Apple Watch Series 5 and third party apps

Since using the series 5 somethings happened I wasn’t expecting – a much better experience with third party apps.

I’d tried to use third party apps on and off in the past but sync or performance always turned me off. Using the series 5 has me excited to use them on my wrist again as they perform really well. As you can see above my watch face (Meridian) is pretty simple and I’m using

  • Activity
  • Date
  • Things
  • Streaks

As I build a new system for myself I’m trying to keep a few apps core to the way I manage my goals and tasks.

I’m only at the beginning and I’ll be posting how I’m using them all soon once I’ve created a framework and it’s settled down.

Setting up OmniFocus

I won’t go into my iCloud issues but needless to say I’ve switched back to my trusty OmniFocus. On setting up from scratch I’ve changed the way that I use the app and perspectives this time around.

As you can see above I’m using 5 main views

  • Inbox
  • Home
  • Money
  • Family
  • Wellbeing

Most items in my system sit in the Inbox as you can see from the item count but I use tags. Whereas before I’d have a load of projects this time I’ve used tags to categorise.

I then have a perspective showing me everything that has a particular tag. So the wellbeing tag simply shows me everything with a tag of wellbeing.

For my forecast view I’ve implemented a tag called ‘Today’ that I can add to any items I’d like to get done today but don’t want to add a deadline.

You can do this by tapping on the little eye icon.

This seems to hang together for me and in the last few days I’ve enjoyed coming back to OmniFocus. This seems to work with my brain and I’m not wondering if my iCloud data is going to be there or not as the OmniFocus sync is rock solid and never let me down.

Are you using OmniFocus? What’s your setup?

Setting up Apple Reminders

Switching back to the MAC also had me thinking about the core apps I’m using to manage my day, I’ve now settled into a little routine using Apple Reminders. The iCloud sync seems solid now and using across iOS and macOS I’m starting to find the benefits of using Apple’s own apps. I keep it fairly simple in terms of creating lists and haven’t overwhelmed myself by dumping everything into it.

I have

  • INBOX, everything goes in here to start with if it’s an idea when I’m out or if it doesn’t belong to a list it also goes here
  • HOME, anything related to home (like putting out the bins) goes in here
  • WELLBEING, anything health related goes in here
  • FINANCES, money stuff goes in here
  • CREATIVE (as a group)
    • Podcast, anything related to podcasting
    • Writing, anything related to blog post ideas or admin on the site
    • Ambient Album, a little project to get me back into writing music
  • Travel, anything holiday related

I then have the widget on iOS Today view to show me what’s due, I don’t bother with this on my MAC.

Keeping it simple has really helped me just focus on a few things and not be overwhelmed by a complicated TO DO app.

Writing and publishing to my blog using MarsEdit

I’ve been struggling with my workflow and in particular the devices that I am going to use in my day to day and might have hit a really nice writing workflow that will work out for me when I’m on macOS. When I switched back to the Mac I didn’t have a clue what apps to use outside of the core apps that come with macOS but I decided to find the right episode of Mac Power Users and get to customising my MacBook that I am going to use as my daily machine for now.

On listening I decided to install Setapp and wow it’s already proving to be a cost saver. I installed iStatMenu (to keep an eye on battery and to have a nice view of the time and weather in the menu bar), CleanMyMac (to let it take a look at how I can get the most out of this laptop in terms of managing space) and most importantly MarsEdit.

I’ve got it installed and connected to my WordPress blog, which I can publish to directly from this one app. The layout lets me write, add tags, categories and images all within one app that can be customised to my liking. 

It’s much nicer to use than the WordPress app on iOS and having the flexibility of being able to create short posts from my iPhone on the WordPress app and also this powerful app in MarsEdit is leaving me enthusiastic about sticking with this MacBook and adapting to it rather than jumping back in and replacing my iPad Pro.

I’ll update as I get more stuff done on macOS, I thought it might be interesting hearing about workflows from someone coming to the Mac from iPad.

Let me know some of your favourite Setapp apps.

Getting started with Apple Reminders

I’m going through some testing of to do apps (I know, not again!) and as I’m doing this I thought I’d share some thoughts on several of them, including Reminders.

When you pick up Reminders for the first time I’d recommend deleting any preloaded lists and starting with just one called INBOX. This will be where you brain dump everything. As you can see above I’ve also split out a couple of new projects as I thought of tasks, so a couple of creative projects. You can move more tasks later but my advice is when you pick up Reminders for the first time don’t worry too much about structure, just get everything off your mind and into the Inbox.

I’ve found the barrier to getting things done for me was worrying too much about creating a framework at the beginning instead of just keeping it simple.

Once you have everything in one place it’s really up to you if you want to organise them by categories such as home or work etc.

Planning your calendar using Things 3

If you follow me you’ll know I struggle with Things 3, mainly because of it’s lack of accessibility options but the Calendar integration is superb.

I’ve installed it just to use the ‘upcoming’ view so I can clearly see what’s on my plate for the next week.

I can’t read it clearly and need to really focus given it doesn’t adhere to my system font size but it’s helpful on the iPad to get a general view of important events over the coming week.

I can’t manipulate anything on the calendar but like I’ve said gives me a clear view of the week ahead.

I’m really hoping Cultured Code are working on bringing accessibility to their app so that I can more easily see what’s on screen.

How to delete a perspective in OmniFocus for iOS

I’m starting fresh and clearing down my OmniFocus setup and when looking at removing perspectives it wasn’t that intuitive on how, here’s how to do it.

First off you need to SHOW all of your perspectives, tap on the SHOW icon.

Select the perspective you want to delete by tapping on it and then hit the icon marked in the image above.

Scrolling to the bottom you will see a DELETE PERSPECTIVE option.

OmniFocus 3: How to move a project into a folder

I’m getting more into using OF now as my main productivity app and some elements are not as intuitive as I’d like so I’ll be sharing hints and tips I’m picking up. First up is moving an existing project into a newly created folder.

Navigate to your projects and tap Edit.

Now tap the project to select it and tap the ‘i’ at the top.

Tap the icon in the lower left and then tap the project name you want to move it to.

Finally giving up on Apple Reminders

I bet you’re sick of hearing me write about productivity apps, especially Reminders but fear not I’m done.

I’ve been trying a few different apps but still not settled but that’s a post for another day, back to Reminders.

I reinstalled the app on my iPhone and it was immediately broken.

Here’s my app badge telling me I have 6 reminders overdue.

Here’s the app.

As you can see it’s completely empty, this knocks your confidence in trusting the app, especially when it only gets updated maybe once a year if we’re lucky.

Getting started with OmniFocus

I’m back with a blank slate again on my productivity system and fallen back to my old favourite OmniFocus. I thought I’d share how I’m using it over a series of posts and how I’m initially setting it up.

First off it might look intimidating but OmniFocus really can be as simple or as complicated as you need it to be.

The first step is to do a bit of a brain dump. I find that even if I’m coming from another app I don’t duplicate I start fresh. I’ll go into the Inbox and start to drop in everything on my mind.

Once I’ve “dumped” everything out of my mind I’ll start to work through each one by tapping on it and picking a tag to categorise (such as errand or chores) or add it it’s own project if it’s something bigger like a trip.

To be honest you don’t need to worry about tags or projects if you’re just starting out with OmniFocus you can just drop stuff in and get it scheduled so you don’t forget.

For now step 1 is just to install, use their sync service and get whatever is in your head into the inbox and add due dates where they are needed.

I’ll be creating more posts in the coming weeks on next steps.