Monthly Archives: July 2013

Utilizing Your iPad for Productivity in 5 Steps

The Future is Yours!

Congratulations, you own an iPad! Now . . . what are you going to do with it? Are you familiar with any Apple products? Do you know how to adjust the brightness or connect to a wifi network or bluetooth accessories? How do you check the free space?

  1. Take It Slow.
  2. It can be easy to get overwhelmed by new technology. If your tech experience is limited to Microsoft products up until now, you should know that there is a learning curve, even though it is relatively shallow. If your long-term goal is to use the iPad as your primary device, then try using it for just one extra task per day. Start with something simple and easy like checking email, and each day just add another task.

    Here are some great articles to get you started on iPad usefulness:

  3. Do Your Homework.
  4. Most people can figure out how to take pictures, use Facebook, and play games with relative ease. The iPad was designed to be simple and intuitive from the inside out. However, tasks like exporting files, App-specifics like creating 3D objects, or even the occasional mysterious basic task (like copying text) can be remarkably difficult to figure out on your own. Don’t let frustration win: take steps to educate yourself. Go to Apple’s Forums or even search on Bing or Google. You can start here, if you like:

  5. Design Your Pipeline.
  6. IPad Apps tend to be more specialized than programs on a PC. So you might need to use one App to write out text, another to mark it up in HTML, another to check your code, and yet another to actually publish the blog post (if you’re using it for blogging, like I am!). The key to iPad mastery is working with these Apps regularly so that you get a feel for their strengths and weakness. Always use any given App for its strengths, and find another App to cover for other tasks.

    Most of us do this on a PC without ever realizing it. For example, you might write out text in a Word Processor, use email to send the document file to your co-worker, who then proofs it and makes it into a PDF using a two-step process. Creating content with an iPad might use more applications than a PC, but it will take the same amount of time (or less) when you understand how your Apps work.

    Tip: Step 1 can easily be incorporated into the process of learning a new App, just learn how to do one new thing on it each day, while practicing what you’ve done before. If you can, I highly recommend learning any new tool gradually, and that includes the iPad.

  7. Take Notes
  8. Studies like this one have shown that the act of writing something down helps your brain to better absorb the information and remember it. I recommend using an App like Evernote or MagicalPad to record your thoughts and also help you improve at App-switching.

    Tip: Don’t just take notes on what you’re learning – include thoughts of how to apply whatever App you’re studying to other areas of your work. You may be surprised at the results, but I have found more than a few happy surprises in several Apps which are useful for more than just their basic purpose.

  9. Make time for Play.
  10. I’m not recommending downloading Angry Birds and playing it for hours on end. You’re welcome to do that if you like, but I’m talking about the type of play that leads to greater learning.

    For example, while I was learning how to use Procreate, I would often use a single brush to slather different colors all over the page and then go nuts with the Smudge tool, just to see what kind of result I could get with simplicity. I ended up with some pretty cool-looking paintings, not perfect, but pretty good for about 15 minutes work. And more importantly, I learned how to better use the brushes and smudge tool to create better artwork.

Whether your new iPad becomes an overpriced toy or an investment on which you see a return is up to you. And if it is a work-issued device, learning how to better utilize it for productivity may just catch the attention of your boss and lead to greater opportunities.

Like these tips? If you have questions, email me at editor[at] . I rely on your questions for creating content that is useful for you, so don’t be shy – email me!


Preventing iPad theft in Coffee Shops

The iPad’s physical portability and practical versatility makes it perfect for doing a little out-of-office work at your favorite coffee place. Unfortunately, these same traits also make it an ideal target for thieves.

Here are a few tips for keeping your iPad from getting stolen while you’re out an about:

  1. Keep it by Your Side.
  2. Most coffee shops call your name when your drink is ready, and in those seemingly short seconds when you are getting your order, someone could easily grab your tablet and walk out the door with impunity. So, remember the iPad’s portability when you go to get your drink and take it with you.
    Also, don’t be afraid to take the iPad with you on a bathroom break. Sorry if I’ve just given all you mysophobes nightmares for the next week. Try wrapping your iPad in paper towels and laying it on a secure, stable surface (like a changing table) if you’re in an open-door restroom meant for multiple customers at once. I’ve found that most coffee shops have the one-at-a-time variety with lockable doors, in which case you can just lay the tablet on some paper towels covering the sink or other dry flat surface.

  3. Forge Alliances.
  4. If you become a ‘regular’ at a coffee shop, it won’t be long before you get to know the other regulars as well. I know quite a few regulars at my local Starbucks since I’m here all the time, and we all trust each other to watch our stuff if we need to step out for a phone call or use the facilities.

  5. Go Small.
  6. Without falling into the fallacy that smaller towns are inherently safer than big cities (statistically, they aren’t), using a smaller coffee shop can be to your advantage, especially if you slip up on step 1 and suddenly find yourself away from the iPad at the drink counter or restroom. Just keep your stuff in your eyeline, and try to park it within sight of a security camera. Smaller shops also make it easier to recognize your fellow regulars so that you can look out for each other.

Ultimately, theft prevention is about awareness. Be aware of your surroundings, know your fellow coffee-drinkers, and be safe out there.
Have any safety tips of your own? Email me – editor[at] .