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Habits are the compound interest of self improvement – James Clear
This time of year, everyone is talking about goals. And New Years Resolutions. And Progress. And taking over the world.
Over here at The Sweet Setup, we’ve been talking about habits a lot. Because without healthy habits, your New Years Resolutions, Goals, and plans to take over the world will most likely fall pretty flat.
In James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits, he talks about the importance of how good habits help you not only to play the game, but to actually win the game. But how do you know if you’re winning the game, unless you’re tracking your progress?
Enter Habit Trackers.
Managing your time has long been an integral part of the knowledge worker’s day, and calendar apps have been around almost as long as email. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for innovation, and there are plenty of powerful calendar apps available for Mac users. But we believe Fantastical is the best calendar app because it offers Mac users a beautiful user interface, natural language processing that is second to none, and advanced features to make scheduling with other people even easier.
A long time ago, we at The Sweet Setup nearly immediately ordained Bear as the best note-taking app for iPhone, iPad, and the Mac. Bear’s design and ease of use made it an easy recommendation for anyone searching for a note-taking app.
Times changed, of course. Bear went into a winter hibernation of sorts, effectively seeing limited to zero major updates for years. In that same span of time, note-taking apps seemingly became a Pandora’s Box of features — you could find great handwriting note-taking apps like Goodnotes, quick text scratchpad apps like Edit, note-taking apps that combined your notes with your calendar like Agenda, and long-form note-taking and research apps like Keep It, Ulysses, and more.
Then along came Obsidian.
One of the other major winners in that same stretch of time was Apple’s built-in Notes app. Notes is an undeniable powerhouse in the iPhone, iPad, and Mac note-taking arena. The app boasts incredible first-party features and support. The app sherlocks a variety of the other best note-taking features on the App Store and calls it its own. And the app is free.
It’s getting to that point in the year when we are looking toward the new year. I know the question is already on my mind, “What is the best planner for 2024?”
It might come as a shock, but I’ve always been a nerd and a major planner fan. As a kid I would ask for sticky notes and gift cards to Office Max for my birthday and Christmas. I used to buy new planners every year when I was in school, but I always had a hard time making them stick.
Choosing the right planner can be hard. Actually using the planner you choose is an even harder challenge. Just like with apps, there is no planner to rule them all. There are hundreds of different options and there are a lot of good ones. It comes down to choosing which one works best for you and deciding to actually use it.
In this article we are going to tackle the criteria for a good planner. We’re also going to give you some of our favorite planners to recommend and what makes them so great (for both physical and digital planners).
It’s been a few years since we dipped our toes into the calendar category, and there are some notable changes to the landscape. Artificial intelligence has permeated itself into almost every app imaginable. The combination of scheduling and task completion have come together to boost productivity levels. And managing busy schedules has introduced a need for direct calendar invites for any and all of life’s events.
The result is a whole slate of new calendar apps for iPhone to discover and learn. There are a variety of new apps since the last time we tested, and we’re excited to highlight them.
Nevertheless, our calendar criteria hasn’t changed. We wanted to know which apps were the easiest to use for entering new events, viewing your current agenda, and more. Based on several different criteria, Fantastical continues to be the choice for the best calendar app for iPhone.
The new Clear Action Planner just dropped!
This is your place for ideas…
Your place for dreaming big…
Your roadmap for focusing on your goals…
Your tool for showing up every day…
But most of all, a place for connecting the dots of your “vision level” stuff into the daily actions that will help you make it happen.
It’s a digital planner, designed for the iPad or Remarkable tablets, and it’s the perfect combo of analog and digital productivity tools.
You’ll have a single, searchable solution that handles everything you need to be productive and creative.
Apple Notes has seen some of the most development of any built-in Apple app over the last few years — perhaps only Safari and Mail have seen more active development in recent memory. Let’s see how up to speed I am on the newest Notes features over the last five or six years:
- You can instantly create a note from the iPad Lock Screen.
- You can create a Quick Note across iOS, iPadOS and macOS with a gesture or keyboard shortcut.
- You can edit PDFs and fill in fillable PDFs.
- You can use iOS’s amazing OCR capabilities to read your handwriting and text in images.
- You can collaborate on notes with friends and family.
- You can write and draw in a variety of new digital tools with the Apple Pencil.
- You can organize your notes with tags.
- You can link to other notes in Notes (also known as back-linking).
The list of features has really evolved and it has become one of the best note-taking apps available today.
Right alongside the ability to tag your notes in Apple Notes is the ability to create smart folders. Smart folders are tags and folders on steroids — you can build out entirely custom ways to unearth and organize your notes.
Interesting Links From Our Friends and Around the Web »
- (Snazzy Labs) REAL iMessage on Android – No Apple ID Needed!
- (Six Colors) On macOS, it’s best to start with the default
- (Focused) #192: Flow State
- (MacStories) First Look: Stray for Mac
- (Mac Power Users) #721: “Technological Empathy,” with Kourosh Dini
- (Christopher Lawley) My Favorite Tech of the Year
Design Your Ideal Weekly Schedule
Free → Video Workshop + Productivity Templates
If you want to reduce the busywork and distractions, then sign up here for instant access to a brief video workshop on How to Plan Your Week.
♥️ Quick Note: You’ll get access to the workshop, plus a few additional bonuses to help you overcome procrastination and deal with distractions so you can spend more time on the important work that matters.