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iPad Pro Workflow - General Productivity


There are now so many great applications for the iPad that my productivity workflows are the same on both desktop and tablet. Here are a few examples of how I capture, track and get things done using my iPad Pro.

Calendars and Agendas

Fantastical 2 is the only calendar application I recommend and use. I can use simple human descriptions to create events, the best part is I can either write or say it to Siri. For example, “Create an appointment tomorrow at 5pm with Kevin for 1 hour at Starbucks”. Fantastical will translate this into the broken down parts and add them to my iCloud calendar.

I have multiple calendars spread across iCloud and Google, Fantastical handles them all with reliable sync and simple views.

Task and Project Tracking

This is maybe the hardest category for me, every so often I like to go back and try all the task applications I have used in the past and see which might have new features that make it ‘the one’ for me.

Currently I am using OmniFocus Pro, although I still have an active subscription for Todoist and I also have 2Do.

OmniFocus wins out for me because not only can I use it on the desktop and iPhone, but because I can automate a lot of my task/project creation using applications like Workflow. One reason that I like to use Todoist every so often is the third party support that IFTTT takes advantage of.

Any tasks that I create in OmniFocus will usually have a note attached with a link back to the original source, this can be anything from an email to a document or URL. This is very useful for me as I have several projects in OmniFocus for things like ‘read or review’. For example, I have a huge list of Swift programming video tutorials that I can just pick from and be taken straight to the page in a Web browser, watch the video and check off the task.

I also use Editorial as a project creation tool for OmniFocus, this is done via a formatted document that I run an action against to post it to OmniFocus via the URL scheme. This enables me to have a consistent series of actions to a project due to using a template. I will post more on this at a later time.

Note Taking

I have tried many many note taking applications, from the big names to independent developers. If I am honest, I have yet to find the perfect answer, but I do have a few applications that not only work well independently but also with each other.

For quick note taking I use Bear Notes, I love that anything I tag instantly becomes a clickable link on the navigation. So for example, I can add the tag #blogpost to some notes and they appear in an instant search when I click on the tab in the navigation panel. The interface is clean, easy to understand and fast to work with. I use the desktop version as well, so everything syncs across the platforms ready for me on any device.

For long form notes and writing I use Ulysses, still one of the best writing applications to work with on any platform. Thanks to the iOS share feature, I can send things easily to both Bear and Ulysses.

Data Archiving (Notes, Emails, Documents and the little things)

DEVONthink To Go is where I store my documents for archiving and searching. I actually use the desktop version, DEVONthink Pro Office as the main version. However the mobile version is great for taking my archives on the move with me and adding notes along with emails. Syncing is not the easiest thing in the World to set-up, but once you get it running it works smoothly.

I also keep notes in Evernote so that they are available anywhere on any platform, this is very important for me as I use a Windows workstation as me secondary platform. Another great reason to use Evernote is the third party service hooks I can take advantage of, for example using IFTTT I can have anything I want automatically sent to Evernote based on triggers like tags and keywords.

Files

iOS 11 took a big leap forward with the introduction of the Files application, whilst not a complete Finder on the move, it does just enough to be useful. In any save dialog you are presented with a view into the files application, due to integrations this means I can also store files in Dropbox, Documents and various other cloud platforms.

I also use Documents By Readdle, this great application has been on my devices for many versions of iOS and still in my opinion beats the built in files application.

With Documents, I can access my cloud services and files stored locally on my iPad. This works very well for me as I drag and drop files from Documents to whatever I might be working on. A great example of this is graphics I create for blog posts and videos.

Email

Airmail is my email client of choice on iOS after much testing. I really like all the third party services and applications it easily works with plus the easy viewing of multiple email accounts across different providers.

If I get an email that I need to follow up on or read again, I simply send it to OmniFocus as a task. OmniFocus keeps a link back to the email and creates a nicely formatted task that I can review later.

When I have finished with an email that I need to keep for later reference, for example a software license or important conversation, I can convert it to a PDF file and send it to DEVONThink To Go where it will be stashed away and I can now delete or archive the email.

If there was one thing that I wish Airmail would support then it has to be signing and encryption. I use GPG on my Mac and would love to be able to sign my emails from mobile so people know that it truly is from me. Not a big thing, but something I like to do.

Cloud Storage

My primary storage is Dropbox, I have everything I need on a regular basis sitting there waiting for me. A nice plus for Dropbox is that I can also access files using a Web browser if I find myself without a device to hand. My secondary storage is iCloud, the only real reason I use it is due to easy iOS sync across devices along with support for the files application.

I also use Droplr for holding links that I need to access on a regular basis, anything from Web page locations to content that I want to share across social media.

Others

In no particular category I also have installed Google Office, Microsoft Office and Apple Office applications. All of these are really on the iPad so I can open any files that might be sent to me.

I also use all the primary browsers, Safari, Firefox and Chrome. I use all of them as I have a need to check Web site performance and layout across applications.

Finally but not any less important, I use Day One for personal journaling. I have journals for anything I post to social networks, these are populated via the IFTTT service that posts them directly to my journals. I also have a personal journal that I like to keep regular updates in so when I am rich and famous I can post an autobiography :)

Some useful utilities that I have installed for sending information across applications and platforms are.

  • Instapaper for things I want to read later.
  • Workflow so I can create my own custom workflows.
  • Copied for a cross-platform clipboard with history.
  • Opener to open something in the application of my choice and not iOS’.
  • 1Passwordfor all passwords.

The Wrap

Whilst my application choices and workflows are in constant flux, the applications above have remained my true work horses and go to choices. They let me get everything done that I need to whilst on the move.

So what applications do you use to keep your productivity flowing? I would love to hear about them and ways that I could improve my process.