Why I’ve switched to TickTick

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’m using a new to do app (again!) and this time it’s TickTick, an app I’ve seen in numerous screenshots but never really given a go.

It’s a free app that offers a subscription that gives additional features such as notifications and calendar functionality.

I’m not writing a full review but I wanted to highlight some of the things I really like about using it.

Habit tracking

It’s not normal for a to do app to offer habit tracking but having it integrated into my to do and calendar makes a lot of sense. I don’t track a lot, just a few things like getting out for a walk.

The way to add them is intuitive and you simply tick them off as you get through them. If you don’t achieve it that day you simply leave the habit undone that day.

Customisable tab bar

I like that you can customise some of the way your app looks. I have quick access to the to do, calendar, habits and search.

Widget

The app offers two widgets, I use them both. You get a calendar view that you can tap on to see the whole week, something that I used to use a separate app for. The second is a traditional list of what you have due today.

Projects and sub tasks

The app is clean and various smart views such as tomorrow are easy to get to. Projects are easy to create and can be organised into folders. Tasks can be further broken down into sub tasks. This is something that I’ve started to use a lot more for when a task is a few steps and it’s overkill to create a project for it.

Options for repeating tasks

Having lots of options for repeating tasks is a big win for me, I like how I can separate weekday tasks vs ones I want to do every day.

The watch app

It’s one of the more reliable when it comes to sync and it’s complication and UI are simple to use.

Privacy

TickTick are using AWS as their backend and restrict access to a small number of staff so I’m comfortable with using it to store my tasks.

Initial thoughts

I’m only a few days in so I’m paying my subscription monthly if I move to Reminders in iOS 13, something that I’ve tried to use but iCloud is so unreliable at the moment I gave up. Based on my usage of both the new Reminders and TickTick though I may not be tempted as this app is fitting well with how I’m working these days. Let’s see how the coming weeks go 😀

Why I stopped using OmniFocus

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’ve been a user of OmniFocus on and off for years but on the most recent test I finally decided it isn’t the app for me.

I still think it’s one of the quickest ways to get stuff out of your head and into an inbox but for me it was adding a layer of detail that I needed to stop fussing over.

I liked the forecast view where I could see what my day looked like, including Calendar appointments but being fixed to scrolling sideways and showing tagged or items with a specific due time was limiting for me.

I do a lot of repeating tasks and found that OmniFocus wasn’t the quickest to enter these but to be fair if did have the most flexibility of the apps I tested in terms of options.

At the end of the day I just don’t think my brain works in a way that OmniFocus likes. I like to have a free today list with no time elements, I like to see my calendar in a scroll view and whilst a good Apple Watch app I found it too fiddly to get it to work as I need I.e. I wanted everything that I might do today and not just with a due time. I tagged ‘today’ but couldn’t get a perspective to work on the watch well.

Don’t get me wrong it’s one of the best apps out there but I’ve finally come to the conclusion it isn’t for me.

How to create sub tasks in Reminders on iOS 13

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’m discovering more and more about Reminders in iOS 13 and wanted to start to focus on sharing it. First up is the ability to create sub tasks, something I enjoy to do if I need a little guide to follow.

First up tap the little ‘i’ next to the task name you’ve created.

Next tap on the ‘Subtasks’ section.

You can now enter your sub tasks. When you’re done tap details in the top left to go back.

You’ll notice reminders doesn’t keep the order they were created.

You can tap, hold and drag the sub tasks around to your liking.

A look at Reminders in iOS 13

apps, Productivity, Tech

I lasted all of five minutes before putting iOS 13 on my iPhone. The main draw was to have the chance to influence its design in the beta period.

You can see straight away it’s a much nicer looking app.

Today

Shows me anything I’ve added or scheduled for today. Reminders now let’s you add stuff due today without a time element. I’ve been wanting this for years and can’t believe we actually got it. You can still remind yourself about stuff at a specific time and that gets shown here too.

Scheduled

Scheduled is the old scheduled view so we see what’s going on beyond today. Note that items don’t need a due time to be shown here, it’s anything that you want to get down on specific days.

All

Everything in Reminders organised by list name. (There’s duplicates but hey it’s beta software).

Flagged

You can flag items and see them in their own view.

Image support and URL

Yup, you can finally add images to Reminders. You can also add a URL to your Reminder.

Sub Tasks

Yes! You can now add sub tasks in Reminders. I’m still playing around but seems a good implementation.

Settings

Projects and sub projects

First impressions

I’m amazed at how much work has gone into Reminders. It’s very buggy in this Beta but the foundations are there and just needs some UI issues polishing. I might final be done looking for a third party To Do app.

I also took a look at watchOS 6 Reminders.

Falling back to iCloud

apps, Productivity, Tech

I’ve been playing with a lot of third party productivity apps and you know what I’ve discovered – it’s best to stick with the defaults, at least in terms of data storage. I’ve been missing things because I haven’t been seeing them, I forgot which app I’d put it in (I appreciate this is my problem).

On sitting back and thinking about what I have to manage going on and how I want my data to be stored, here are the apps I’m using with iCloud:

  • For my Calendar I remain stuck in the default app camp, whilst it isn’t the prettiest I like being able to see the date on my home screen with it’s app icon and it does the basics fine. I don’t micro manage everything on my personal Calendar so fits the bill quite nicely
  • For my Reminders I’ve switched over to GoodTask, it’s a much better interface to iCloud and I like both the Today widget and Apple Watch complications
  • For my Notes I use Apple Notes for everything. I write posts like this one in there, store images or receipts etc.. and food recipes. I like the simplicity of it and the fact I can do both handwritten and typed notes
  • For my Photos I use iCloud Photo Library
  • For my journal I back up DayOne to iCloud rather than sync with their service

These are the areas that are most important to me.

The only data in the cloud outside of iCloud that I rely on is Gmail and Blog posts.

For the first time in a while I’m content with this setup and for me even though the apps are pretty basic I find all the extra functionality in apps like OmniFocus adds unnecessary complication (for me) and I spend more time messing with my systems (and tags I don’t need) rather than actually doing stuff.

One change to my morning routine that’s improved my day

life stuff, Productivity

I’ve made a slight tweak to my morning routine that seems to be having an overall positive effect on my day. I’ve been journaling for a while but only in the evening. After listening to an episode of The Automators on the subject I added a new Reminder that simply asks me to write down something I’m grateful for each morning at 7:30am.

Instead of picking up my iPhone and digesting news of social media I think of something that I’m happy about of grateful for in my life. I get on with day afterwards but starting off with something positive is a nice way to kick things off.