January 20, 2020
My fourth personal goal for the year is to examine the tools I use everyday, examine new ways to use them.
Like most of us, my smartphone (with the exception of my quarterly one week dumbphone detox - more on that later) is a tool I use everyday. So, I thought I would kick off the new year with an audit of the apps I'm using on my iPhone 11 Pro and revisit my homescreen later this year with a follow-up to how my usage has evolved.
This post leans in on the idea of being intentional with the apps I see at first glance on a daily basis. I think it's important to tweak what I see upon unlocking my phone throughout the day, little triggers here and there to remind me of what I want. The apps shown, the apps hidden, the apps deleted, the time constraints and blockers I've installed are all intentional to guide my daily intake and focus.
Our thumbs aren't growing any bigger, but our phone screens are and thus you'll see that my most valuable apps are pushed to the bottom of my homescreen (this is a little hack I learned from Tyler Stalman). I then access most other apps via swiping down to Search or via Siri Suggestions. I organize all other apps on the second screen.
Audible - I continue to read analog books but prefer audio reads during my daily workouts and the occasional commute.
Peloton - I have the bike and ride it daily, except for those times I'd rather hit the trails in the park and run. That's where the Peloton app continues to deliver value in their exercise classes outside the bike rides. The software and the classes are exceptional and worth every bit of the subscription.
Workout - along with daily Peloton rides or runs, I use the Workout app to do various floor workouts and calisthenics. The Strenuous Life has me doing 60min of daily exercise, something I haven't done regularly since my 20's and most of that was done sitting behind a drumkit.
Firefox Focus - I'm a big fan of this ad blocking, tracker blocking, secure and fast browser.
Pocket Casts - My current favorite podcasting app. I switch between this one and Castro app.
Bear - Quick notes to self, Long form blog posts, etc. It's been my favorite writing app for a couple years now and just keeps getting better.
Lightroom - I've been a VSCO user for years and still subscribe, but back in December I ran across some Lightroom presets from several pro photographers I follow and decided to give the app a go as my daily photo editor. So far I'm really enjoying the process.
Photos - Quick access to photos.
Feedly - At the end of 2019 I replaced Twitter and Instagram on my homescreen with this RSS feed reader as a way to filter down the noise and curate the signals I want to consume.
TickTick - I've been using this to do app for about a year now. The Today View widget and Apple Watch app complications are used daily to capture reminders. In fact they work so well, I may replace the full app on my homescreen with another valuable app.
Spark Camera - Hands down best video capture app for the iPhone.
Camera+ 2 - This has been my go to camera app for the past three months.
Messages - Preferred method of contact for friends, family. (no badge notifications allowed)
Slack - Work conversations, design groups. (no badge or other notifications allowed)
The Strenuous Life - This one's new to the homescreen this year as I started the Strenuous Life challenge on January 1. It has earned a dock position as I'm in it daily, checking in for the TSL daily, weekly challenges and convos with my TSL dotcomrades.
Spark - I've been a big fan of this mail app for two years now. I'm not a zero inbox kinda guy, I like to pin the things that matter and let everything else fall away.
I've found myself more and more using the Today View and swiping down to use Siri Suggestions. This has allowed me to focus down on the apps I show on the homescreen and move all other apps to the second screen, creating a minimal and distraction free homescreen layout.
Fantastical Widget - still the best calendar app.
Carrot Weather Widget - favorite way to get the weather.
TickTick Widget - quick glance at tasks, quick way to add tasks, because of this I can see moving the full app off my homscreen and replacing it with something else.
Apple News and Trending on Google Widgets - news when I feel like it, not streaming in my feeds.
Arrive Widget - Best mail delivery tracker app.
Shazam Widget - Fun. Magical.
Cheers to Remembering What You Want,