How To Be Productive On The iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch And Mac
When one of my all-time favorite artists, Andy Mineo, says, “You Can’t Stop Me,” the person he’s talking to is himself. It’s true: in life we’re often our own biggest opponents, especially when it comes to getting things done.
Today I’m going to talk to you about how to be ultra-productive and efficient by showing you the apps and techniques I use — along with the optimizations I’ve made — across my iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch to create a video (but you can apply whatever works from this system to your own work).
In my mind, productivity starts with 2 things: a goal and a system. With a goal you know what you’re working toward. With a system you won’t get bogged down and your time won’t be wasted.
And I should note: productivity is a really personal thing. What works for me probably won’t be a perfect fit for you, but seeing my workflow should spark lots of ideas for you.
My Goal And System
So my goal is to make the best video (or videos) I can every week and the system I like to use to make that happen has a French name which is Mise En Place which means everything in it’s place. Every piece of information I deal with has a place to go which means I’m always prepared and organized for whatever task needs to happen next. Not only do my best ideas never slip through the cracks, but I’m also far less distracted.
Personally, I don’t like multitasking. Instead I prefer to “monotask” so all my time and energy is focused on — and devoted to — doing one thing at a time really well. Similarly, I prefer to make use of apps also try to do just one thing really well. No doubt you’ll recognize a few of my favorite productivity apps as they’re some of the App Store’s heaviest hitters.
Capturing Ideas (My Superpower)
Since every video I make can never be greater than the original idea it came from, I want to make sure I save and organize every idea, thought or observation I ever have and I use 2 apps to do that.
Drafts is the place where I store epiphanies, observations and inspirations. I use it on my iPhone and Apple Watch the most to type or dictate thoughts with almost zero friction. The Apple Watch complication is especially convenient.
Trello is the place where I store video ideas. I use it on my iPhone, iPad and Mac not only to store ideas but also to rank them since the cards can be rearranged. It’s great for getting a birds eye view of my content pipeline.
Scheduling And Todos
Once I know what content I’m going to make then I go ahead and get it on my schedule. Mondays are usually for research, Tuesdays for writing, Wednesday for shooting and Thursdays for editing (when I’m making just one video per week). If I’m producing multiple videos per week then I’ll break those tasks down into time chunks: mornings and afternoons, typically.
Fantastical is the calendar app where all that information goes. It gets used most on my iPhone and Apple Watch and ensures I don’t have any event conflicts. It’s not the greatest looking app in the world but I do love the iPhone countdown widget and the ability to import Siri reminders.
While Fantastical tracks my events, Things is the place where I stash todos. I mostly use it on my iPhone and Apple Watch because the Mac version is ridiculously expensive. The simplicity is great, there aren’t any hokey gimmicks and the Apple Watch complication always keeps me on task.
The first step in video production for me where I actually get my hands dirty is to research and read everything I can about a subject. Instapaper is the place where I save articles from Safari, Apple Notes or Twitter to comb through. I like to grab my iPhone and a drink and chill in my favorite chair but the web interface is slightly more powerful on the Mac. The folders, highlighting and notes features are what make this app my goto.
As I’m researching I also begin crafting an outline which becomes the backbone of each video script. MindNode is where all the random thoughts swimming around in my head go so I can begin to make sense out of them. It gets the most use on my iPhone and iPad, even though it’s also on the Mac, but the Apple Watch app can be surprisingly useful too.
Finally at this point I can begin writing a script and Ulysses is where that writing takes place. Most of my writing happens on the iPad or Mac but the iPhone version is handy for making quick changes. Splitting documents into separate but connected sheets and storing notes I’ve made in Drafts on the side of each relevant section is the best.
Other Apps I Also Use
While the majority of my work gets done in the apps I just mentioned, I also use Apple’s default notes and reminders apps, Yoink and Brain.fm here and there as well.
Digital Workspace Optimizations
All these apps are great, but I’ve also optimized by digital workspace to limit distractions. Key apps I’ve placed front and center while time wasting apps have been banished to at least being an extra swipe or tap away (you know, the whole out of sight out of mind thing). Non-crucial notifications have either been turned off or tuned to be delivered quietly and iPhone widgets and Apple Watch complications are setup for quick input or to glance timely info. To top it all off, I’ve got a Siri Shortcut setup that turns on Do Not Disturb for an hour and plays the music of my choice.
Production, Publishing and Marketing
Once I’ve got a solid script then it goes into production. After I shoot it, I edit and publish and then boom: you guys are watching it on the YouTube channel!
In terms of time, life’s a pretty even playing field: everyone gets 1 life; everyone has the same 24 hours each day. The only real advantage you have is to be more efficient with your time. The only question is? Are you unstoppable?