Home Screens: Mike Vardy


 Mike Vardy (Twitter) (website) speaks and writes about managing your time better. How appropriate then that Mike released a book this week about how we use our calendars, The Now Year, A Practical Guide to Calendar Management. In addition to being prolific, Mike’s a really kind fellow and agreed to share his home screen. So Mike, what’s on your home screen?


What are your most interesting home screen apps?

One of them is 1Password because I’m actually using it as my main browser app now. It has all of my passwords stored in it, and the new version sports a much better browsing component. I rarely browse the Internet on my iPhone, but when I do (other than when it comes from a prompt within Dispatch, which defaults to Safari), I use 1Password.

30/30 is also an interesting choice because while I use it sparingly, it’s nice to have it there when I want to use a modified version of The Pomodoro Technique. If it wasn’t on my home screen I’d probably not use it as much.

YNAB and Neat are there for the same reason. I want to keep on top of my finances and my scannables, so having these apps front and center really helps. In fact, most things on my home screen are there because of that. And if the Reviewables folder (where all of my beta testing apps are) then I’d not put the apps through the paces nearly as often…or as well.

What is your favorite app?

Drafts, with Dispatch being a close second. I’m a big fan of “gateway” apps — apps that allow you to get in the door with something and then place that thing where you need it most with as little friction as possible. Drafts and Dispatch (along with Launch Center Pro) are the best gateway apps I’ve come across. They’re the reason I am getting so much more use out of my iPhone than ever before.

Which app is your guilty pleasure?

I’d say that’d be the Untappd app. I don’t use location check-in apps other than this one. Untappd is essentially a social networking app for beer drinkers, and ever since I started getting into craft beers (I’ve even started cellaring them and have been using Evernote to help out with that process) I have been using Untappd to indicate when I have a beer and what beer I’m having. Other than listening to the Mikes on Mics back catalog, it’s the only other way I track the beers I’ve had.

What is the app you are still missing?

With Drafts, Dispatch, and Launch Center Pro in my arsenal, I don’t really find myself wanting for any particular app. What I think is missing is the fact that I can’t choose to change my default mail app from the stock app to Dispatch, or the stock browser to 1Password if I want. I understand why that’s the case (or at least I think I do), but that doesn’t mean I have to like it, right?

How many times a day do you use your iPhone?

Far more often than in the past – I’d say upwards of 10 times per day since I’m actually using Dispatch as my primary email app (yep, even over the one on my MacBook Air). The ability to quickly capture and shift things to where I need them to be (email tasks to OmniFocus or Asana, email information materials to Evernote, quick capture of ideas to Drafts, etc.) is what makes iOS (and my iPhone) the operating system I’m using more and more these days.

What is your favorite feature of the iPhone?

I’d say the new Control Center feature introduced in iOS 7 is my favourite. I love that I can quickly swipe up with my thumb and activate Airplane Mode, open the calculator, and fire up the flashlight. It’s a small thing, but it’s a classic example of great UI and UX – something Apple knows a thing or two about.

If you were in charge at Apple, what would you add or change?

Other than the ability to choose my own “sensible defaults” — hat tip to Patrick Rhone for that phrase — not much. That said, the default thing is pretty important (but I don’t see it changing anytime soon).

Anything else you’d like to share?

If you’re not using Drafts, Dispatch, and/or Launch Center Pro do yourself a favour and start. Any of these apps (when you take the time to set them up to meet your needs) will really change the way you use your iPhone.