Tag: productivity

I Made a Mistake

Yesterday I made the decision to post something without really thinking about it first. I have since removed the post and am replacing it with this one. Long story short I said I am a Mac person and that my iPad hasn’t gotten much love since that purchase.

This was a mistake.

Honestly I am still having a bit of trouble choosing the iPad or the Mac as my main device.

I love the iPad and I love writing and I feel that I am thinking too much about whether the device matters or if the content matters.

Obviously the content is more important than the device, but when I made my writing about a specific device the idea of stepping away from it can seem like I am turning my back to what got me started in the first place. This is where my crossroads are and I’m still unsure which way I will end up.

Right now the Mac still seems to have what I want in a device but working on my iPad right now as I write this just feels good. I am focused on the task at hand without distraction, something that is easy to neglect when on the Mac. I am sure many people reading this think I am making a bold claim, but when I am using an iPad I am deciding on an application to take over the entirety of my screen. If I decide to move on to another app it feels like I am going to an entire different workflow.

I am sure I could do the same thing on the Mac with the Desktop Spaces feature, but even that is a quick swipe away from going to YouTube or browsing my RSS subscriptions. The ease of bouncing between multiple things on the Mac feels more fluid and attainable than on the iPad.

This isn’t to say the iPad can’t multitask, I often have two apps in split screen when I am working on something, but even that is a deliberate action that takes a clear and concise decision. Doing it on the Mac is just second nature to me, which breaks a lot of the attention and focus I need when writing. That said, it isn’t just the distraction-free environment that I like about the iPad, it is also the software.

I have said before that the software on a Mac is one of the big reasons I chose to make the switch, but even now I am not so sure that statement is true. I don’t need MarsEdit, I am using a calendar more than anything else when it comes to deciding what to do day-to-day. If I do need a task manager Things 3 is a wonderful app for iOS as it is one of the few apps that is just perfect for those who use a keyboard with their iPad.

My point is this: I haven’t used the iPad full time since I got my Mac and I think that is a mistake. I can’t know what is better until I really give both options a run for their money. It is like choosing my favorite ice cream before trying all the options.

So, I plan to work solely from my iPad from now until the beginning of September. Which gives me 10 days to come to a conclusion of whether to use the Mac or the iPad as my main device, and if I am actually going to use the other device at all.

I plan to write about some things during my time with the iPad again over the next week and a half to share my thoughts and to help me figure out what is important to me in a device.

Until then though I am off to re-learn how to work on the iPad only.

How a Talk at SXSW From 2009 Helped Me Be a Better Blogger

I listened to a talk from 2009 by John Gruber and Merlin Mann from SXSW about blogging, and it caused a carnival of thoughts to swirl in my mind. This is me trying to articulate them.
I had never listened to this talk before, but because I started listening to the podcast Back To Work it made me want to listen to it as after being brought up so much in the first few episodes. I wanted to know if it still holds up, to see if the blogging platform is a shell of its former self. This talk couldn’t be more true today than it was then.

The talk, titled How To: 149 Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog with Credibility, was about an hour in length. Which made me sad because an episode of the The Talk Show can run twice that on average. I wanted more, I felt like there was a great deal more to learn from.

Why You Should Blog

It started with John and Merlin explaining one of the main points: to write about what delights you. To write about what you’re obsessed with. This main point would come up again and again throughout the talk. At one point Merlin would say:

“How do you know that you should start a blog? People keep telling you to shut up.” – Merlin Mann

I can’t say I am not part of this group. My fiancé is tired of me talking about Apple news, working on my iPad, and my feelings on productivity. It is something I have obsessed on in some capacity for years.

After this, they talk about how you can’t, and probably shouldn’t, make everyone happy. Merlin says it best when he explains how he admires John because John’s voice and passion outweighs any obligation to make people happy. He doesn’t go out of his way to upset anyone but he also is steadfast to continue the path he feels is right. This is something I think I lack, and that I should be more assertive at times. Too often I try and be a cheerleader and suppress my negative feelings on certain things, and I think they are valid concerns I should be addressing. I don’t plan on making this blog a place to gripe and complain all the time, but there is a place for that concern and the feelings I have.

Finding Your Audience

Next on their list is finding an audience. Gruber explains his ideal reader is “another version of me.” The crowd laughs, almost as if to say “he can’t be serious,” but I feel the same way as John. I write on Tablet Habit because I imagine myself reading a blog like this that I never started. I imagine myself looking for a place that has similar feelings on Apple, iOS, and using an iPad as a main computer. That is my main motivator for writing here. There are other factors at play, but they are all distant seconds to the strong feelings I have to write about what delights and, at times, upsets me.

“Make something really kickass and try to impress the people you really love.” – Merlin Mann

When Merlin said this, I nearly jumped out of my seat with excitement. This is something I have felt for as long as I started podcasting back in 2009. Find someone you want to impress, and ask yourself every time you hit publish if that person will like it or think it’s garbage. If it’s the latter, do better. If it’s the former, send that thing to everywhere you can.

With that said, it is important, they say, to not try and piggyback off someone else’s success. A great example they provide with this is Ted Koppel, who found success as a broadcaster during the Iran hostage crisis. It caused the ABC show Nightline to be made, and it elevated Koppel to be one of the most well know journalists in that era. Side note: Nightline continues to be a great program of long-form news that I find to be more digestible than anything local or national news programs make today.

But the point they bring up, originallly made by Ira Glass from NPR’s This American Life, is that you can’t be Ted Koppel, he already exists. I can’t be John Gruber, or Merlin Mann, or Federico Viticci, those people already exist. What I can do, as they explain, is to learn from their work and try the things they did to get success. This goes for anyone looking to have success in a creative field, whatever your definition of that may be. Learn, but don’t emulate. Take their work and learn how they do the things they do.

The New Printing Press

Gruber then mentions an old saying:

“It is great that we have freedom of the press, but the only people that really have freedom of the press are people with a printing press.”

He goes on to say that “everyone has a printing press now thanks to the internet.” This is a point that especially made me think.

I worry that the “golden age” of blogging is behind us. I feel that it was great to have this ease of disseminating information when the internet was more in its adolescence back on 2009. The internet is now a giant gorilla dwarfing every other piece of media day in and day out. The internet is no longer where the cool kids are. It’s where corporations, national news, and conglomerates come to spread their message. Is the internet killing the little guys like the printing press did so long ago? I thought so at this point in the talk, but that soon changed.

When to Get Serious About Your Work

All of these pieces of advice and truth are great, but the most poignant point made throughout this was when Gruber took out a sheet of paper and explained that this was an email that Merlin Mann forwarded to him just before the talk. It was an email from a “20 year old kid” asking Merlin what he can to to get serious with his blog. What Merlin said came down to 3 short and direct pieces of advice:

  1. Give away more stuff than you think you should, and make it easy for people to get.
  2. Focus on diverse secondary revenue streams and always have your new and replacement ones.
  3. Don’t do stuff that seems profitable, but potentially messes up the reason people like you.

Not only is this advice sound, it is timeless. You could tell someone today these three things and they would all still be worthwhile. This isn’t just for bloggers. Artists, writers, journalists, painters, photographers, and YouTubers can take this advice and go a long way with it. Then John said something.

“The internet is awesome, it is totally fucking awesome. It is not just that we all have a printing press now … it is that we can do it better.” – John Gruber

This is what made my worries of corporations on the internet go away. Both Merlin and Gruber explained that corporations and big business are still failing to be anything other than giant billboards on a small screen. They don’t give anything away, they don’t offer the value indie bloggers give on a daily basis.

Making Money

Finally, the two talk abut money and making a living on what you create.

“Don’t become too obsessed with the thing you want to make money on.” – Merlin Mann

This is probably the best quote to summarize this section. Money is important, but if you first think about wanting to make money and then start a blog, podcast, or something else creative it will almost always fail to meet your expectations in the time frame you set. If you instead flip it around and make something you love and then think about how you can make money with it your odds of success dramatically increase. There is no guarantee that you will make a living, or even a nickel, doing what you love but if you have a solid foundation the chances that house you build collapses on you decreases exponentially.

Final Thoughts

This talk, 9 years after it was first given, is still timeless and something I think anyone looking to seriously create a blog, podcast, portfolio, or YouTube channel. It manages to give you actionable advice while also providing the higher level of thinking necessary to make sure you are doing things the right way with the right reasons.

If you want to listen to it you can do so on 43 Folders, or just download the file directly here.

The 9 Things I Learned Going iPad Only

Going “iPad only” wasn’t a goal for me until recently. Before then it was just something I felt more comfortable using over a Mac. Now that I have made this blog it got me thinking about all the things I learned by making my iPad my main device. These are some of them.

It’s Easier Than You Think

When I first set out to make my iPad Air 2 my main computer back in college it seemed too daunting and scary. A lot of these questions came at me when I left for class without my Mac, knowing that I only had this tablet to handle all of my work.

How will I handle my files? How can I make sure I keep things on task? What about my trackpad?!

By the end of the day, though, I realized that there wasn’t anything that really got in my way of my work. Things like taking notes, writing papers, or even researching for other assignments came easy. This small piece of glass seemed to handle everything I threw at it.

Something about working with this device made sense to me. This was the beginning of something magical for me.

Like many things in life, I decided to disregard my reservations about trying something new. I just dove in head first into the sea of the unknown, only to come out the other side a more experienced person. Going iPad only seemed like a silly idea, but in practice it allowed me to do my work freely and with more joy.

Less is More

Limitation is often seen as a negative thing, but for me having that limiter on myself makes my life a lot easier. It’s not about making decisions on how I do my work, but more on the work itself.

For instance, recording a podcast on an iPad isn’t impossible, but it does require a lot of effort and some sacrifice. I wrote about podcasting on iOS before, but to reiterate I have to use both my iPhone and my iPad to record a podcast successfully. I did this because even though it isn’t a pretty solution, I can still do it with just an iPad and my iPhone. I was able to take a theory and turn it into a proof. I also did this because I really wanted to go iPad only, even if it meant function over form.

There are some things you can’t do on iOS that you can on a Mac or PC; but they are so seldom that I often don’t need to worry about it on a day to day use. Plus, with limitation comes innovation, and I have stripped down a lot of the things in my workflow because of iOS. I also have learned a lot from it as well.

You Learn a Lot About iOS

If I only used my iPad when I was on the go instead of all the time, there are a lot of things I wouldn’t know I could do with an iPad. I would have had the instinctual reaction to open up my MacBook Air instead of trying to find a solution with the tools I already had in front of me.

One of the big ones for me is automation and using the app Workflow. There are a number of things I never would think I could do on an iPad that Workflow allows me to do with ease. For instance, converting rich text into Markdown has been a hassle for me for years. That is until Workflow built a simple tool to take that text and convert it to a fully functional Markdown.

To go even deeper with this, I have also learned how to bend and contort many types of media to the specific types I need them in. It’s all thanks to the brilliant minds behind Workflow and knowing what I needed to make these alterations happen without a hitch.

The iPad Can Be a Workhorse

Working on my iPad has been my preferred device ever since I realized how little there is I can’t do with this device. My work can be done on an iPad about 90% of the time no problem. The other 10% is where things get tricky. Doing something like editing a podcast, making graphics for the website becomes problematic on any iOS device.

This isn’t to say I can’t do those things on iOS, but because I am a creature of habit I still am apprehensive to migrate it over to the iPad. I am slowly moving towards Ferrite for podcast editing and recording, as well as Pixelmator for photo editing. The only problem I still am yet to tackle is editing the website. I still need to use a Mac for it, albeit on a seldom basis.

But to set aside the 10% I don’t use with my iPad, the fact that this machine has gone from a giant iPhone into a full-fledged Mac replacement is astonishing to me. I still find it a shock to my system when I think about all the things I need to do that get done solely on my iPad.

iOS is the OS for Me.

I have been an Apple use for years, ever since I got my iPhone 4s I made the switch from Android and PC to iOS and macOS. I have owned a Mac longer than I owned any iOS device.

With that said, macOS has slowly drifted away from me like Wilson in the movie Cast Away. Instead of screaming for the Mac to come back to me, however, I have found solace in iOS.

To me, iOS is equally lightweight in robust tasks I barely do, and more flexible with the minimal tasks I do. I can write and blog without having several apps open, yet I can edit a podcast if I so choose.

I mentioned already how working with my hands is a satisfying thing, but it isn’t just that I control it with touch. Working on the iPad, for me, has changed the way I look at computers all together.

The Mac was a window into the world, the iPad is more a window into the things important to me.

I am not here to badmouth the Mac, but to say that the Mac is a good alternative to an iPad would be doing the iPad a disservice. I would actually counter it with the iPad being a good alternative to the Mac. At least for me.

Portability Becomes More Important

Until I started to use my iPad, I used to think that my 13” 2015 MacBook Air was the epitome of portable. Now, in the seldom times I need to open the Macbook, it seems like a giant computer. It makes my shoulders hurt just thinking about lugging it around town with me as I work from coffee shops and local libraries.

The iPad is perfect for someone who is on the go and working from place to place. It offers keyboard accessability, but it isn’t required to work with it. the fact that you don’t need to have a surface to hold it is something you don’t appreciate until you are in that position.

If I could explain this feeling, it is like having a piece of paper to write with. But when you finally need to write on that sheet of paper, you then need to find a surface flat enough to write on. Now imagine the iPad is a proverbial clipboard, allowing you to write anywhere you go as you wander the area. That is the relief and ease I am talking about with the iPad.

The iPad Really Can Replace Your Other Computers

Do you remember those “I’m a Mac, and I’m a PC” commercials? I think back on those a lot. Mainly as a question of what would Apple be comparing these days with those two actors? For me it would be an iPad and everything else.

“I’m an iPad, and I’m everything else,” could start the commercial. Then Apple could talk about how the Apple Pencil is the most efficient stylus on the market. Or how the iPad allows your to work on the best hardware Apple has to offer with the best OS as well. The comparisons are endless.

It Is Much More Enjoyable

Speaking of joy, working on an iPad can be a lot of fun. Something about working on a device with my hands is just so satisfying. I still use the iPad with a keyboard for the most part. But at times where I need to use Drag and Drop or editing photos with Pixelmator, I notice how much more I enjoy handling the mundane. Using my hands to physically move and edit things over a mouse or trackpad is just nice compared to a more “traditional” computer.

Tapping and sliding my fingers on the glass is a lot like ice skating. The flow in which I feel in my hands only validates that feeling more. I feel like I am soaring through my work much more efficiently and elegantly than I would on any other device.

On top of that, when I got the iPad Pro I bought the Apple Pencil. It’s still one of my favorite tools Apple has made. Writing notes down on a pen and paper is still satisfying, but being able to do it on my iPad still feels like the future. the latency is next to nothing, and the feeling you get writing on the glass screen is incomparable.

I love opening up GoodNotes 4 and jotting down ideas for Tablet Habit and having them saved digitally. Unlike a notebook, if I lost my iPad tomorrow I would still have all of my notes saved on the cloud for safekeeping.

Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

All of the people I know who are iPad only (or even iPad first) have taken the limitations of iOS in stride. Some, like me, use the limitations as a means of focus. Others, like Federico Viticci over at MacStories, have found ways to bypass those limitations. He creates Workflows, automation, and even writing his own code to make iOS work for him. In both cases pro users of the iPad will hit some roadblocks, but they take that as a challenge rather than a disadvantage.

So much of what I do can be done without many bumps in the road. But when I do get to an area where there are some road blocks, I take it as a chance to learn more about the systems in which I do my work. I want to find ways to make my own detours towards my destination.

Something about iOS, and those who use it as their main OS, makes you want to push forward and raise the bar just a little higher each and every day. I am sure there are other communities like us, but for me this feels like home.

What’s Next

The iPad is a tremendous machine, and a testament that Apple continually innovates their products years after it comes out. There is very little I have to say negatively about the iPad, but in the future I hope Apple keeps their momentum with the iPad going. A version of this device has been out over 8 years now and I hope in another 8 years I am as satisfied and pleasantly surprised as I am today.

For now, the iPad will continue to be the device I take with me everywhere I go. Whether it is to catch up on some news, or to write an ebook, the iPad will be my computer of choice.

If you want to make the switch and go iPad only, sign up to get my free ebook coming out at the end of April. It will show you the 20 apps to get productive on the iPad, and how you can make the transition from Mac and PC over to iOS.

10 iPad Life Hacks

When you are working with your iPad, many people feel stuck. Some feel like they aren’t being efficient enough or doing the right things. Well, today we have 10 ipad life hacks on how to get more out of your favorite iPad.

1. Type to Siri

Type to Siri is a new addition to iOS 11. And if you are like so many others, you usually have a keyboard attached or connected to the iPad. So, instead of talking to Siri you can type to her (or him).

This is great for the people who aren’t into talking to a computer to do tasks, it is also great for those night owls who don’t want to wake anyone that may be sleeping in your home.

Give type to Siri a try, it may just be the extra kick you need to getting things out of your head and into a system you trust.

To do this go into Settings>General>Accessibility>Siri and from there turn on Type to Siri.

2. Have a shelf app in Slide-Over

I spoke about Shelf Apps before. They are a great way to put things you want to save and use in other apps for later. One trick I found to be immensely helpful it to always have it available with a simple swipe from the right side of the iPad.

This is called the Slide-Over app. It is basically a floating app that isn’t connected to another app, allowing it to be freely accessible wherever you are on you iPad.

I use this a lot with the images to my posts, but I have seen others use it for practically any type of file or input.

If you are looking for a good Shelf app I recommend Gladys or Yoink. Each have their quirks but they are both very powerful and definitely something I keep in my dock for frequent use.

3. Use Spotlight for searching more than just apps

Spotlight is underutilized, in my opinion, when it comes to using the iPad. Many just use it for the occasional search for an app, but there are so many other things that Spotlight can search for.

You can search for files, websites, and even local stores through Maps. Spotlight is something I underutilized until I started pushing to see what all it can handle. I was beyond pleasantly surprised to see that it managed to find what I wanted a large majority of the time.

Granted, there are times where I couldn’t find what I was searching for but that happened far less then when it worked.

Give Spotlight a try more and see it it works for you.

4. Edit your Share sheet

The Share Sheet is the place to send things from one app to another. But sometimes you have to dig through to find the right app to send the information or file to.

One thing you can do is remove the apps you never use in the Share Sheet. You can do this by hitting the share icon and scrolling all the way to the right and tap the “More” button.

From there you can rearrange, hide, or add the apps you want. This works for both the top and bottom rows of the Share Sheet.

Additionally, you can drag icons to rearrange them if you find you want one more readily accessible.

5. Use text shortcuts and/or TextExpander

Many of us have common phrases or information we send to people regularly. Things like email addresses, updates on where we are, or just emails we send when someone asks a question you get asked a lot. This is where Text Replacement and TextExpander come in.

Text Replacement is a feature built into iOS. To see it go to Settings>General>Keyboard and you will see the option there. Once you open it you can add or edit text replacements. One you may see there is omw. What this means is that any time you type “omw” iOS will replace that with “On my way!”

Text Replacement is useful for quick phrases or words that you may use a lot, but when you add longer strands of text or need something that is Rick Text, you will need TextExpander.

TextExpander is a great tool I recommend to anyone who does email support, communicates to others via email or text as part of their job, or just someone that is geeky like my and wants to make things easier for me in the long run.

Because of the robust features TextExpander offer you may need some help getting over the learning curve of it. David Sparks did a video series on Textexpander a little over a year ago when the company redesigned their app from the ground up. If you want to learn more about the vast amount of features this app has, David is the man to teach you.

6. Edit Control Center

Control Center is one of those features that if you use it, it can make things much more efficient and change the way you use your iPhone or iPad.

When iOS 11 came out Apple put together a slew of options you can set for your Control Center, including having up to 8 button instead of the default 4. There are some great options on there, my personal favorite is the screen recording option. With this you just tap on the button and you screen is then being recorded. This is especially handy when you are the tech support person for your family and a relative asks you how to do something on their phone. Instead of walking them through it with long texts or emails you can record how to do it and send it their way to view as many times as they need to accomplish what they want.

7. Schedule Do Not Disturb times for working on the high-energy level tasks

Do Not Disturb sounds like a feature you would use when you are going to sleep or when you’re at the movies, but this feature can cut distractions out of your life big time.

I use DND when I am writing or working on other high-energy tasks that require my full attention. It saves me from being distracted by email, messages, and more when I am in deep work mode.

If you want to learn more about what Do Not Disturb is, Apple has a great support doc to read over.

8. Long Press on some Apps for a force-touch like response

While the new iPhones have Force Touch, the iPad does not. Regardless of the reasoning from Apple, there is a way to get the added pop-ups on an iPad.

This doesn’t work for all apps that have force touch support, but those that do have it allows you to use it without having to open the app.

Just tap and hold on an app, instead of it wiggling a pop-up will appear with whatever the developers built to come up. For instance, Apple’s Files app shows the most recent documents you have opened, which can be handy when you need to quickly open up something you were working on earlier.

9. Scan QR codes with your Camera

QR codes were never the smash hit they were meant to be. Rarely do I ever use it, but on the rare occasion I do I always thought you needed to download a separate app. Instead, you have a QR code reader built in to the camera.

With a few taps in settings you too can turn on QR Code reader and have the option to scan one within the native Camera app.

Apparently this feature was added with iOS 11. It is a hidden feature to many, but this is so convenient when necessary.

10. Access Saved Passwords in Safari

Password management has become more and more important over the years. Between hacks to your email, or even your personal finance information, a good password that is unique on each site is a must.

Safari has made some major improvements to creating passwords for accounts you make in the browser, making them uniques and then saving them to iCloud.

But there are times where you need that password and iOS doesn’t have it as an option in the shortcut menu. You’re not out of luck, you just need to copy it from Settings.

To do this go to Settings>Accounts & Passwords> then tap on the App & Website Passwords option at the top. From there you will get access to all the saved passwords in you iCloud Keychain.

While the iCloud Keychain can get the job done it doesn’t offer many options for other things like secure notes, and getting to these passwords can be tedious over time.

This is where apps like 1Password come in and they offer a great app that can be built into the Share Sheet and is integrated in may apps like Twitter where you jut tap on the lock button in the login screen and it will search for passwords that match Twitter. It is a very intuitive app and well worth the money to ease the stresses of password management and security.

Extras

So there are some life hacks for using you iPhone or iPad. Let me know in the comments or on Twitter if we missed something.

Also, if you’re wondering how I made these screenshot annotations, I used the app Annotable. They are not a sponsor, just a very cool app and one I want to share with you all!

Read Later Services: What You Can Do with Them

Have you ever wanted to save an article for later while browsing the net and not know what to do? Well there are several apps for that, and they are called Read Later Services. Many of them have the ability to save web pages from the internet to a cloud service, and you can even read it while you are offline within the app.
But Read Later Services like Pocket, Instapaper, and — to an extent — Apple’s Reading List built in Safari can do so much more than just save an article to read later. It can be a powerful tool if you use it the right way.

Here are some uses you can do with your Read Later Service of choice.

Continue reading

5 Things You Can Do with the Apple Pencil (it’s Not Just Drawing)

The Apple Pencil is a wonderful tool for artists who want to draw and create something on a digital canvas, but what about those people with no artistic talent? Is the Apple Pencil useless for them? Absolutely not!Don’t believe me? Here are 5 things non-artists can do with the Apple Pencil on their iPad Pros.

DISCLAIMER: While the Apple Pencil is the main focus of this article, it is not necessary. So if you have an iPad Air or the latest iPad a 3rd party Stylus will work just fine for most of these things (except Instant Notes). So don’t feel left out if you don’t have an iPad Pro. This is also for all you non-Pro users!

1. Image Markup

iOS 11 really outdid itself when it came to screenshots. Now, instead of having to dig through Photos to find that screenshot you took, when you take the screenshot it shows up on the bottom left-hand corner for you to tap on and markup.

From there you can do things like make annotations on a webpage, circle where your mom needs to go in the settings, or anything else you need to do to get your point across to someone in the screenshot.

I use this more often than when I had a Workflow to annotate screenshots back in iOS 10 and earlier. Something about being able to natively edit a screenshot without having to leave what I’m looking at is so satisfying and convenient.

Give it a shot next time you need to write on a screenshot, you won’t be disappointed!

Here’s a great video from Apple Insider that shows you just how powerful screenshot markup and Instant Notes (which is next!) can be.

2. Instant Notes

iOS 11 really made the Notes app a very viable option to handle your ideas, writings, sketches, and more thanks to improved Apple Pencil support and a ton of backend improvements in the app as well.

The one feature you may not know about though is the fact you can tap on the lock screen with your Pencil and a new Note will appear for you to sketch on and make notes.

This is especially useful for students who need to write out something their professor is saying quickly so they don’t miss anything. It is also useful if you are the kind of person who needs to take notes for meetings at work or you need to get your ideas out of your head and on to a page immediately.

3. A Secondary Input Device

If you are like many who get cramps and pains when working in the same position, you might have RSI. RSI is more serious than an occasional strain or a little discomfort, it can be permanent if you don’t do something about it.

One thing that can be very helpful is switching how you do your work. Instead of constantly using your hand on the iPad you can switch over to the Pencil as an input device as it totally changes what muscles you’re using and allows the body to keep from straining.

Also, if you don’t have any indications of RSI it is still nice to be able to change things up from a mental perspective. If we get too complacent on how we do our work your brain isn’t going to be stimulated and you may fall behind in your work. Changing things up can be helpful for you the next time you have to be on your iPad for a long period of time. Not to mention a Pencil is much more comfortable to use when navigating your iPad whilst it is upright for keyboard use.

4. Email Files Markup

If you aren’t the type to take lots of screenshots and/or notes, markup could still be useful for you when handling email and files from your friends, coworkers, or family.

For instance, if you get a PDF of a contract you need to sign or you need to go over someone else’s work you can simply open it up within Mail. From there you can make any annotations or markings that are necessary and send it right back to the person who sent it to you. This can be extremely handy if you are the type of person who needs to sign everything during work or even in your personal life. You just need to open the file up and tap the Markup button.

Here’s a step-by-step walkthrough on how you can do this.

Add Signiture

Signature Added

Share Signed Document

Please note, this kind of Markup is available on the stock Mail app. There may be some 3rd party apps you can find that offer something similar to this, but if you plan on using this feature a lot, we suggest you use Apple’s Mail app.

5. Mind-Mapping

Speaking of getting things out of your head and on to the page, mind-mapping is a very handy exercise for new projects you are working on.

From new personal projects to a new client at work, you can really improve your thinking process on what is necessary to accomplish your goals with a simple mind-map. This allows you to get everything out of your head and on to something you can have in front of you to determine what is important and what isn’t.

If you can’t think of anything right now to mind-map maybe just try this technique from Jenny Blake on setting goals for yourself across all of the aspects in your life. It is never too early to start thinking about what you want to do in the next year, and mind-mapping it can be cathartic.

Conclusion

So whether it is to provide tech-support, handle files sent to you at work, or even higher-level thinking like setting goals for yourself, the Apple Pencil is a powerful tool you can use to help you get things done. If you have an Apple Pencil with your iPad Pro and feel like you aren’t getting your moneys-worth, try one or two of these things out today and see if it helps you.

Did we miss something you can use the Apple Pencil for without any artistic talent? Let us know in the comments below!

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Shelf Apps on the iPad

Working on an iPad with iOS 11 is now more mainstream than ever before. With the improved multi-tasking features and slide over you are able to handle several apps at once without issue. You can read a news article, take notes on it, and watch a video all at the same time.
Notes, Safari, and a video on the iPad in iOS 11

But there’s one problem you have with this new found productivity with the iPad: How do I save things to use in other apps?

Sure you can copy and paste text, or even use Drag and Drop to move things to their respective places, but what if you have several things you want to take from multiple apps and bring them to one singular app? Most people would say that you need to do it one by one in each app switching back and forth between them. However, with shelf apps you no longer have to worry about this.

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iPad Home Screen Experiments

With iOS 11 now released, many iPad users, including myself, are rethinking how we utilize our screen real estate. The reason for this is the new Dock in iOS 11 that allows for quick access to many apps (or folders) no matter what app we are in. We now have the ability to drag and drop these apps to use with multi-tasking. But with this incredible feature comes the question: what do we use our home screens for now? For me, the answer comes from another question: do you use a keyboard with your iPad or just your hands?
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