So Fantastical is an app that I have used off and on for years, and today it got an amazing update, one that I have been begging the developers for years to get.
I’m not going to go over all the new features and stuff, there are plenty of blogs that have done that today.
What I am going to say is that is it a subscription based app now, A move they made because if they didn’t their business would not be sustainable. I bought the subscription right away, because it was worth it to me, with all the extra features it now becomes a whole productivity hub, especially now that it has such a tight integration with my task app todoist.
I have heard a lot of people complaining about them going to a subscription model, they still are giving users who already purchased the app a few updated features and all the features they already have for free, I think that’s very fair. for me it’s simple, pay for what you will use, for me it’s worth it for that app, some people pay a bunch of money for a weather subscription, or a tv channel subscription to watch a certain program, or maybe a music streaming service, I will use fantastical daily so it’s very much worth it to me for the subscription.
I decided that I was spending a lot of time messing around with my Homescreen and what apps I use.
So I went through and minimized it, I deleted quite a few apps over fifty to be exact, a lot of chat type apps, credit card and food ordering apps, I went back to letting safari do the heavy lifting for me. I added quite a few bookmarks in safari. I organized them into folders as well.
I have a dock only setup with two apps and two folders, my right hand folder has my top used apps organized into 3 pages, the left folder has everything else, the first page on the left side has important apps as well, then everything else is organized by category.
It actually makes it quicker to find things and I love have all my items down at the bottom of the screen, I have a max sized phone, and even though I have big hands it just makes it easier to have everything in reach.
I just went through and reorganized my Twitter feed again, I did it one time during the days I was off around the holidays.
This time I dialed it in a little deeper, I’ll let you know what I did. I found myself have a bunch of lists, the first thing I did was eliminate all those lists except for four, which I can now see at the top of my twitter feed, i consolidated the ten lists I had into just four. I found I wasn’t using the other lists that I had created, I was just using the four that I had pinned.
In consolidating those lists I found that a lot of them were overstuffed with accounts I didn’t really care about, I removed those accounts.
My tech list especially, I had over 250 accounts in that list, I trimmed that down to 75 people, I added some to actual following and some I just unfollowed.
Next I went through my followers themselves, I unfollowed a lot of accounts, and I added some people to lists. I really prefer to see people in my feed, no so much companies, that’s what I’m trying to find, most big companies have been added to lists now.
I’m really loving this new setup, I get a lot more use out of my twitter feed everyday like this!
I’ve really enjoyed writing and blogging, it’s something I have always wanted to do but never got around to doing. I’m glad this year I gave myself the push and just jumped in and did it.
To do my writing I use two apps, iA writer and WordPress, I use them both in different ways.
My blog site is hosted in WordPress so I use that app most often to write my posts. I also used the iOS version to create and maintain my site. The editor is great, it’s quick and easy to create posts, add pictures, links etc. It’s my daily driver for sure.
I also use iA writer, now I haven’t gotten used to all the formatting and markdown you can do with that app, but if I wanna just sit down and write something, and put out thoughts and feelings in a more long form way I haven’t found a better app.
I listened to a podcast with Greg Morris and Gabriel Santiago earlier this week and something was mentioned about having a bunch of items in iA writer and looking at them, cleaning them up and posting them.
That spoke to me, I have been using iA writer to write a lot more personal emotional things, posts and ideas, who knows if I will ever release them, but they are all there stored and in an iCloud backup file for me to access.
I love both these apps and I use them on a daily basis for my workflow.
Before a couple weeks ago I had never had an RSS reader stick, I had tried numerous ones, every time a new one came out I would download it and try it I would start by dumping my feedly account into it and then just look at all the numbers of unread articles. It became overwhelming because I just wanted the numbers gone so I would just mark everything as read. Never actually reading anything, it was a total waste of time.
Then a week ago I read an article by Matt Birchler about blogs I should follow, and earlier that same day I had read a tweet about an individual using an RSS reader for just peoples blogs.
I tried it and I absolutely love it, it has just friends blogs, no news, no subscriptions, no random stuff, just friends blog posts, I have a small number of unread items, and I read all of them.
I still get my news from twitter and Apple news, and now I have a dedicated app just to read stuff from people that I have selected, with no news or filler.
I’m so glad I started this experiment, the only regret is that I didn’t start it sooner.
I wanted to share my unique point of view when talking about tech and apps. I manage my life on my iPhone only, no iPad or no computer.
We are on the upgrade program so every year I get a new iPhone, it’s like leasing a phone, which is great because I can always have the latest tech, I am using an iPhone 11 Pro Max.
This blog is written via iA writer or the official WordPress app on my iPhone. My task management is all handled through todoist on my phone, the games I play are all on my phone, video editors, anything I blog about is done on my phone.
So for me when an app updates, it never matters what they have done to the iPad version of an app. Or if their even is an iPad app. I only care what new features have been added to the iPhone version.
So when I write about apps, app updates, iOS, how I manage my life, it is written from the viewpoint of that I am iOS only, maybe someday that will change but for now I have been very happy managing everything on my phone.
I always like seeing other people’s top 5 used apps, so I thought I would write a post of my own.
To be transparent though, this is just my 3rd party apps, I use stock apps like music, messages and safari all the time, I just wanted this to be about apps that Apple didn’t make.
These are in no particular order
Twitter is my favorite and most used app, I get all my news here, I keep up with my interests, I interact with a lot of friends here as well. By far my favorite social platform, and there are 3rd party apps available out there, but I prefer all the small things that make the stock app great, like topics, the trending stuff, suggestions, all of it, and I see maybe 1 ad a day. I could keep going on and on about it, but I’ll just leave it at that it’s the best in my opinion.
Telegram is a messaging platform that I really enjoy also. It’s extremely full featured, it’s constantly updated, and it has all the bells and whistles, total customization, from icon, to chat colors, to chat bubble colors, you name it you can do it on there. I also happen to host a 250 plus member group in there that’s devoted to Apple, apps, tech, homescreens, etc. I’ll include the link below, please feel free to join, or if you know someone who might be interested please feel free to share the link.
My task manager of choice, I have gone back and forth time and time again with task managers, but I always end up back at Todoist. I love the style and the colors and there is no quicker way to input items then with the superb NLP in Todoist, and rescheduling items is a snap as well. The share sheet is also among the best I’ve used in iOS as well. It just works with my workflow so well.
Pocket Casts has become my podcast of choice lately, I love the customization options, the new purple UI color is amazing, the sync is fantastic and the notifications are great, I have also found that the watch app works awesome and that the app itself works in more places and better than the stock podcast app.
Reeder 4 is a new addition to this list, I was using another RSS reader but then I got introduced to Reeder and found out how great it was, again the customization options, from icons to colors to views and sizes it’s amazing, and I think this will be my app to stick with.
So for my use I just open the app and write down what exercises I did that day.
Then I copy and paste it to Apple Notes, In there I have created a folder called Workout Records, In which I keep all the notes, They will be in order from the date I created them so I can have a record of everything I have done for a week.
I’m sure their is an easier way to do this and automate it and maybe create a template, I will keep researching those, I also think I will post a screenshot of my Apple Watch when I’m done with my workouts in each Apple Note as well for reference.
I’m finding you might not always need an additional tool, just maybe tweak one of the ones you already have in your toolbox.
I realized my Todoist setup was disorganized and quite a mess so I set out to clean it up, and streamline it.
I had many projects that I didn’t need, I realized I was just dumping items in there that could easily be placed elsewhere. I chose Apple Notes for a destination for a lot of the items.
The first thing I did was evaluate what I had in Todoist already. Then I decided how I wanted to use the app.
I decided that I wanted to use the app to only keep items that were actionable in the next 30 days, Only small exceptions like calling to schedule doctors appts and oil changes etc.
I had a project that I kept for items I wanted to buy for my wife, kids, our house etc, I moved those over to folders in Apple Notes, I also had a project named Media that I kept apps to download, books to read, movies to watch etc, again I moved those over to folders in Apple Notes. Finally I had some home projects and a bathroom remodel that we have been planning on doing for over 3 years. I deleted the home projects because my wife and I have a running shared note with those items in there, and having a project in Todoist also was just redundant, and I created a note with checkmarks and links for the bathroom remodel, and when the time comes to actually do it, I will move the project back to Todoist.
I also had a project where I kept workouts I wanted to do and workout related stuff, again I made a folder in Apple notes for those items and now write down my workouts in drafts and then send them to a separate workout records folder I created in Apple notes.
I made another major change and removed all my bills from Todoist and added them to a bill tracking app, that makes looking at the app so much less stressful and I love the bill reminders app I chose, It’s called BillMinder and it’s a one time app purchase which I love as well, the less subscriptions the better.
Next I changed the items I have pinned to the top of Todoist to just 4 filters
The first one is priority one, which is a filter that just shows me priority 1 tasks
The next item is Routines, which is a filter that basically has all my recurring routine tasks, which are items like my weekly task review, charging my wife and I’s headphones on Sunday so they will be ready for that weeks gym workouts, checking my calendar items for the week, etc
After that is this month, that’s a filter that shows everything due this month
Last is no due date, that’s a filter that shows me tasks that have no set due date
With those four filters it basically covers all of my tasks, and I can view and adjust anything right from the top of the app, which is very important to me, seeing as I’m iOS only, I manage my whole life through just my iPhone.
I am extremely happy with this setup and I feel it will serve me well to start of 2020, I’m sure their will be adjustments, but for me this seems like a great jumping off point to start the new year.