GTD Basics – Methods for Capturing Items in LifeTopix

LifeTopix is an all-in-one productivity app for iPad and iPhone. We have many customers who follow David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method and use LifeTopix to stay organized and productive. Many of these customers ask about the best ways to use LifeTopix for GTD® and our best practices. Today, we’re sharing tips for using LifeTopix to quickly capture ideas, to dos and other items that are in your head.

David Allen rewrote the Getting Things Done book for 2015 and beyond, which was originally published in 2001. In addition, LifeTopix has evolved since we first published the popular post, Best Practices for Getting Things Done – Capture and Collect in 2013. We strive to keep our customers up-to-date and hope you enjoy the new information we’re providing for you today.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website.

In Allen’s latest book, he lays out five key phases of the GTD process:

  • Capturing
  • Clarifying
  • Organizing
  • Reflecting
  • Engaging

Our post today focuses on the “Capturing” phase of  GTD and describes the many ways that you can capture items in LifeTopix that are on your mind. Essentially, Allen states that it’s important to capture these items “outside your head.”

Watch the Video

Minimize Collection Buckets for Capturing Information

LifeTopix is an excellent app for capturing information simply because it organizes information all into one place. In Allen’s book, he states that you should minimize the number of collection buckets that you use to capture things to do and things on your mind. With LifeTopix, you can manage a variety of different types of information, which makes it ideal for minimizing those buckets.

As you know, information originates from several different channels, which results in many collection buckets. In some cases, these buckets can be multiple mobile apps and web-based applications. You receive messages from friends, family and colleagues. You check social media. You discover things on the web. And you receive information from other places — sometimes, it’s great ideas you’re thinking about.

The LifeTopix app combines email, social media, to do lists, your schedule, projects, tasks and more into one place. The many integrations, which include Evernote®, Toodledo®, Dropbox™, Box™, OneDrive™ (SkyDrive), Asana™, and Online Docs, are also helpful for minimizing the places where you collect information. For example, if you use Evernote® for note collections, you can easily manage those notes from LifeTopix.

More to Come

In the next few weeks, we’ll be posting more videos and tips to assist you with utilizing LifeTopix for GTD. Please subscribe to the Life Blog to stay up-to-date.

Learn about the next phases: 

GTD Basics – Methods for Clarifying Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

GTD Basics – Methods for Organizing Actions and To Dos in LifeTopix

GTD Basics – Methods for Reflecting and Weekly Reviews in LifeTopix

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

The Power of All in One Tools and Why We Love Them

LifeTopix Swiss Army Knife of AppsIn the 1800s, Victorinox® introduced the Swiss Army Knife® as an all-in-one tool to aid the Swiss Army. If you’re not familiar with the Swiss Army Knife, it’s essentially a single instrument that can include several different tool combinations such as a blade, screwdriver, can opener, bottle opener, nail file and a host of other tools. The Swiss Army Knife is known for its multi-tool design, red color and white cross logo. It’s an excellent example of smart and versatile design that eliminates unnecessary bulk in your backpack or pocket.

LightArrow Apps – Swiss Army Knives of the App World

Some things never change. In the 1880s, it was important to keep essential tools in one place. These days, many of us keep a variety of tools (apps) for managing our work and life on our smartphones and tablets. Imagine your device is like a pocket or backpack – you don’t want 24 different apps weighing down your device when you can use just one. And just like your pocket, you don’t want to keep reaching into it to find a different tool to do the job when one tool can do it all.

At LightArrow, we believe that versatility and all-in-one design is essential for optimizing productivity, and that’s why we love this type of smart design. For example, if I’m at a conference and I meet new connections, I want to save the information about those connections in notes, but I don’t want those notes to be separate from contacts on my device. Or, if I create a shopping list for a home project, I want that shopping list to be associated with that project. That’s why it’s great when my data is connected and inside one app. I also don’t want to search for a different app every time I want to create a reminder or make a to-do list. For the sake of efficiency, it’s important to have a “go-to” app for this information.

LightArrow Connected App.001-001

 

Many of our apps are packaged much like Swiss Army Knives. You can choose LifeTopix, which includes the most functionality in our product line right out of the box, or you can pick the features you want by downloading one of our other products. These apps: Pro.Calendar, My.Agenda and Pro.Inbox allow feature set flexibility through in-app purchases. Hence, it’s much like picking the tools that you need on your Swiss Army Knife. You can learn more about the features included in each app by visiting our Compare Page.

Your Turn

Have you discovered the power and versatility of all-on-one design? Let us know about your experiences with our products or others.

Introducing Best Calendar App, Pro.Calendar

Pro.Calendar Best Calendar App

Recently we released Pro.Calendar and made it available at the Apple App Store. Pro.Calendar is the “calendar edition” of our LifeTopix app. It includes all popular calendar relevant topics such as project management, events, travel, health, notes and media and allows additional topics to be purchased through in-app purchases for managing shopping lists, contacts, finances, assets, education, passwords, email feeds, Evernote® feeds and Twitter and Facebook feeds. It’s a great selection for those who want the power of LifeTopix, but don’t want or need the entire 12 topics.

Pro.Calendar’s Time Ribbons

Pro.Calendar includes versatile calendar options including patent-pending “Time Ribbon™” views for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. If you’re a current LifeTopix, My.Agenda, My.Self or Pro.Inbox customer, you’ll notice that along with this launch of Pro.Calendar, we’ve updated the calendar views of those apps. Consequently, all LightArrow app users who use the calendar can enjoy the new, enhanced calendar views and “Time Ribbons.”

To learn more about Pro.Calendar and the enhanced Time Ribbon views, watch the following video below.

Pro.Calendar is available from the Apple App Store for US 3.99. As a universal app, a single purchase entitles you to use the app on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The app requires iOS 6.0 or later and is optimized for the iPad and iPhone 5 with iOS 7.

Your Turn

Please let us know if you like Pro.Calendar and if you have any “wish list” items for Pro.Calendar or any of our apps. Thanks!

LifeTopix 8, My.Agenda 3 Guided Tour

Team LightArrow is excited about the new updates of LifeTopix 8 and My.Agenda 3. Our new updates include several new features to maximize your productivity at home, at work, and while you’re on the go. Keep reading to learn how you can take advantage of the latest features.

New Look

All Lightarrow apps have been redesigned with a new look and a new app icon. LifeTopix has already been updated, and the other apps in the LightArrow family will be released over the next few weeks with the new look. The most significant change is the new flat look of the 12 topics view, as represented by the following image.

LifeTopix 12 Topics

Another significant improvement is the new expanding cell. With this change, when you tap on a cell, you’re instantly given options for common functions for the item you’re managing. For example, as shown in the following image, you’re now able to easily access common features for a task, as shown in the  “Maintenance” task.

LifeTopix Expanding Cell

You’ll also notice new colors and icons throughout the app, and topic items now inherit topic colors. In addition, lists have been replaced with tiles to make it easier to find and edit information.

Revamped People + Services with New In-App Purchase: Pro Contacts Pack

The Pro.Contacts Pack takes customer relationship management to a new level. This pack adds new functionality to the People + Services topic in LifeTopix and My.Agenda, which allows you to better manage your personal and customer relationships. In addition, we’ll soon be introducing this functionality as a stand-alone app, for those who only wish to manage their contacts.

Custom Forms / Fields for Contacts

The following image represents a contact showing custom form fields for Alex Cooper. In this example, the user has added custom fields for her personal training clients. This gives her the ability to record their weight and BMI and to track these statistics over time to measure how her clients are progressing.

contactrecord

The next image shows an example of the custom log form and a list of entries for the Personal Training log form. Keep in mind; these forms are completely user configurable, allowing you to track any stats for friends, customers, prospects, family or other contacts. You can view the stats individually for the contact, by type of stat, or by all contacts.

Custom Fields

Associate Tasks, Appointments, Reminders, Notes, and More with Contacts

The Pro.Contacts Pack also allows you to associate tasks, appointments, reminders, notes, files, bookmarks, and expenses with contacts, which makes it easier to manage multiple personal or business relationships. An example is shown below:

LifeTopix Contact Details

Manage Contacts in a Spreadsheet-like Grid View

With the addition of the Pro.Contacts Pack, you can manage multiple attributes for contacts at once with the grid view. You can decide which fields to show and in your specified order via the filter. In addition, you can contact your friends, family, and colleagues directly from this view via phone (iPhone only), email, or text. An example is shown below for a personal trainer who is managing her clients.

LifeTopix Pro Contacts Grid

Import Multiple Contacts

With the addition of the Pro.Contacts Pack, you can import contacts through a comma separated values (CSV) file. You can email this .csv file to an email address that is accessible from your device and open it directly in your LightArrow app. Specific directions are available in your online help.

Manage Additional Contacts with Extra Contacts Packs

If you wish to manage additional contacts above the default of 100, you can purchase more contacts via the Extra Contacts packs.

Improved iOS Contacts Integrations

The integration with your iOS Contacts has been improved in this version of your LightArrow app. You can now easily import contacts from your iOS contacts or easily link a contact in your app to an iOS contact. Information imported from the iOS contact includes first and last name, Facebook profile info and Twitter handle, birthday, anniversary, email, company, phone numbers, email, company, notes, and address. The following example represents a contact and shows the options for linking/importing from iOS contacts.

Linking Contacts LifeTopix

Revamped My Inboxes with New In-App Purchase: Pro Inbox Pack

In the 8.0 version of the LightArrow app engine, we’ve revamped “My Inboxes” to act as a place to harvest information from multiple sources, including Twitter, Facebook, Email, and the Web. This is excellent for researchers and anyone else who wishes to gather information from multiple sources all in one place.

Custom Rules

Through inbox rules, you can create custom rules, which gives you the ability to focus on the information you really want to see. Enter hashtags or keywords for Twitter and narrow the results down to your own tweets, your lists, a particular person, public lists, or all of Twitter. For Facebook, enter keywords and hashtags and narrow the results down to your own timeline, your news feed, a user timeline, or all of Facebook. For the web, enter a search term and narrow the search to a specific URL or website or search the entire web. All of the rules can be saved in a view with easily-accessible tiles, as shown below:

My Inboxes

Convert Feed Items With Pro.Inbox In-App Purchase

Whether you’re a business person, parent, or student, you’re inundated with information from many sources — including email, social media, and the web. Most likely, you’re hopping between Twitter, Email, Facebook, and the web to keep up with all of this information. In the new version of your LightArrow app, as you discover and harvest this information from these multiple sources, you can make this information actionable. For example, your supervisor might request that you create a report via email or you might find a webinar mentioned on Twitter that you want to attend. You can convert these actionable items from web, email, or social channels into items you can take action on such as: tasks, notes, events, projects, trips, visitors, or products. For example, you can convert the webinar invitation found on Twitter into an event in just a few simple taps – no app switching is required.

In addition, if you’re a follower of the Getting Things Done® (GTD®) method, My Inboxes assists you in your implementation of the inbox. In GTD, an inbox is “simply the place where all the incoming things land.” Being able to record your ideas easily in a reliable system for later analysis represents the Collections phase of the GTD methodology. Converting these items to actionable items also helps you to achieve “inbox zero.” The following image shows an example of an email converted to a task:

LifeTopix Convert Items

Save Links from Email or Social Media to Bookmarks

While you’re in the process of converting your email or social media messages to actionable items, you have the choice to convert the links in those messages to bookmarks. Bookmarks can be managed in the Bookmarks + Lockers topic and associated with many items in your LightArrow app. An example is shown below.

Bookmarks

Manage More Rules with Rule Packs

If you wish to manage more than the default 10 rules, you can purchase Extra Inbox rules, up to 100.

Goal Management

The Health + Goals topic (previously Health + Activity) now has the addition of goal management. Goals are items you wish to reach, such as buying a new house, losing 10 pounds, getting in shape, or learning a new skill. You can log metrics for goals and view your progress in a graphical format.

From the Health + Goals topic, there are several aspects of goals that you can manage. You can log your goal progress and show totals or averages for designated time periods and subsequently view the progress in a list or graph. Several values are provided, such as units (pounds, minutes, day, %, and more); target values; and default values. In addition, you can associate items such as tasks, reminders, appointments, etc. to goal metrics for reminders or other reference materials.

The following example shows a goal of going on vacation. This user wishes to include a workout routine to get in shape for the trip and a log of saved money to reach her goal. Both of these aspects of the goal can be measured in one log form.

LifeTopix Goal Management

Lockers

The Bookmarks + Lockers topic now has lockers for securely storing secret information, such as text, photos, and audio. Lockers allow you to save secret information for any information you wish to secure. Lockers support securing of text, photos, and audio. Common uses include storing photos of credit cards, photos of passports, photos of secret receipts, sensitive audio files, and PINs. You must enter a PIN to reveal your secret data. You can feel secure because your LightArrow app uses military grade 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption. The following image shows a list of Lockers and the resulting view after you’ve entered the PIN to reveal a group of Locker Items inside a locker.

LifeTopix Lockers

AES 256-bit Encryption Added to Sensitive Data Fields

Military Grade 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) encryption has been added to sensitive data fields. This applies to PINs and account numbers in bank account detail, as well as for storing the password lock and secret question answers.

Near Me Improvements

The Near Me view gives you one-tap access to a view of your LightArrow app items that are in the vicinity of your current location. In other words, if you set a location for assets, appointments, audio, contacts, events, notes, photos, shopping items, service providers, tasks, trips, or video you can view these items on the map in the Near Me view, which helps you plan your day — especially if you’re running errands or visiting clients. You’ll notice that the Near Me view has a new look, as shown in the following image.

LifeTopix Near Me

The Near Me view is now powered by foursquare®, which allows you to search for arts & entertainment, events, food, shops, and other types of business near you. If these businesses are businesses that you frequently use, you can convert them to Places, Sellers, Banks, or Service Providers in your LightArrow app directly from the Near Me view. In addition, you can now relocate the area you wish to view by simply dragging the pin to the new area. The following image shows an example of this view, with the pin moved to Yosemite.

LifeTopix Near Me foursquare

Simplified and Merged Search + Quick View Interface

The Quick View interface and the Search interface have now been combined to allow you to quickly and easily find and view items. You can search for an item by typing any text (all text blocks are searched) in the Search bar or you can view items by their type of topic or by data item, simply by tapping an item type in the Data Items section or a topic item in the Topic Items section. The following image shows an example of the new combined view.

LifeTopix Near Me foursquare

Color Support by Context Tag

Context Tags Now include color support to help you better identify items that are tagged. The following image shows an example of tasks that are flagged with context tags and the view which allows you to set context tags.

LifeTopix Context Tags

Copy to Folder for Files

You’re now able to copy files and move them from local folders to online services or from one online service to another. The following image shows an example:

Copy to Folder

Copying Projects Now Includes Tasks

Previously, when you copied a project, only the project was duplicated (without the associated tasks). Now when you copy a project, it includes all associated tasks.

Managing Prescriptions for Medications

In the Health + Goals topic, you can now manage prescriptions for medications. You can record the prescription number, expiration date, count, remaining pills or other unit, pharmacist, and doctor. For these prescriptions, you can log when the medication is administered. The following screenshots show an example of prescription management.

LifeTopix Prescriptions

Optionally Specify iOS Calendar by Item

You can now optionally specify the calendar where you wish to push a specific LightArrow app item for many types of items. For example, if you want “work items” to appear on a work calendar, “home items” to appear on a home calendar, or certain items to appear on a shared calendar, you can specify this by item. The following image shows where you can take advantage of this option for a task.

LifeTopix iOS Contacts

Print Improvements

When you print items, a print time is now included in the footer and the LightArrow logo has been omitted.

New Default Date Types

You can specify the default date type (Date+Time or Date Only) for many types of objects. For example, when you create an object, such as a bill payment, you can specify date only to be indicated as opposed to a date and time. The types of objects that support this setting are appointments, bills, events, notes, projects, checklists, inbox items, services, shopping items, shopping lists, trips, tasks, and visitors.

Online Help

New, contextual online help has been added for your LightArrow app.

Additional Improvements

This post focuses on the most significant changes. You will notice smaller additions and defect fixes throughout the app.

Questions?

Please feel free to reach out with any questions.

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Rule Your Personal Big Data

Big DataYou’ve probably heard the popular phrase, Big Data. But what exactly is it? If you ask experts in the industry, you’ll get a variety of definitions. However, according to Forbes, Gartner, Inc. defines it as, high-volume, -velocity and -variety information assets that demand cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight and decision making.”

To gain insight about why Big Data is such a big deal, I sought answers from one of the experts, James Rogers. Rogers says,

The explosion of data, often referred to as Big Data, is a result of the conversion of online business occurring 24×7, news and media going digital, the social media explosion, and the connected universe we live in. As a result, there’s amazing, new, and unique data elements that previously didn’t exist, that now allow incredible new insights for common sales, marketing and researcher tasks such as profiling, prospecting, and researching — all to gain deeper insights to improve customer engagement and business execution.

So how does “Big Data” relate to your own personal data — the data about YOU? Traditionally, corporations have effectively used data analytics in Human Resources, Customer Support, Marketing, and Sales to measure the effectiveness of employees, to generate leads, to better serve you, and to drive sales. Gaining knowledge, the “deeper insights” that Rogers refers to, enables corporations to make better business decisions, improve customer engagement, and to improve the bottom line. Just like in business, your personal analytics (data) can be applied to your personal life in order to improve your health, wellness, happiness, productivity, and effectiveness. These analytics help you to decide how to invest time and money into yourself to obtain a better return on your “self investments.”

Your “Personal Analytics” or “Personal Big Data”

Your personal big data can include any information about you. The purpose of measuring these aspects of your life is to gain knowledge about yourself, which can lead to insights for improving your health and happiness and for reaching personal goals. Personal analytics is also referred to as the “Quantified Self.” If you’re unfamiliar with the “Quantified Self” movement, refer to http://quantifiedself.com/ to learn more about self-tracking.

The technology for measuring personal analytics for health and fitness has been around for some time. In fact, I purchased my first Polar® heart rate monitor to calculate calories burned from my workouts at least ten years ago. Wearables became mainstream after the partnership between Nike and Apple came about to launch footwear that connects directly to the iPod to measure time, distance, calories burned and pace. Since this time, several products have emerged that measure everything from sleep patterns, blood pressure, miles, to calories burned. These wearable devices are convenient because they automatically measure many analytics so there’s no need to manually enter the information. Most of these devices include an online component, and the corporations that collect this data from the wearables are able to utilize this information to better serve you, and they can also tailor their marketing efforts to suit your buying habits if their privacy policies permit this usage.

The LightArrow Approach to Personal Big Data

With the growth of wearables, apps, and tools to gather your personal data about health, fitness, wellness, etc., eventually you’ll find yourself wearing several different devices and tracking data with a variety of websites and tools. You might end up looking like Inspector Gadget. At LightArrow, we take a different approach. Consider LifeTopix or My.Agenda as the Swiss Army knives of tracking. They provide the flexibility for you to manage the personal metrics that are suitable for your life or business. For example, LifeTopix and My.Agenda (through an in-app purchase) include built-in and user-configurable log forms that allow tracking. The multiple topic log form below includes a variety of aspects of life that one user likes to track – all in one form.

Personal Big Data

LifeTopix 7.x Multiple Topic Log Form for Logging a Variety of Personal Data

Our apps don’t include a wearable component; however, they enable tracking of any aspect of life you wish to measure (everything from blood pressure to baby burps). You can easily enter your personal data by using the LifeTopix or My.Agenda app on your Apple device, and it’s in context with everything else in your life, such as your schedule, to-dos, schooling, travel, finances, shopping, events, contacts, assets, and more through LightArrow’s 12 life topics. If you use a variety of wearables and websites to track different aspects of life, consider entering the highlights into your LifeTopix or My.Agenda app. For example, you can record your total calories each week, your run mileage, and your BMI in a multiple topic log form. You’ll see useful trends over time.

Custom Log Forms for Personal Big Data

Custom log forms in LightArrow apps are easy to create. For example, the following log form was created for the first year of growth for a baby. Below, you can see how easy it is to create a form and the flexibility of the possible entries. Notice the red arrow — the types of units you can enter are endless.

Custom Forms

LifeTopix Custom Log Form for Recording Baby’s Growth

Once the data is entered, you’re able to gain knowledge about yourself (or others), which can lead to insights for improving health and happiness and for reaching personal goals. Several views are available for analyzing your data (e.g. a list, plot, line, or bar chart). Imagine having the useful data below at your baby’s one year checkup.

Baby's Growth Chart

Baby’s Growth Chart in LifeTopix

Tutorial – How Do I Create a Multi-Topic Log Form?

Are you ready to start measuring your own personal big data? Watch the following video to learn how.

Your Takeaway

After years or even weeks of usage, imagine the multitude of data you’ll gather and the trends that will give you insight into your life. With this insight, you can take advantage of what’s working, and eliminate what’s not working. And take note, your LightArrow app data is stored on your device (not online), and you can choose to share your ever-growing data with your friends and followers over email or social media. The decision is yours.

My.Agenda – Manage Your Calendar and Reminders Like a Pro

MyAgenda256We commonly receive questions about how My.Agenda and LifeTopix differ; therefore, today we’re providing a post that gives you a good overview of the features of My.Agenda. It’s one of LightArrow’s newest apps built on the LightArrow App Engine 7. The LightArrow App Engine is utilized by all of the apps from LightArrow, and the engine provides a common set of functionality across all of the apps.

Out of the box, My. Agenda includes Reminders, Backup and Restore, Near Me (map view), Passcode Lock, Hot List, Context Tags, Bookmarks, Quick Inbox, Appointments, and the Calendar Views. You can choose to add more features and new topics through in-app purchases or you can purchase the “Everything Pack,” which essentially makes My.Agenda the equivalent of LifeTopix.

My.Agenda is considered the “little sister” of LightArrow’s flagship app, LifeTopix. The My.Agenda app is available for those who want to get productive at a lower price point, US 99 cents, and add features and topics as they desire. This enables you to start small with your productivity needs and grow as your needs expand. LifeTopix includes a calendar, agenda, and checklists plus 12 topics for organizing items such as Tasks + Projects, Shopping, Events, Travel + Places, People + Services, Health + Activity, Finances, Home + Assets, Education, Notes + Files, Media, and Bookmarks. LifeTopix also includes device-to-device sync via cloud services, such as Dropbox or Box. Sync is optional with My.Agenda.

If you’re contemplating swapping the built-in calendar app on your iPhone or iPad, My.Agenda is a great substitute. It acts as a “front end” to the calendars you’ve set up in your device’s Settings (including, Google, Yahoo, etc.), and it gives you additional functionality for scheduling and organizing your life. If your friends, family, or colleagues use the iOS calendar or a different calendar that your Apple device supports, you’re in luck because My.Agenda shows events from those calendars.

The images in this post were created by using LifeTopix, but keep in mind that My.Agenda is very similar, and can include the same features through in-app purchases. If you wish to compare our apps in more detail, refer to http://www.lightarrow.com/compare.

Design

Let’s first discuss design. LightArrow apps are not superficial. They’re not just pretty on the outside — they also have deep substance, which pleasantly surprises most users. These apps have a multifaceted personality, and when you peel back the layers you’ll find that they’ll adapt to a multitude of uses because of their configurability. The colors, fonts, and typefaces are meant to emphasize readability. We’ve taken customer feedback to heart and applied their advice to accentuate your productivity.

The Agenda View

The My.Agenda app includes more functionality right out of the box than your usual calendar or to-do app. It includes your to-do lists (checklists) and your calendar in one place in an easy-to-read Agenda view. With other apps, your schedule and to-do lists are disconnected resulting in a disjointed experience. My.Agenda helps you get productive right away by eliminating the app hopping that you would experience with these detached apps.

The Agenda view, which is available in both My.Agenda and LifeTopix is the view that you use to remember all the appointments, to-dos, tasks, etc. that you need to track every day. In a single glance, you know what’s going on for the day. Types of items that you can create through the Agenda view vary depending on your in-app purchases, but appointments and checklists are provided out of the box. Notice that you can add your appointments and to-dos directly from this view using the Add links and the Quick Add menu at the bottom of the screen. The Agenda View is shown below.

Agenda View

The Calendar Views

We understand that the calendar is one of the most important tools that you use for daily life. Most of us are lost without our calendars. That’s why we provide you with easy-to-read and user-friendly views for your calendar. We invite you to compare LightArrow calendars with the iOS 7 calendar views and decide which views you prefer to use for your daily life. My.Agenda provides you with a variety of views including Day, Week, Month, and Year. Furthermore, you can choose the calendars (Google, Yahoo, Outlook, etc.) and items (Appointment, tasks, etc.) you wish to view on your calendar by tapping the filter icon in the upper right of the calendar.

Day View

The Day view includes a detailed list view for the day. It shows you your appointments (and tasks, workouts, projects, events, etc. – depending on what you’re managing) for a given day. If you’re using multiple calendars, the events are color coded by calendar. Tapping the appointment accesses the event’s details. You can manage your items directly through this view.

Day View

Week View

The Week view gives you a good overview of the items that you’ve scheduled for the week. Once again, they’re color-coded based on their calendar. Managing the items is easy – just a tap away.

Week View

Month View

The Month view includes detailed list views and a calendar for the month. It shows you a list of your appointments for a chosen day and you can easily choose the day you want to view by tapping the date on the calendar. There’s an indicator on each day to show you if items are scheduled on those days. You can also completely manage those items by tapping them.

Month View

Year View

The Year view allows you to scroll through a list of all your appointments and other items in one view for the entire year. You can also access past years’ items. You can manage your items directly from this view.

Year View

Appointment Creation

You’ll find an abundance of power and flexibility in appointment creation. Creating an appointment is very user friendly as shown in the screenshot below. Essentially, you complete the fields and optionally add a location via Search, current location, or through a direct address. And keep in mind if you like to use Siri to quickly add events, those events will appear in your My.Agenda app, and you can tap the events in the calendar to convert them to a My.Agenda object if you wish.

Appointment

My.Agenda also gives you a variety of options for repeat appointments, such as various days of the week or certain days of the month. This functionality is great for part-time work schedules, education schedules, volunteer schedules, coaching, meetings, etc. — any type of appointment that occurs on a varying schedule. A custom month schedule is shown in the graphic below.

 

Repeat Schedule Month

Your app allows you to preview the schedule before you create it to ensure that you scheduled it correctly, which is very handy. The preview is shown in the image below.

Repeat Schedule

The Near Me view also helps you to get productive and plan your day according to the location of your appointments. If you add a location to your appointments (and other optional items, such as shopping items, tasks, etc.), you can view those items on a map, which gives you a clear picture of how your day looks from a geographic perspective.

Map

Reminders and Alarms

You can create both My.Agenda reminders and device (iOS) reminders directly from your app. And keep in mind that you can use Siri, and My.Agenda will show the reminders that you create by using Siri. You can view reminders in the Agenda View, and you can manage these reminders directly from your app.

You can choose whether or not your My.Agenda items (appointments, or optionally — projects, tasks, bills, etc.) are displayed on your built-in iOS calendar, and you can also choose when you would like to be notified by your device. We suggest that you show the items on your iOS calendar so you can take advantage of your device’s alarms and notifications. In the Settings view, the app provides you with a variety of ways to manage the alarms for your items, as shown below:

Calendar Settings

Note: This screenshot was taken from the latest update currently in testing and due to ship soon. Your screen will vary slightly.

How do you get the Apps?

LifeTopix 7.x and My.Agenda 2.x are available from the Apple App Store for US 4.99 and US .99, respectively. As universal apps, a single purchase entitles you to use these top productivity apps on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The apps require iOS 5.0 or later and are optimized for the newest devices with iOS 7.

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Your Turn

We hope this gives you a good overview of the calendar and agenda features of My.Agenda. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out!

Holiday Shopping Made Easy with LightArrow Mobile Apps


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It’s nearly impossible to believe that the holidays are just around the corner. In fact, the shopping season is even shorter this year because Thanksgiving falls later than usual. This weekend is a wonderful time to start compiling your holiday shopping lists. Retailers are gearing up for Black Friday, and the early shoppers are posed to pick up the best deals.

We have three amazing apps available from the Apple App Store to help you make shopping lists: LifeTopix, My.Agenda (with in-app purchase), and My.Shopping. What’s great about LightArrow apps is they’re not just beneficial for the holiday season – they’ll help you stay productive and on task all year long.

Learn How LightArrow Apps Make Holiday Shopping Easy

The short slideshow below introduces LifeTopix’s shopping features. Enjoy!

With the LifeTopix and My.Shopping apps, you can manage shopping lists and items, products, sellers, coupons, gifts (given and received), and things to sell. With LifeTopix, you can also manage charitable donations, holiday event planning, and website passwords (for online shopping purposes). You can compare LightArrow apps in detail by viewing our Comparison Guide.

Happy Holidays from Team LightArrow!

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Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Doing Phase

LifeTopix and My.Agenda are personal organization apps for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Both apps are especially useful for those who utilize David Allen’s Getting Things Done® (GTD) method. The GTD method is an excellent method for organizing your schedule and getting things done for both life and business.LifeTopix GTD

At LightArrow, we’re constantly incorporating features that are useful for GTD, and we enjoy sharing our best practices for using these features. In this post, I’ll show you how you can use LifeTopix for the Doing Phase of GTD. Keep in mind that our starter app, My.Agenda, can include many of the features discussed by purchasing the Get Things Done Pack as an in-app purchase.

What is GTD?

If you’re not familiar with GTD, it’s “the groundbreaking work-life management system by David Allen that provides concrete solutions for transforming overwhelm and uncertainty into an integrated system of stress-free productivity,” according to David Allen’s website. Allen lays out five key phases of the GTD process, which include 1) Capture/Collect, 2) Process, 3) Organize, 4) Review, and 5) Doing. This post focuses on the Doing Phase of this workflow. In earlier blog posts, I’ve described the first four phases.

Refer to the following links to better understand how to use LightArrow apps for GTD.

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

What is the Doing Phase of GTD?

No matter what system you’re using, it’s incredibly important to take action on your projects and units of work (tasks). In GTD, the Doing Phase is about making choices and taking action on items based on the context, time available, resources, and priorities. The types of items that you execute on are primarily tasks; however, in LifeTopix you might also be acting upon notes, appointments, trips, visits, events, gifts, and shopping lists. When using LifeTopix, we suggest that you review your action lists daily and choose the items for which you wish to act.

This post focuses primarily on tasks and appointments, but keep in mind the principles are similar for most actionable items. If you’ve properly executed the phases of Capturing, Processing, Organizing, and Reviewing, then you should be able to easily proceed with the Doing Phase. When using LifeTopix for the Doing Phase, focus on the items described in the following sections.

Choosing Items from My Contexts

LifeTopix provides context tags for adding metadata to any type of object, no matter what system you use. Fundamentally, tags are used to describe the data for organizing purposes. In GTD, contexts are assigned to help you determine if you’re at the correct location and have the proper resources to complete a job. You can use LifeTopix’s context tags for GTD contexts.

The following four criteria are outlined in Allen’s book for setting contexts:

  1. Context (tools available, such as phone, internet, etc.)
  2. Time (the time at hand)
  3. Energy (your attention level)
  4. Priority (importance)

Take note that you’re more productive if you perform tasks, such as making phone calls during chunks of time, rather than switching to a different task — such as going to the grocery store to pick up milk and then finishing phone calls at a later time. Examples of GTD contexts are @office, @home, @grocery store, etc.

In LifeTopix, you can set any context you wish and you can assign multiple contexts to items. You access the My Contexts view by tapping the “tag” icon, as shown in the following image. The My Contexts view assists you in making choices about the jobs you wish to complete daily. This view shows all the contexts that you’ve set up.

LifeTopix Contexts
You can drill down into the contexts to see their tasks and other items by tapping the items in the list. In the My Contexts view, I’ve chosen the context of @home. The following image shows the tasks to which I’ve assigned to this context.

LifeTopix Contexts

Choosing and Viewing Daily Tasks from Contexts

Once you’ve selected a task from the My Contexts view, you can view the task detail to further determine if you have the time to complete the job. You can also determine if the item is a priority. The following image shows the fields that help you to decide on an action. The image below also shows how you can assign the action to the current date. Assigning a date allows you to easily locate and view the task in the Agenda view.

LifeTopix Tasks GTD

When you assign a due date to the current day, the task appears in the Agenda view, which makes it easy for you to view and edit your upcoming tasks from one screen, as shown in the following image.

LifeTopix Agenda View GTD

In the above image, notice that the “Write 10 pages” task appears in light green, indicating it’s the next action to complete.

Choosing Items from Task Lists

Another method for choosing your daily tasks is to review your Task Lists in LifeTopix. In the Tasks + Projects topic of LifeTopix, you can access all your tasks in one view, which is the Task List view. You can drill down into each task to determine if you have enough time to complete the task and whether or not the task is flagged with a higher priority. This view is shown below.

Task List LifeTopix

We realize that it’s crucial to choose daily tasks based on many factors, and that priority and context are of upmost importance. Therefore, in our upcoming release of LifeTopix, we’ve made it easier to choose daily tasks by adding more choices for filtering task views. You will be able to view tasks by All, Category, Context Tag, Due Date, Last Updated, Status, Associated Item, Priority, and Task Owner. This allows you to better choose items based on context, time, resources, and priorities. These new choices are shown in the following image.

LifeTopix 8

(Pre-release image)

Utilizing Hot Lists

Hot Lists are exactly what the name implies — items that have a high degree of importance. Hence, we created the Hot List view for those “Hot” items. The Hot List gives you easy access to your favorite and most commonly used views and items by aggregating them into one place. This saves you time in navigating to frequently used views, items, and resources in LifeTopix.

At LightArrow, we realize that when following the GTD method, you might not want to set due dates for tasks that do not have hard deadlines. In LifeTopix, we recommend adding the due dates so you can easily view your items in one place (the Agenda view); however, if you prefer not to assign due dates to tasks, you can add these items to the Hot List.

To add tasks to your Hot List, in your Task List view, tap the “more info” icon to view the following options and then choose “Add to Hot List.”

Note: In many LifeTopix list views, you can tap and hold an item to add it to the Hot List.

Hot List GTD LifeTopix

Subsequently, you can view your chosen items directly from the Hot List, which you access from your Dashboard, as shown below.

Hot List

Using Your Calendar Views

Actions that must be completed at a certain date and time (with hard deadlines), such as classes, meetings, doctor’s appointments, kids’ activities, etc. are handled easily by LifeTopix. Specifically, LifeTopix allows you to define these items by Appointments, Bill Payments, Events, Dated Notes, Occasions, Medications, Activity/Wellness, and more. LifeTopix has a variety of choices for viewing the calendar. LifeTopix includes a main calendar that allows you to pick and choose the types of items that display on it. The app also includes specific calendars for tasks, events, and trips. You can view the calendar by Day, Week, Month, and Year. If you want to see these calendar views in detail, refer to Not Crazy About the iOS 7 Calendar App – Here’s the Answer.

In the Month and Day views, you can easily review the items that you scheduled for the day, which helps you to decide on the other tasks that you’ll work on daily. The following image shows an example of the Month view.

Month View LifeTopix

In this view, you can see all the dated items that you’ve assigned for the day — all in one place. Keep in mind that your dated items also appear in your Agenda view, which provides a good list of your jobs, events, and appointments for the current day and the upcoming week.

Completing Tasks

Of course, completing your important tasks is the ultimate goal when your intention is productivity and getting things done. Doing the work is up to you, but LifeTopix makes it easy to mark your tasks as complete. You simply set the Status to Completed and enter a Finished On date. This way, you have a record of when you complete the task and you feel a sense of accomplishment when you see your important items crossed off. The following screenshot shows the fields where you indicate status for a task.

LifeTopix Complete Tasks

Once you’ve completed your tasks, you can view the completed task list by filtering by all tasks, as shown in the following image.

LifeTopix Completed Tasks

Take note, in our upcoming release, you’ll have the ability to view your tasks by status, as shown earlier in this post.

More Information

GTD is a great system for managing your busy home and work life. If you’d like to know more about best practices using LifeTopix for GTD, refer to the following posts:

Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Prioritizing Tasks in LifeTopix
Best Practices for Getting Things Done with LifeTopix Categories and Contexts
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Capture and Collect
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Processing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Master Organizing
Best Practices for Getting Things Done — Weekly Review

Your Turn

As I mentioned, if you’ve properly focused on the first four phases of GTD, then the Doing Phase should be a breeze. Please comment and let us know how you implement the Doing Phase and let us know if you have suggestions or questions.

GTD® and Getting Things Done® are registered trademarks of the David Allen Company. LightArrow Apps are not affiliated with or endorsed by the David Allen Company.

Guide to Using LifeTopix as a Quantified Self Tool

The Quantified Self is a movement that advocates measuring aspects of your daily life such as calories, blood pressure, exercise, diet, heart rate, and other metrics. The purpose of measuring these aspects of your life is to gain knowledge about yourself, which can lead to insights for improving your health and happiness and for reaching personal goals. Quantified Self is also referred to as self tracking or self quantifying.

Are you skeptical? Is the Quantified Self movement just a fad? Consider this. Would you make a serious business decision without data to back it up? So why not make decisions for your personal life based on analytical data? Data is POWER — however you apply it. Collecting data about yourself can empower you to make the right decisions in life.

Still doubtful? Watch this inspiring talk by Ari Meisel about how he was able to relieve his Crohn’s disease symptoms through analyzing his data: http://quantifiedself.com/2011/10/ari-meisel-on-curing-the-incurable-through-self-experimentation/ .

How is data collected?

There are several apps and tools for gathering data manually and automatically. You can achieve automatic collection by using Wearables, which are devices that you wear that record various health-related analytics automatically such as calories burned, exercise, sleep, steps, or blood pressure, and sometimes they provide accompanying software. You’ll find several apps that allow you to to record these items both manually and automatically, but many are not flexible enough to record the items that YOU wish to record.

We take a different approach with LifeTopix (or the starter app My.Agenda) by allowing you to define the items YOU wish to record and log these items when and where you wish. This is accomplished through LifeTopix’s Log Forms and Multi-Topic Log Forms found in the Health + Activity topic.

The Power and Flexibility of LifeTopix

With LifeTopix, the power and flexibility is accomplished by allowing you to define what to measure with varying self-defined units. You’ll find out-of-the-box log forms including items such as Aerobics, Chores, Cooking, Family Time, Gym, Meditation, Reading, Body Fat, Blood Sugar, Breakfast, Dinner, and much more. However, if you want to track more complex or obscure items, such as happiness, thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), C-reactive protein (CRP), sleep quality, hot flashes, supplements, etc. with LifeTopix, you can.

You can easily add, modify, or remove log forms to track any metric that’s appropriate for you. You’ll be surprised at the variety of units that we provide out of the box including: percent, calories, cups, days, grams, hours, inches, mg/dL, miles, minutes, mm Hg, on scale 1-10, on scale 1-5, pills, pounds, servings, sets, and times. Furthermore, we give you the ability to define your own units; therefore, you can essentially measure any metric you wish to measure.

One of our users provided us with the following screenshot of his log form, which measures his regular workout, including a full body stretch and cardio.

CardioStretch

He’s recorded these items over a long period of time, which helps him to analyze at what times he’s more motivated to complete his workout and what’s going on in his life that affects his workout.

Another user chose to measure calories and aerobic activity for weight loss. The following image shows an example of the log form entries that this user built.

FormEntries

As this user logs their entries over time, she can view the following types of graphs (line, bar, and plot) to measure progress and trends and she can also view a list of entries.

logforms

This user can also view the statistics individually in a Log Form (as opposed to the multi-topic log form) if she wishes to analyze the data for one activity, health item, nutrition item, or other type of item as the following bar chart shows:

aerobicsAre you ready to try measuring life statistics for yourself? Watch the following video to learn how.

Tutorial – How Do I Create a Multi-Topic Log Form?

Introducing Integration of Box with LightArrow Apps

box_partnership_seal_blue(1)The LightArrow team is very excited to announce that we’ve developed a partnership with Box, and we’ve integrated all our personal organization and business productivity apps with Box services. Box services integration enables LightArrow app users to use LightArrow apps and Box services for:

  • Device-to-device syncing of LightArrow apps.
  • Backing up and restoring LightArrow app data.
  • Accessing online folders and files in Box for easy access while mobile.
  • Downloading, viewing, emailing and printing files from Box while mobile.
  • Associating files from Box to LightArrow items, such as projects, products, events, trips, visits, notes, services, service providers, metrics, subjects and assets.

Watch the tutorials below to learn about the integration and how you can take advantage of the new features.

LightArrow Apps – Using Box for Sync and Backup/Restore

LightArrow Apps – Accessing Files and Folders from Box

The LightArrow App Engine 7

The Box integration is built into the LightArrow App Engine 7, which is used by all our apps, providing a common set of functionality across all the apps. The LightArrow App Engine currently supports Dropbox™, SkyDrive™, and Google Drive™, and by adding Box services, LightArrow opens the features to millions of existing Box users. The LightArrow App Engine 7 has over three years of development and constant improvements with feedback from users.

Learn More at the Box Website

LifeTopix | My.Agenda | Pro.Notes | My.Notes | My.Shopping