will even allow you to send emails and text messages from you computer, and be able to use your phone's hotspot with no configuration.

iCloud: as predicted iCloud got mentioned a whole bunch. The big news here is big advances in Photos and keeping them up to date on all devices. Along with that will come some new cheaper pricing on data for storing those photos and your other information. The opening tier (after the 5 gigs free) will be 20 gig for 99 cents a month.

Beats: Of course the deal to acquire Beats music got mentioned, via a cameo phone call with Dr. Dre. But as expected their were no product announcements around the new acquisition, it is just to soon, and apparently Dre hasn't been to new employee orientation yet.

Apple TV: zilch, nothing, nada. Complete and total silence on the Apple TV front, it was basically like it didn't even exist. So much for moving it from hobby status. Well I guess I should be glad I didn't hold out for a new one. I did watch the keynote on my Apple TV 3rd gen, so I guess that counts for something.

Home Automation System: Sort of. Apple did not introduce any hardware for your home. But they did introduce the HomeKit SDK for developers to unite home automation into a seamless iOS experience as they build products. I hope this SDK will make home automation a lot better and less fractured.

iWatch: Nope, just as predicted, the fabled iWatch is still just a fable.

Alright, those are just the answers to the question from yesterday, there were a lot of other reveals and some really exciting announcements. Mostly the excitement is for developers right now, and that excitement will come to consumers in the fall when we start to see what devs have built with this new stuff.

You will of course see a lot of the online press talking Apple down in the next few days because they didn't release new hardware, but that is silly because this is the developer's conference, it was never suppose to be about hardware. The really big news, I am sure, was a new programming language. But that is hard for most of us to get excited about. In short, Apple stayed true here to the audience they invited, and they were kind enough to let the rest of us look in.

Monday, June 2, 2014

WWDC 2014 Rumor Roundup

Aright folks, today is the day. At 11:00 MDT (no one ever puts up Mountain time, but I live here so I will) Apple will be holding the WWDC keynote. You should be able to watch the keynote live streamed to any Apple device. You can follow me on twitter for live updates during the event.

I am going to go over a bunch of the major rumors here, but before I do I want to make sure everyone is clear on what WWDC is, it is Apple's WorldWide Developers Conference. The main focus of the event (which goes from the 2nd to the 6th) is on Developers who produce things for Apple's products. So while most of us who are Consumers are looking for new products to be revealed at the keynote today (because we love buying more from Apple) the focus of the event is really on software that will be released later this year. After all the tagline for the event is: "write the code, change the world"

Alright, so that being said let's go over what might be announced today.

iOS 8: If there is one guarantee for this year's WWDC it is that iOS 8 will be announced. This is the traditional location for iOS announcements so that developers can prepare for their launches in the fall. We have already seen a banner up at WWDC displaying the 8.

While a new iPhone or iPad is almost certainly not going to be announced at this event, iOS 8 will most likely give us clues into the next generations capabilities.

Rumors for iOS 8 include a new health oriented app called Healthbook, more communication between apps (i.e. less sandboxing), the killing of the game center app, a redesign of notifications, and improvements to the Apple Maps app.

In addition I am holding out hope for two thing that seem small but would make a big difference for me: a Dvorak keyboard option, and Pinterest integration. Neither of these are likely to happen though.

OS X 10.10: Another near certainty is the next version of the Mac operating system. There don't seem to be any big rumors about it though. It will likely be named after another location in California and be a free update through the app store.

iCloud: You can expect to hear something about iCloud during the keynote, and hopefully some big improvements. Wouldn't it be nice if they also bumped the amount of storage you get for free?

Beats: Apple would be remiss if they did not mention their acquisition of the music company at a conference just days after happened. But the news is still to new for me to expect any product announcements based on it.

Apple TV: The 4th gen Apple TV has been rumored for over a year now, so let's hope we see in today. Many rumors include adding 3rd party apps to the system, adding Siri control, getting a new remote, adding a game controller, and ousting cable companies with an al la carte video streaming service. We shall see if any of the materialize. Some seem more likely than others.

Home Automation System: This was the late comer to the rumor party. The concept is that Apple will be entering the internet of things with a system to automate your home from your iPhone. While I think that Apple is the only company that could make a good home automation system at this point, I doubt we will see this today. The rumor was turned down a little bit to instead of being a system form Apple being a program for developers to submit their products to, similar to the "made for iPhone" sticker.

iWatch: As much as I really want to see this product come to life, I doubt we are going to see it today. That being said if Apple want's to release it this year and have apps available for it, they will have to release information on it today. I would love to see this happen, but it still seems unlikely at this point.

Alright, I think those are the major rumors at this point. If I missed any put them in the comments below. Don't forget to follow me @halduauthor for real time reactions.