2 min read

New device, features, habits, discipline and benefits

I recently upgraded from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 6s. When upgrading I typically like to go through two things. First, I install from scratch rather than restore from backup. Second, I run through all of the new features to make sure I’m taking advantage of everything the device can possibly do as it relates to my habits and discipline.

Regarding installing from scratch, it is all about getting a clean installation after the previous device having accumulated a lot of applications and features I really do not use. I like to go through a step by step process of configuring the device, putting in the general settings and then installing only those applications that I have been using a lot of over the past year. For this iteration I spent a lot of time making sure that I’m getting the right notifications at the right time. For example, I went through each and every application in ‘Notification Center’ to confirm what I am going to get notified for and when. For my new iPhone I’ve only enabled sound for two things; phone calls (think the car locking sound which is soft and subtle) and calendar reminders. Everything else is silent. Furthermore I made sure that notifications I receive are not duplicated on my Mac or on my iPad. Not sure if you have ever had a reminder hit you three ways at the same time. Certainly a good way to take you off the rails if you’re focusing. Also, do you need all devices to remind you of something? I carry my phone around most of the time therefore it makes sense to have most of my notifications come through it rather than other devices.

The second thing is looking at the new features of the operating system. Given I use a Mac and iPad there are a lot of synergies and integration. Understanding how it all works together is important so that I can leverage the benefits of the ecosystem. One of the newest features is the Force Touch which I am starting to use now. A lot of the applications I am using are not leveraging it currently; it is just a matter of time. This new feature has driven how I keep my applications sorted on the home screen so that I can take advantage of the shortcut feature. The best example is the Photos application where you can use the Force Touch to quickly tell the iPhone you want to take a selfie.

My life has changed significantly this year in terms of being disciplined and keeping check of my habits. The devices I use play a significant role in helping me stay on track and remind me of the path I am taking so I can leverage the benefits. I’ll post some more on some of the applications I have used to do that. For example I have posted previously about HabitRPG (now Habitica) which helps keep track of your habits. Bottom line, don’t let your devices rule you, let them help you. Spend that time up front to get them working the right way so you can establish the discipline and reap the benefits.