The Notification Center, included in iOS 5 is really amazing. I know it's a direct copy of Android's notifications bar, but hey, the entire mobile world copied the stuff Apple invented, so who are we to judge Apple for copying a few ideas here and there…
Anyways, I really like the Notification Center. It's clean, elegant, and increases productivity, If you use it wisely, that is.
Here are 5 simple ways to boost your productivity with the new Notification Center (without jailbreaking your iPhone/iPad!):
The tips below will let you do more with your Notification Center, get information in a push kind of fashion, without opening the relevant apps.
Tip #1: Manually manage the order of the apps in the notification center
With a lot of apps adding items to the notifications center (facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, and more) it's kind of hard to find items. I recommend using the Notification Center settings to set the order to "manually" and then sort the list according to your priorities. Minimize the number of apps you see in the Notifications Center so that only the important ones are there.
Weather and stocks should probably be placed on top (mainly due to design considerations). Place the calendar on the top area so you can easily see your next assignment, even if it starts within a few hours.
Remove emails, because the list might just become endless, and also because most of us are holding their email app in the dockable area anyhow which makes it very accessible (see next item for that one).
Tip #2: More is less, remove redundant items
Here's a rule that I recently came up with:
If you already have it on your lock-screen, take it away from your Notification Bar.
For me this rule works well with text messages and emails. I get 200 emails a day. The email app is constantly open on my iPhone. In addition, I see incoming mails, and text messages in my lock-screen. Adding emails to the Notification Center makes no sense.
So, remove redundant (or low priority) stuff, but also remove highest priority stuff, as you are probably accessing it from the lock-screen or the fixed shortcuts anyhow.
Tip #3: Download BoardMemo – the closest thing to a simple paper note
Sometimes you just need to take a short note. Papers are still the fastest way, since unlocking the phone, going to the right app, opening it, and creating a new note – are all too many clicks for this simple activity.
BoardMemo is a far-too-simple note taking app which doesn't try to replace other notes apps. It does things a bit differently: you can place the note in the Notification Center.
Sure, it's not fancy, there are no text styles, there are no bullets.
It cannot replace your todo/tasks app, but it can definitely become the fastest way to write short notes without having to locate the right app for that.
Install BoardMemo (it's free!), place it on the top area of your Notification Center (just between the weather/stocks and the calendar area) and you are al set.
Tip #4: Download apps that push notifications to your Notification Center
There are many interesting apps that use the Notification Center. One of them is Happy B'Day!. It sends a push notification message once a day with the names of the friends and contacts that have a birthday that day.
It's a nice app that saves the need to hold all the birthdays in your calendar or emails apps which typically get very busy.
Tip #5: Place your important RSS feeds in your lock-sreen
Few months ago I wrote about some nice apps that will push RSS feeds to the mobile client without having to open a dedicated tool for that purposes.
Heaving a push means you don't need to look for data, the data is looking for you. It cannot be a replacement to a good RSS Reader, but it can help you focus on specific items if needed.
There are tons of additional tools to improve your Notification Center – but most of them require you to jailbreak your iPhone. If you don't mind doing so – here's an extensive list of widgets designed to boost your productivity when using the Notification Center.
In addition, based on the fact Apple recently hired the guy who created the concepts below (in the video) – it seems like we can expect more great Notification Center stuff to arrive with the next iOS updates.
Enjoy the video: