Productivity 101: Launch Actions, not Apps: Launch Center Pro

Posted by Moe with 3 Comments


I am a productivity nut! I basically live and die on GTD (Getting Things Done) together with my calendar and Omnifocus (my productivity app of choice). It’s the only way I can keep control of my busy life. My biggest challenge was trying to use my iPhone for more than playing Angry Birds and sharing photos via Instagram.

“Do or Do Not, There is No Try” — Jedi Master Yoda

One of the foundations of productivity is getting organized based on actions (doing). If I put “milk” in my to-do list, I look at it, and even though I know I have to pick up milk, there is no “action” that tells my brain “DO”. It always helps to associate a task with a verb.

This is no different when we use our iPhones to get things done. Today, we have dozens if not hundreds of apps in multiple home screens. If we want to write an email, we have to tap on email, wait for it to load and then choose your inbox and start the email. We do the same with notes, todo lists, contacts lists and other tasks. It works, but takes too many taps.

This is why I approach my iPhone based on actions instead of just launching apps. Unfortunately, there is no way of doing this by default on iOS. Thankfully this is where an app like Launch Center Pro comes to the rescue.

Launch Center Pro is an app that helps you change the way you approach your iPhone. Instead of launching apps, you launch actions. The app creates quick shortcuts to all the things that you normally do with your iPhone.

I have setup the following actions (which I use very often):

  • Launch New Task (Omnifocus)
  • Create New Email (Sparrow)
  • Draft New Note (Simplenote)
  • Tweet (iOS default)
  • New Journal Entry (Day One)
  • Contact XYZ (contacts)

Here are some screens:

Launch Center Pro Home setup
Contacts Group
Edit launch screen
Omnifocus Actions
Phone calls group
Call Matt Action

If you read carefully you can tell these are actions. I don’t have to worry about looking for the app in pages of apps that live on my iPhone. I just tap the action and type away. Simple!

For contacts, I created a “contacts” group and added the numbers of people I usually call (my wife, good friends and Ninja sensei (can’t forget him)). The great thing about this feature is that you tap and hold the contacts action and without letting go, drag your finger to the person you wish to call. Very neat feature.

You can customize many different options with different apps. You can also customize actions based on app URL’s. A feature that is a bit geeky for most people, but the option is there.

As you can tell, I really love this app. So much in fact, that it has won a spot on my iPhone dock.

The app does demand a change of the way you approach your iPhone so there is a bit of a learning curve. You just have to learn to launch actions, not apps. Once you get the hang of it, it’s perfect productivity heaven.

P.S. One of the actions is turning your iPhone into a flashlight (using the camera flash). I’ve used this many times when I shut off the lights to go to sleep and walk to my bedroom without stepping on my son’s katana blade and nun-chucks.

If you use Launch Center Pro, I would love to see how you have set up your actions. Feel free to share them in the comments below.

If you have a different approach to productivity in your iPhone, let me know what apps you use and how you tame the beast that is life.

So… what are you waiting for? Get your iPhone and go out there and be productive!


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Moe (Beta Christian) is a New Yorker who enjoys a fine cup of coffee, his Bible and his sexy black iPhone 4 and "new" iPad. He can be reached via the Twitter link below.

3 responses to Productivity 101: Launch Actions, not Apps: Launch Center Pro

  1. Alright fine. You’ve convinced me. iTunes store here I come.

    • I honestly installed it and removed it a day or two later. Not something I would use in the long run, although it could be a great tool to clean up your home screen.

      • I think the issue is training yourself to use your iPhone differently. Once that’s done, it can be a very powerful tool. Almost like Alfred for the Mac.

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