The Possibilities With Developing iOS Applications From an iPad

Xcode is the missing Xfactor needed on the iPad. On a day to day basis, most of the work that gets achieved from my side, gets accomplished with a 2015 15" MacBook Pro Retina. Sometimes however, it's quicker, easier or just more fun to use iOS for the same tasks. Over the past few months, I have been making a push to use an iPad more wherever I can. This is entirely down to how beautiful the 12.9" iPad Pro is and the enhancements in iOS 9. I am currently using an iPad Air 2 and am yet to acquire my first iOS Pro device but it's a likely step I know I'll be making fairly soon. Just seeing how good the device looks in the Apple Store makes me want to try it, but I will need a few things to change first. 

I have been enjoying the benefits of using iOS 9 on an iPad Air 2 with the split screen functionality. That feature alone is a game changer for productivity on the move. And with that in mind, I have frequently used the iPad for a lot of my tasks while working from a shared office, in a plane or in a coffee shop. I am treating the iPad as a creation and consumption device. I also do not currently have any accessories with the iPad so I am training myself to use the on-screen keyboard and I'm getting better. I can type 106 words per minute on a normal keyboard and approximately 72 on a glass screen which isn't bad. I'm using the TapTyping app for testing and improving my speed.

My wife recently asked me why I am spending time trying to focus on using just the iPad. Simply, it's more enjoyable using the iPad and I find myself concentrating better with the single focus on apps. Apart from being a Consultant on a day to day basis, I am also heavily focused on progression with developing more apps. Although the iPad can handle my day-job very well, it cannot currently handle my passion for app development. And sometimes, taking a full blown 15" laptop to other countries and workspaces isn't efficient and is a massive burden on the shoulders. The single piece missing of the puzzle for me to use my iPad on a full-time basis is Xcode, Apple's application for the development of apps.

Read More

The Way I Work With Paper, Documents & Photos: iCloud Vs Dropbox

Ever since reading the Paperless book by David Sparks last year, I have been on a path to becoming entirely paperless within my own workflows. And the final push for me was the decluttering course I started in January. While cleaning out all of the cupboards in my office, I realised how many junk pieces of paper I had accumulated over the years and how at the same time, if I needed to find an important document urgently to prevent missing a deadline, I'd never be able to find it in time.

iCloud Drive had been working really well for me with documents. With the introduction of the Photos.app and iCloud Photo Library, iCloud had the potential to solve another problem: photo management. With a Mac Mini connected to a Drobo (external hard drive), I placed my Photos library onto the Drobo and added in thousands of photos separated per album. I have added in my entire wedding collection of photographs, and all of the holidays I've been on with my wife over the last 6 years. The beautiful thing about this is the fact that this is always with me and I can access the pictures on any of my iOS devices. I have added in 37,000 photos without any issues and each photo and album has synchronised across to my iPhone and iPad. 

Apple have done an excellent job with iCloud and it really solved some of the problems I've been facing. 

Read More

The Way I Work With Emails

In my series of posts about the way I work, the topic of emails is one that likely receives the most updates and the most disagreement. Like any productivity system, if you place 5 people into a room and ask them about how they work on projects and tasks, you'll receive 5 different answers. With emails and the same 5 people, you'll likely receive 10 different responses. There's something about emails. It's an industry that witnesses a new player every three weeks with a newly released application. And they advertise themselves as the new way to deal with emails. Although a lot companies and teams are migrating to Slack these days, emails are not going away anytime soon. So it makes sense for you to get on board with a system that suits you.

This series is purely meant as a platform for me to highlight and portray the way I work with different areas of productivity. As you can imagine, email productivity is an area I have put a lot of effort into and is what has a big impact on my projects and tasks. 

Grab a cup of coffee. There's no way for this to be a short post. While setting up this site 3 weeks ago, this topic has been something I've worked on everyday. 

Accounts

Before getting into how I manage the ever-flowing email problem, let's look at the accounts I use. I have 4 email addresses that I use on a daily basis, starting with a gmail account that's been active for 7 years. All of my subscriptions are there, including access to beta testing of applications (something I do frequently), banking information and anything else I have ever signed up to. The second is an iCloud account which just gives me notifications like signing out of and disabling Find My Phone, so it's not active very much. The third is my application development company: Appsolute Pixels which falls under a Google Apps for Business account. This is the email I use for feedback from within my apps and when you contact me through this site. Finally, I have my corporate account which is powered by Office 365, representing my full-time 9-5 job.

Getting to the bottom of my email problem required a number of well-planned steps. Similar to the physical clutter in our lives, I have been building email clutter over a number of years and it took a well planned effort to overcome the digital clutter. Here is an overview of my workflow:

  1. Separate Inboxes
  2. Unsubscribe
  3. Delete Old Emails
  4. Filter Incoming Emails
  5. Unified Inbox, Zero & Unified, Inbox Zero
  6. Practising Inbox Zero
  7. The Perfect Application(s)
Read More

Leading an Uncluttered Life

Please let me get this off my chest to begin with: I own too many things. Things that come in the form of technology, like old phones (Nokia N95 anyone?), hard drives, mice, keyboards and computers, to name just a few. But also other things like 17 pairs of shoes (I love my shoes and I have collected some wonderfully weird ones over the years), clothes that I just cannot fit anymore (a hard fact to admit) and so many other things like broken umbrellas, old SIM cards, cd covers and enough snail-mail paper to pad my house.

The problem with our society is our unconditional and uncontrollable need for more things. We're surrounded by media, technology and advertising that convinces us on our desire to have more and more. Even if we cannot afford it. We spend our hard-earned money on it, enjoy it for a few weeks or months and then add it to a pile of other abandoned items.

I am married and I work from home on a full time basis along with my wife who does the same. I love technology. That is a contributing factor to the number of (growing) things I own. And having a subscription to Amazon Prime that will deliver anything I order today, to my door tomorrow morning, for free, doesn't help with that. To be honest, I had no real intension of cleaning up dramatically at this point in my life. I am not moving to another house anytime soon; I would love to spend my free time working on more apps and cleaning things out just didn't have that priority. That's not to say I never wanted to do it. I have had it on my someday project list for quite sometime but never got around to it. I guess that's why it's called someday tasks. I will get to it someday.

Someday

I am now writing about an uncluttered course, so it is fair to say that the someday finally came to me.

Read More

An Introduction To The Way I Work

Before we start diving deep into the in-depth tips that may or may not find a place in your way forward with productivity, I'd like to introduce a series of posts called: The Way I Work

A big part of describing how I achieve tasks and progress towards goals on a day to day level is going to be based entirely on the applications I use to get those tasks completed. What is the correct approach to productivity? 

The one area we can all agree on when it comes to productivity is that there's no one solution that fits every size and need. What I describe here on this site may be completely different to your thoughts, experiences or things you've read on other sites. It is that nature of uniqueness however that makes this an ever changing layer we can adapt to. And we are an adaptive species after all. 

The solutions I use today are not necessarily the solutions I'll be using in 6 months. I do not change my system every month, but every 4 months I do a review of things that are working for me, or not. While it can be argued that it doesn't make sense to spend most of your time trying out new tools to help you with productivity, you have to understand and be open to change. 

Read More

Starting Fresh

Hello, Interweb

I've kept a blog before but it's never felt quite right. Perhaps it was the system I've used or more realistically, underlying lack of focus in blogging. 

What's changed now? The first obvious thing is Focus. The blog I had previously was a combination of Apple rumors, a few productivity tips here and there and my thoughts on certain technologies. My focus is now firmly placed on development and productivity. The experience I've built up is of equal importance to the Focus. 

My name's Amit and I welcome you to my site. It's 2016 and I'm certainly not the first person to start a chronicle of my adventures, but I'd like to invite you to give this a chance. It may be something you like, or it may be more tailored to the likings of someone you know.

Read More