Fruitless Search for the Perfect App

I have a problem.

I am on an endless search for the next perfect app. Currently, on my iPhone, I have 266 apps, which is down a lot since I purposefully cleaned up a lot of apps I never used a few months ago. Though it is up from 256 apps recently in this post. I know it used to be well over 300 apps, which is just outrageous.

I love trying new apps!

But, I have been trying to turn over a new leaf, courtesy of Merlin Mann. He shared a few thoughts in a recent podcast with Brett Terpstra (the maker of the two apps I am using to write this right now nvALT and Marked 2). To paraphrase Merlin, what is the purpose of the change and what are you trying to do? I am asking myself these questions with each app I am downloading and trying out. Basically, is it worth it to switch or invest the time to use it well? If not, don’t rock the boat and switch unnecessarily.

I love downloading a new to-do list or note taking app like there is no tomorrow but, so far, I have never used any of the to their fullest extent. I see a cool new feature in a new app, despite never using half the features in the previous 10 versions that I have used. This constant search for the next best widget, despite never using each widget, I found has been bothering me more and more lately.

I shared in a previous post that I am trying to moderate my apps to some extent and use test files for a lot of things. I am trying to do my writing, note taking, thoughts etc in nvAlt and then deciding what other app it should go to.

For instance, this post started as a file created in nvAlt, with the assumption that it would be a blog post, and then after a few paragraphs I opened Marked 2 to see how it was formatting as I wrote it and added things such as links and other text features.

I have also started trying to do the same thing on my phone. I have started using Drafts 5 as the place I start almost all of my text. If I have thoughts, an email or iMessage to draft, a post to start writing, or notes to take I will open Drafts. I even am trying to remember to use it to start a google search.

Knowing where I start each of my thoughts has allowed me to be more confident when I sit down to do something. If I had an idea that I wanted to write about I wasn't sure what to do before. Do I open Squarespace and type out a blog in their editor? Maybe put it in Notes, Pages, or Word? And the same thing on my phone with Evernote, Notes, Simplenote, Bear, Editorial etc.

It can just be overwhelming.

Now I have a flow of procedure that most everything starts from. Drafts on phone and nvAlt on the computer. Then it can be exported to wherever I need it afterwards. And I can easily change my mind if something that starts as a simple text message, then makes more sense as an email, and ends as a blog post.

I may not end up with less apps on my phone, but the amount is much less overwhelming because I don't have to worry about the app overload and what I am going to do.

And I am working on using a few apps more to their fullest extent, such as OmniFocus, Instapaper, and Bear.

But, we will see how long it is before I am over 300 apps on my phone again.