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Small actions taken over a long period add up to a significant amount of progress. This is no surprise, and it’s something we hear time and time again. But it’s normally mentioned when someone is trying to motivate you to add small, daily actions that will bring you great benefit later.
But the same is true in reverse. Eliminating small, insignificant actions can bring great improvements in time available and holistic health in the same way that adding incremental habits can. That is, as long as you choose each of these wisely.
That may seem like a highly philosophical way to start this article, but it’s the base model on which this idea is built. Something as seemingly unimportant as your mechanism for switching applications can lead to huge improvements over time just by removing the friction involved in locating the software you want to focus on at the time.
What I’m proposing is this: you should set up keyboard hotkeys that allow you to navigate from app to app.
Quick: Think of all the note-taking apps you’ve read about, tried, or heard about in the last 12 months. I’ll stay here and wait — you might be awhile.
Note-taking is all the rage right now. From gardeners and librarians to quick jotters or artists, there’s likely to be a note-taking app for you. Obsidian, Roam Research, Bear, Agenda, NotePlan, Notability, GoodNotes, Evernote, SimpleNote — take your pick.
Yet, somehow, some folks get caught out in the rain with no note-taking app to be found. We probably all find ourselves in this spot from time to time, wishing for something new and exciting to boost our note-taking productivity and unlock fresh new ideas.
Or there are those who started in Notes, tried every other note-taking app available, and ultimately ended up back in Notes after all the experimentation (remember the Uber-popular “Jedi” meme that went around?).
Fortunately, Apple’s built-in Notes app continues to improve each year, with new useful features for capturing moments of brilliance or small bits of ephemera along the way. Notes saw a big leap forward in iPadOS 15 and, with iOS 16, we’re seeing some of those key features filter down to the iPhone as well.
Here’s a roundup of iOS 16’s latest features for Notes, and a quick look at what we’re going to see in iPadOS 16’s Notes soon.
Remember the golden age of email apps? I remember Sparrow, the best email client to ever be made. I remember the wait line to get into Mailbox. I even remember the seemingly endless wait to get the new Outlook design just a few years ago.
Those were the good ol’ days.
It’s not like there’s a shortage of email apps in the App Store though. Spark continues to be an excellent pick for all email users. Options like Edison, Proton Mail, Hey, Canary Mail, and more are all available, with strong feature sets and reasonable pricing.
None of these click for me, unfortunately. This will certainly be a “It’s not you, it’s me” problem, but I don’t find any of these email apps particularly inspiring or delightful. My colleagues love Spark. I just don’t jive with it.
And when things don’t jive in third-party territory, then you rely on Apple to create a reasonably good first-party app to hold you over until the next hot new email app hits the App Store.
Mail is a pretty good email app in iOS 15 — good, but not great. It’s free. It services most, if not all, the email services. It has reasonably good design and is baked into iOS 15.
Mail is also slow, lacks certain table stakes features like Undo Send, Send Later, and has a clinical design that lacks any sort of whimsy.
iOS 16 promises more than a few fixes — especially to these table stakes features. For anyone holding out for the ultimate email app for iOS, the latest out of Cupertino may end up checking more boxes than any third-party option available.
Is your productivity busted?
If you feel like you could use a tuneup for how you manage your tasks and your time, get access to our Productivity Workshop.
Shawn Blanc (founder of The Sweet Setup) covers:
1. The four most common symptoms of a busted productivity workflow
2. What you can do to overcome them
3. How to improve your approach to managing and organizing your tasks.
You’ll also get the downloadable templates and cheatsheets.
Interesting Links From Our Friends and Around the Web »
- (David Smith) Testing an Apple Watch Ultra in the Scottish Highlands
- (Automators) #111: Automating Endor Studios
- (MacStories) Creating Lock Screen Widgets for Specific Notes via the Apple Notes URL Scheme
- (Six Colors) iPhone 14 Pro Review: No phone is an island
- (Christopher Lawley) iPhone 14 Pro (Max): The Upgrade I’ve Been Waiting For
Our Must-Have, Most Used Productivity Apps
We spend an inordinate amount of time sorting through hundreds of apps to find the very best. We put together a short list of our must-have, most-used apps for increasing productivity.