When we switched to #iPadOnly, one of the most annoying things was the fact that we had to redesign all of our workflows from scratch. It was also the most liberating thing - we could take our time, find the appropriate apps and finally revise everything we were doing on the computer and make it ‘leaner’ and ‘more focused’.
The iPad also drove us to take the plunge and move to the cloud. Most of the things we use are now in the cloud. Michael keeps his files in Dropbox, his notes in Evernote, tasks in Nozbe and settings in the iCloud. Augusto also has his documents in Dropbox, his file cabinet in Evernote, his notes in the Notepad application synced with iCloud and his tasks and GTD system in Omnifocus. Everything has its place.
This ‘living in the cloud’ allowed us to simplify the process of sharing. Because we use the cloud, sharing of files, ideas and notes became easy. As we mentioned earlier, before the iPad, in order to share we’d first need to fire up the email client, write an email and later start searching for the attachments to add to that email.
On the iPad you simply go to Dropbox, Evernote, Photos or the app needed. Choose files, notes or images you want to share, choose ‘email’, and send. The iPad simply reverses the process providing these three benefits:
- We never forget attachments, because we start with them.
- Because we don’t start in the email program, there is no temptation to read other email messages and get distracted from our current work
- When we have ‘large files’ to send, we send links to them, instead of attaching the file - as the files are in the cloud, people can access them through the links we send. No more sending of heavy emails!
Not everything is perfect, and there are things that still annoy us with some cloud apps. Both Dropbox and Evernote apps have seen some improvements, but Dropbox doesn’t ‘sync’ folders on the iPad so we cannot have an entire folder ‘offline’ on our iPads… and with 64GB iPads we’d have plenty of space for our files. Evernote does sync notebooks offline (if you have a Premium account) but over there the ‘note processing’ is very tiresome. To move a note from one notebook to another takes quite a few taps. Other than that, we love these apps.
One of the most important things for Augusto is the fact that his iPad offers him the ability to simplify the writing process. We both write in an app like called Editorial or AI Writer where everything we write is saved automatically to Dropbox. When Michael needs a ‘rich-formatted’ text with bold and italics, he writes in Markdown - where he can preview his text files and blog posts directly from the app and copy the resulting formatted text any way he chooses. Since we began writing this book Augusto has been experimenting with Markdown but it is not yet something that comes naturally to him.
It is the use of this simple writing app that helps us focus on writing and (again) makes sharing our writing a breeze and gives us peace of mind, knowing everything we write is automatically saved on the iPad and in Dropbox.
Over the course of writing this book we experimented with different apps and ways of sharing text. We eventually ditched Google Drive and Google Docs (too clunky and complicated on the iPad) and wrote everything by sharing an #iPadOnly folder in Dropbox.
Our bags are getting smaller and smaller but also more powerful as they shrink. If you carry the iPad you can scan, fax, access reference files, sign documents, create documents, write, edit, exchange information or simply have a FaceTime or Skype call. All of that capability comes without additional weight. In many ways the simplification of the office equipment you need is amazing.
It is this ability to work in the cloud, with more focus, with simple yet more powerful tools on the iPad that allow you to truly streamline your work. There are a lot more simplifications on the iPad but these stand out at first. We’ll talk about more of them in the next chapters of the book.
Hold on tight and you’ll discover why going #iPadOnly is not as crazy of an idea as you might think. You may discover that it brings back the focus and simplification to your work thanks to the iPad’s unique software and hardware design.