New OS, New Opportunities - 2017 Edition

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This week sees the launch of Apple’s latest iOS operating system, and next week sees the launch of their Mac OS, High Sierra operating system. These updates give all iOS and Mac OS users an excellent opportunity to review their systems and see how they can take advantage of the new features to their greater productivity good.

No matter what operating system you are using, whether it is iOS, Android or Windows, whenever an updated system comes out, it is a wonderful opportunity to take a look at the new features to see what any of them can do to help us become more productive. Apple, Google and Microsoft want to make the lives of their customers better, easier and more fun. With each new iteration of these operating systems, some incredibly smart people at these companies spent many hours thinking about how they can take advantage of new technology to make our work and personal lives better and easier.

As an Apple user, when Apple launch their new operating systems, I use the lead up time to review how I use my technology, and see if any new features will make my processes, workflows and systems better. One of the biggest changes for me was back in the early 2000s when Apple introduced their first cloud based service “.mac”. (I still use my @mac.com email address) This gave me access to cloud based storage and it allowed me access to documents I had created on my desktop on my laptop without having to use USB drives. Although it was much criticised at the time, I never had any problems with it and made full use of it. I suppose this is why, despite the criticisms of MobileMe and iCloud, I have happily paid over my money to use the services year after year.

In the last couple of years I have taken a passing interest in Apple’s Reminders and Notes. At the moment neither are better than the current apps I use (Todoist and Evernote), but Notes is certainly getting there and I can see a future where Apple Notes could replace Evernote as my go-to note taking app.

Often we just update our devices whenever the time comes, or we are pushed to do so, without taking any time to look at the new features and how they can improve our lives. This year for example sees a big improvement in the editing features of Apple’s Photos. I took a good look at the new features and realised I could incorporate many of these features into my workflow and reduce my use of Lightroom, which I find slow and cumbersome. I have been cleaning up my photos on my computer, deleting off bad or blurred images, accidental videos and other not very good photos. I have also been looking at the new search functionality in Mail to see if that could help me to reduce my email folder structure still further, and of course how Siri working with Todoist and Evernote might help my productivity workflow.

And that’s why, if you want to be the most productive version of yourself, taking some time to look at the new features in your operating system’s update is time well spent. It is also a lot of fun. From a productive point of view you need to be asking the question how can this improve my systems? Questions like how does the new Android OS improve my ability to link and send attachments in email? How can I incorporate Microsoft Office’s new features into my workflow? How does the new version of Outlook work with my work and personal email system? Playing with and testing these new features can lead you to even greater productivity and at the same time it can lead you down avenues you had not previously thought of.

As most of these companies bring out new operating systems each year, this opportunity to take a look at the way you work and find ways of simplifying and refining your systems is a great use of your time. It is usually only once a year and the time spent playing with the new features, can be rewarded later with a lot of saved time. If you make it a task to play with the new features, it is not procrastination, it is assigned work. It is far better to do this as a specific task than to end up following a rabbit hole later when you are trying to do something and haven’t the faintest idea how to do it.

So, for all you iOS and Mac OS users out there, take some time this week and review the WWDC Event video from June this year, have a look at how Siri integration with your favourite app might help you, the new photo editing features and the improvements to Notes. You might just be surprised how these new features could improve your overall system.

Technology is advancing at a faster rate than ever before, new features, that were previously impossible, are now possible. These new features can often have a profound effect on our ways of working. it is up to us to find these ways and to make them work for us. We live in an exciting time for technology and we would be fools not to take advantage of the latest developments whenever they become available to us to make us even more productive.

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Carl Pullein is a personal development and productivity specialist, presenter and author of Working With Todoist: The Book as well as Your Digital Life, a book about using your technology to achieve greater productivity. Carl works with clients all over the world to help them focus on the things that are important to them and to become more successful, productive and creative.

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