The Best App to Capture Quick Ideas on Your iPhone (& iPad!)

I recently discovered a great app for capturing ideas.

In fact, many of my recent blog posts started as a few random notes that I captured with this app.

It is now in my iPhone dock, right next to my todo list.

This app is appropriately named, “Drafts.”

And it will capture drafts of all your great ideas.

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How to Use Your iPad to Manage Your PDF Documents

We use our iPads for more and more uses these days.

In fact, my iPad has almost replaced my laptop.

While I do not use my iPad for document creation, it is a very powerful tool for document review and reading.

Today, I want to show you a great app that makes it easy to manage, review, and even markup PDFs on your iPad.

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How To Use Your iPad as a Document Scanner

Have you ever been on the road and wish you could scan a document?

Or in a meeting and needed to share a hard copy document?

However, your scanner was back in your office…

Today, I want to show you an easy solution.

My iPad has replaced many devices and one of those is a traditional document scanner.

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6 New Productivity Features Coming in iOS 6

It’s no secret that I am a big iPhone fan.

I use my iPhone for almost all my mobile personal and business needs. As well, my iPad travels with me quite a bit.

This past week, Apple announced the new update for both devices: iOS 6.

After watching Apple’s announcement keynote from last week, I compiled a list of the top productivity enhancements coming in the iOS 6 release.

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How the iPad Simplified Our Lives & 12 Devices It Has Replaced

Can you believe the iPad has only been out 2 years this month?

Yet, the iPad has changed computing forever.

The companies still in denial of that… well, they won’t be here much longer.

It is also amazing how much the iPad has changed our lives in such a short time.

It has simplified our work, our play, and even the devices we use.

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The Bliss of Airplane Mode

The following is a guest post by Amy Holms of FormFire Glassworks. She’s a part-time blogger, part-time residential designer, part-time jewelry creator and a full-time mom of twin teenage girls. She focuses on modern design, tech and current culture. You can follow her on Twitter @formfireglass.

How many times have you sat down to get to work on a project, only to have the phone ring moments after you ‘got into your groove?’ Or closed your eyes for a quick catnap only to have a text message or email buzz through the haze?

Airplane Mode to the Rescue

For the first couple years of life with my iPhone, the only time I put it into Airplane Mode was on the plane, of course. That’s what the name says, right? I could read books, check my calendar, jot down a note, all without fear of FAA reprisals.

It took me another couple of years to truly appreciate the beauty that is that seldom-used Settings button. Now it’s a part of the phone that I wouldn’t live without. But why use this setting when you can just turn off your phone?

Years ago, your phone was just that, a phone. Maybe you had text messaging, perhaps a sad, difficult-to-use calendar and a contact list. Early smartphones gave a bit more, but the advent of the iPhone and Android phones has changed the way we use this piece of technology. When we turn off our phones, we turn off access to our own information, not just the connection with others and the Internet. We lose the ability to take a photo, see our calendar, browse through our task list, or show a picture to a friend.

The Best of Both Worlds

Sitting down to really focus on a project, but still want to use your Pomodoro timer? Airplane Mode lets you keep apps and your alarms on while limiting distractions from others who want to make requests of your time.

Taking a power nap for 20 minutes? Now you can hear that alarm without finding out about your latest Twitter mention.

Working with people around the world or those next door that insist on texting whenever they think of it, even if it is 2:00am? All those notifications are now off until you decide you’re ready to access them again in the morning.

Having a lunch with a friend and the phone won’t stop buzzing? Turn on Airplane Mode and visit in peace while still being able to share photos and schedule your next get-together. It’s the polite way to go.

I use Airplane Mode multiple times a day, and don’t miss out on a thing. Everything waits there until I choose to let those distractions in. It makes all those down times a lot more focused, and when I plug back in, it is with intention, and responses are given more attention because they are no longer an annoyance to tend with.

Try sliding that little button the next time you’re in a situation where distractions are causing you grief. You might find that Airplane Mode gives you an oasis of calm, if only for a few minutes.

Question: Do you use Airplane Mode? How do you handle smartphone distractions?

The iPad 2: Ten Best Productivity Uses

I was lucky enough to get an iPad 2 on release day.

After having used it for a week and a half, I can say that there are many noticeable improvements over the original iPad. While many of the changes are evolutionary, the new iPad 2 does impress.

It is much quicker. The new processor chip makes using apps and switching between tasks much snappier.

While the new slimmer form factor may appear like a subtle change, I think it dramatically improves the the quality of the user experience holding the device.

But the value of the iPad is in the doing.

What it allows you to get done, wherever you are.

Here are my Top Ten Productivity Uses With the iPad 2:

  1. Todo Lists – I currently use the app “2Do.” I have tried many of the task list applications on iOS and so far this is my favorite. It makes the best use of the iPad’s larger screen real estate, presenting a dayplanner like interface. It also syncs well with my iPhone via Toodledo or MobileMe.
  2. Calendar – I am a big believer in having 1 calendar. (Read: The Power of 1) My iPad allows me to access and sync my calendar with work, home, etc. The large screen again helps, allowing me to see the big picture. You can view weekly and monthly views that just aren’t possible on a smartphone.
  3. Evernote – I have instant access to all my notes in the cloud via Evernote. If you aren’t familiar with Evernote, it allows you to store notes, clippings, pics, etc. Their iPad app is top notch and allows you to browse and search your notes with ease.
  4. Email – It is different dealing with your email on the iPad. There is something enjoyable about “touching” your email. For me, I find it brings new meaning to the “you touch it, you own it” rule of email. I find myself getting more done in my email when on my iPad.
  5. Books – Have you ever gotten stuck somewhere and had nothing productive to do? At the doctor’s office? The auto shop? Wherever. I like always having multiple books with me to fill those voids. I use both Apple’s iBooks and Amazon’s Kindle apps. I am near the point where I won’t buy physical books anymore just to avoid the clutter.
  6. RSS – To minimize endless web-surfing, I use Google’s Reader as my RSS solution. The iPad again presents a wonderful touch experience to catch up on the articles that I want to read. I use the app called Reeder to access my RSS feeds on my iPad. It saves time and keeps me from randomly surfing.
  7. Photo Capture – There has been much discussion about the cameras on the iPad 2. The short version is that the iPad is not intended to be your camera, nor it is going to take award winning shots. But, the new cameras do serve the simple purpose of capturing notes and other things. The iPad is perfect for snapping pics of that whiteboard after the meeting for emailing or filing in Evernote.
  8. Mindmapping – I love to use mindmaps when I am brainstorming a project or new idea. I use iThoughts HD for this purpose on my iPad. It allows me to quickly get an idea mapped out and I can save it to the cloud for access later.
  9. File Access – Speaking of cloud storage, Dropbox and Apple’s iDisk are great productivity tools for managing your files across your platforms including the iPad. Dropbox has a great app for the iPad and is also directly integrated into many other apps for file access and storage.
  10. Project Management – With project management you want to be able to review and see the status of things at a quick glance. The iPad excels at this. It is almost like having a virtual clipboard of all your project files. I use Basecamp for project management both at work and personally. The Basecamp web interface has been specifically designed to present on the iPad.

A Unique Niche

You can do some of the above tasks on your laptop or even your phone, but the iPad provides a more effective workflow in many cases.

I still don’t see the iPad as a laptop replacement. It is a different experience.

However, for those that don’t want to carry a laptop around for simple tasks, yet are looking for a better experience than on their phone, the iPad fills a very unique niche.

What do you use your iPad for? What are your favorite productivity tasks on your iPad?

Could the iPad 2 Replace Your Dayplanner?

Unless you have been living on a deserted island, you are aware that Apple is releasing the newly updated iPad 2 on Friday.

The iPad has continued to shape and evolve the portable post-PC marketplace. Today, I wanted to look at some of the ways that the iPad 2 will be used for productivity.

Many time management fans love their technology and are always searching for the holy grail of time management tech.

Could the iPad 2 be your new dayplanner?

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