7 Ways the iPad Instantly Increased My Productivity
I love my iPad. It changed my life quickly — for the better 🙂 Here's how it has helped increase my productivity in my business.
1. Quick and Easy Task and Calendar Overview
I will admit that I love my calendar and I love task lists. I've finally developed a system of task lists that works perfectly for me. It keeps me on top of my tasks — and actually accomplishing them! I also use my calendar extensively to keep up with both family events and my writing projects and deadlines.
Pocket Informant HD is fantastic for looking over both of these things. It has tons of calendar views that help me get the information I want, when I want. It syncs with my Google calendars and Toodledo, my task server. There are many different task views — I can see what I need to take care of today and I can take a look at tomorrow or the rest of the week.
There's a clear snapshot of where I'm at whenever I need it. The built in calendar app on the iPad is also beautiful and useful for a quick glance. Toodledo's own app is also fantastic — I use it most when I want to add a task on the fly or quickly get an idea of what to do next. I use Pocket Informant HD to get an overview of where I'm at and where I'm going 🙂
2. PDF Reading is a Joy
There's not much more to say about this. Many, many of the books I need to read are in PDF format. I'm reading a lot about marketing and website creation and those books, reports, and transcripts are typically in PDF. I love reading on the iPad — and I love that I can annotate documents.
I use a number of different readers and I've been pretty satisfied with all there is out there.
I also like that I can read magazines and check out library books on my iPad. The selection isn't huge yet, but it's growing and business books are coming.
3. Flipboard Makes RSS Feeds Fly
I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds. I need to keep on top of both of my markets and keep up with information for each of my websites. I also have a lot of personal interests I keep up with via RSS.
When I switch over to Instapaper, I rapidly sort everything into appropriate folders. Then I'm ready to tackle social media with some of the folders — and able to come back and really focus on other folders later, after working hours.
I haven't tried Reeder yet, but I've heard really good things about how that can boost RSS workflow, so I'm planning to give it a try in the next couple of weeks.
4. Social Media is a Breeze
My social media workflow starts as I detailed above: interesting posts get sorted into Instapaper. All of the content from my own websites also goes through my RSS feeds and then gets dumped into Instapaper so it can go into the social media queue, as well.
I tackle an Instapaper folder by going through the articles within. I add articles that I want to share on Twitter into my Buffer. Then I move them to a Facebook folder. I manually post to my Facebook page throughout the day, via Safari (I don't like using the Facebook app for pages, though it's fine for my personal account).
I keep up with Twitter using Hootsuite. If I want to send out a quick tweet here or there, I use Hootsuite for that, too.
Social Media was never easy for me to keep up with on my computer, but it's a breeze with the iPad. Best of all, it doesn't take long at all to have a great workflow going. I'm able to keep up with both of my markets and actually enjoy it!
5. Distraction-Free Writing
I really enjoy writing on my iPad. I know that all the analysts say it's “great for consumption but not creation.” I was even taken in by that. Then I got an iPad and realized that it's really nice for writing articles on.
Generally I write articles in plain text documents, then cut and paste them into WordPress or into an HTML editor's template file to format for my Site Build It sites. I paste articles for syndication into Word documents, which Scott then proofreads and submits where they need to go. So a simple text editor is easy.
I love Plaintext. I love that it auto-syncs anything that I write easily into my Dropbox. I love that I can just fire it up and start typing. If a kid needs me for something, I can just leave it, knowing it's safely there and ready for me to come back.
I do use a keyboard with my iPad (Ipevo's Typi) and I love that. I'll do a review on it soon. But I also find that touch-typing on the iPad itself flows fairly smoothly if I need to use it.
6. Beautiful Mindmaps
I love mindmaps. They match the way I think. I can rapidly brainstorm and fill out a mindmap to really stretch myself and round out my ideas. I use Freemind on the computer which is perfectly functional, but it's not pretty.
I purchased iThoughts for my iPhone so I'd have something that could export maps in Freemind's format easily. It was a no-brainer to get iThoughtsHD when I got my iPad — it was the first app I bought. It's beautiful, uploads to Dropbox, and can use the Freemind format. I'll be honest, though. I haven't opened Freemind since I got my iPad!
The large screen and touch interface make an already-intutive process even more intuitive. iThoughtsHD has so many fantastic features that make my maps even better (I love the notes section… it made breaking a huge instructional document into actionable steps via mindmap so easy).
Did I mention it's beautiful and smooth to work with? The maps have greatly increased my productivity by themselves![box] Sidenote: I also want to add that the app Notes Plus has really helped me, too. All the notes I used to take in a notebook, I now use Notes Plus for. I love writing on the iPad using a Boxwave stylus. It's smooth and easy. Any note-taking that's not really suited to my mindmaps goes in there :)[/box]
7. Perfect Portability
Of course, the major advantage to the iPad is its extreme portability. I will admit I'm not really out-and-about much. I'm not off to coffee shops, interviews, or plane rides. But I am around my house constantly. My iPad goes with me. If I'm out front in the evening with the family, the kids are all curled up with a book — and Scott and I are curled up with iPads. I'm usually writing rather than reading 🙂
I flip through Flipboard in the mornings while I'm scrambling eggs. I write or work on a mindmap on the couch while the kids are working on schoolwork nearby. I research articles wherever I happen to be.
On Fridays, when I take the kids to outside lessons, my iPad goes along and I write or read. The battery doesn't give out until I'm ready to give out at night. It's there, it's instantly ready. I love it.