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How to Create “To Do” Lists that Actually Get Done


Get rid of traditional “to-do” lists…

For those of you on our weekly email list, you know I’ve dubbed this month, Get Sh*t Done month. For those just tuning in, welcome to the party! My goal is to give you the strategies and systems I’ve found the most helpful so you can build your own plan. Think of this information as a mix-and-match assortment.

But “GSD” month isn’t just about getting more done, it’s actually about creating and implementing a custom-tailored plan for you to have your most productive and successful year yet. Notice the emphasis on “plan.” These aren’t just tips and tricks to throw into your schedule, they’re actionable lessons you need to sit down, write out, and execute. The former part being the hardest of all because we all know bad habits die hard, and good habits grow slow.

We recently talked about how I schedule my day based on a “chunking” method to create the path of least resistance. Resistance = the distractions of every day life. Technology has become a blessing and curse to our productivity. It’s given us some incredible tools to be more organized and efficient, but has also given us the attention span of a fish when it’s time to check those tasks off our list.

Have you ever taken the time to see how many times you are interrupted during a task or how many times your attention gets pulled to something else? It’s an eye-opening experience that I recommend you all try. For one day, after you’ve setup your “to-do’s” and tasks, monitor how many times you check Facebook, answer your cell phone, read an article, check email, or accidentally start working on another task before finishing your last.

You might say: “But someone from work called me so that doesn’t count!” or “I was reading an article on marketing so it actually is beneficial.” But in reality, most interruptions or distractions are NOT urgent. With hyper-access to everyone at all times, we are trained to respond immediately. This kills momentum.

It’s one thing to take a break every hour or two, it’s another to constantly break for whoever is pulling on your shirt – whether that’s a co-worker or a click-bait headline (Here’s What Happened When Corgi Puppies Meet a Baby Tiger! – I know you wanted that to be an article link, I’m sorry.).

You can try turning off your phone, signing-up for a social media blocker, or checking email during designated times like we talked about in our last blog, but what I’ve found most useful in eliminating the pull of distractions is being extremely clear on what your missions are for the day. It’s not just about writing down what you want to get accomplished, it’s about visualizing these tasks, and organizing them in a simple, strategic manner so all you have to do is look at your agenda and re-focus on your mission because you eliminated alternatives. Let me show you…

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7 Steps to Extreme Productivity Planning

Mr. Productivity in action...

Mr. Productivity in action…

Every year one of the top New Year’s resolutions is to be more productive. While it’s truly a great resolution, the road to extreme productivity is bumpy, winding, and with constant detours. Everyone starts out their year getting so much done, hitting the gym every day, turning in projects early, creativity at an all time high…and within a month it all falls back into your old routine.

Why isn’t anyone actually making productivity stick?! And if we can’t be productive…what hope do our other goals have?

The truth is, this is a struggle that pretty much everyone encounters - and that many of us battle constantly. We end up frustrated, or even worse, we try to make up for the poor production by grinding out extra hours, and ultimately sacrificing even more of the most precious resource we have: time.

Yup – it’s all too true for so many of us – and the fact is, once time is gone, you can’t get it back.

Ultimately, we’re all seeking total time freedom – the means to do whatever we want with our time – which is why, as entrepreneurs, we try to create a business that provides that financial and time freedom in the first place.

But it takes hard work to get to a point where you have both of those things. This doesn’t mean however, that you have to grind out weeks or months of 18 hour workdays and lose out on life in the process. You can have both, now.

The bad news: You will always have to work on your productivity (it’s part of working on your systems and improving yourself every year).

The good news: Once you get a system down, this is your foundation to build upon and takes a whole lot less work from here on out to keep improving yourself.

Before we go into the 7 steps for extreme productivity, the pre-step to productivity scheduling is narrowing down your goals. What do you want to accomplish this week? This month? This year? Then create a list of actionable steps that lead you to each goal.

For example, say you want to run a marathon in September. One action step might be to run 3 miles every day for 3 weeks. The next action step might be to run farther or increase pace. Basically, you want each goal to have 4-5 action steps to it.

Once you’ve figured out what you need to do to accomplish your goals – it’s time to implement these 7 powerful methods that have proven successful for many (myself included):

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5 Factors to Sell Your App Company for the Highest Offer

sell app company

I’m a huge advocate of planning. Whether for your personal life or your business, you need to have a vision for 3 months, 6 months, and even 2+ years down the road. Not only is this beneficial to your moral and motivation, it’s an important step for handling all the possible curve balls life throws at you.

For example, I never built my first app business thinking I was going to sell it. Let alone go on to sell two more! And since I hadn’t planned for the possibilities, I had a HUGE mess to deal with when I realized that selling my app business was a great option for me – and extremely lucrative!

Funny (more like cringe-worthy) thing is even though I sold my app company for a lot of money, I completely missed out on additional revenue because I hadn’t set up my businesses as thoroughly as a buyer would want.

So now the FIRST thing I tell people when they want to build their own app empires - build your business with the end in mind

No, I don’t mean the end of the world and I definitely don’t mean the end of your app career. I mean with the goal of selling your app company or portfolio even if you don’t plan on selling your app business.

There’s a lot more that goes into appealing to buyers than having great revenue or downloads. Buyers have certain qualifications and systems they look for in app portfolios, and if your company is lacking these elements, its value drops. Granted, the app market is extremely HOT right now for acquisitions so most people are able to sell their companies but do you want to sell it for a couple thousand or hundreds of thousands? I think we can all agree the latter sounds pretty amazing.

While there’s a lot to consider when selling your app business, I asked Eric Owens, my friend and app lawyer who helped me sell my own companies, to list out the 5 MOST important factors you should keep in mind to get the highest offer for your apps:

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Step-by-Step ASO – Get more downloads QUICKLY and CONSISTENTLY

What? Me, a freak?

What? Me, a freak?

Optimizing your apps is another way to talk about my favorite phrase, “tweak like a freak.” You won’t get millions of downloads upon launch (but then there’s those crazy stories of getting acquired in 30 days), which is why the most important time for your apps are the 1 – 3 months after launch. This is when you’ll be collecting the most data which will provide you with the best intel to tweak like a professional freak.

While apps may be small, there are a ton of little changes you can make to optimize your app in order to increase download and retention rate. Front-end changes such as screenshots, in-app graphics, and icons are critical, but also a little easier concept for people to grasp because they can see what they need to work on.

An equally important but more “mysterious” form of optimization is the always dreaded ASO (App Store Optimization). People really hate ASO, and I don’t blame them. Apple likes to frequently change its algorithm, so what worked last month, may not optimize your app the next month. This is the game we are all constantly playing, but a game worthy of our attention.

A common mistake I see people make is when they see their downloads dropping, they stop putting effort into optimizing. This will kill your business, period.

Today, I’ve brought in a special guest to unleash some of the questions most people have with ASO.

AE member, Justin Malik, has written an easy-to-follow, don’t-even-think-about-it keyword optimization game plan that you can follow step-by-step to make your ASO efforts easier.

Justin Mailk, MBA, left his full-time job to pursue app development in April 2013 and since has launched over 60 apps in the App Store and acquired nearly 750,000 downloads. (You may remember him from his AE success story here.) When not developing apps, he is blogging about the process on and binge-watching Netflix. (Aren’t we all?)

Enter Justin

ASO (App Store Optimization) is a gigantic topic fueled by debate, but I’m going to do my best to cut through the speculation and give you a step-by-step process of how to get downloads consistently and increase those downloads over time with keywords. When my partner and I first started developing apps in 2012, we had no clue what we were doing, and we picked keywords that just made sense to us. However, over time, we’ve come to realize the importance of it, especially as the number of apps entering the App Store continues to increase.

Our efforts have paid off; since we’ve started paying more attention to ASO, our metrics have improved. We’re quickly approaching a million downloads across our apps, and we’re seeing twice the retention as we target more appropriate keywords. In terms of revenue, an app that would normally make $10 a day for about 2 weeks and then die off will now make us over $10 per day for the life of the app. This change has helped us to create the profitable app business we’ve always wanted, and one that brings in six-figure yearly revenues. Doing our ASO homework has made all the difference, and I’m going to share with you exactly what we’ve learned along the way.

With respect to Android developers, I’m going to be focusing on the iOS App Store because first, it’s what I know best, and second, most people that enter the world of apps usually start with, or at least have some apps developed for, iOS. There is also a great deal of cross-over with the app stores.

This post is not comprehensive (the topic of ASO could easily fill a textbook), and I’m focusing on Keyword Optimization because that tends to be what we get the most questions about. Don’t get me wrong—icon, screen shots, and description are incredibly important in ASO—but I find keywords to be a little less straightforward and a bit more interesting. Some people argue that you shouldn’t spend too much time on keywords and that they get a good amount of downloads by spending only 10 minutes on it, but I would argue that their metrics would improve if they employed some ASO tactics.

If you’re an entrepreneur and not interested in developing apps, you should still listen up. You can use this information to help you research ad keywords for any business, or this can help improve SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your startup’s website. Many of the principles of ASO cross over to the world-wide web.

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8 Tips for App Success (from 5+ years of trial & error!)

app success
The Apps Market is growing faster than ever and with so much competition, it’s getting even harder to find app success. Recent research shows that over 90% of mobile apps are abandoned within a year. Only a select few will make it through to become indispensable to a number of users – and even fewer will become global sensations.

So where’s the disconnect? It’s amazing how often we see developers overlooking essentials. We see super technical developers not understand the concept of marketing or promotion, or we see market-minded entrepreneurs ignoring great UX/UI basics.

The good news is there’s SO much free information out there now, so you don’t have to be left in the dark or launch your app with a half-assed plan.

In fact, we recently read a super extensive guide from our friends at They’ve been in business since 2009, and have worked with a variety of developers and entrepreneurs, which has helped them acquire a lot of “dos” and “don’ts” over the years.

Their newly released (and free) advanced guide to making your apps successful is for independent app developers and startups, and we wanted to share it with you. The guide includes tips that Apadmi has learned through creating apps for clients such as the BBC and the Guardian. It contains over 200 tips and tactics on creating, marketing and gaining users for your app, even one with a small budget.

Since their guide is super extensive, we invited them to share their top 8 best pieces of advice for our community:

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3 Tips to Be a Hot Shot UI/UX Expert

App Design
— This is a guest post by Cliff Viegas, owner of Kerofrog, a mobile app development company dedicated to quality iOS apps and design. –
Did you know that Apple keeps track of user retention? Also known as the amount of times a user uses your app, and how often they come back. And of course, the longer they are using your app, the more likely the chance they will buy something or share the app with their friends.

Which is why the User Interface (UI) and Experience (UX) are so critical.

What I mean by this is creating an experience that is pleasurable, easy and makes sense, and will have users coming back for more.

But I’m not a designer, I don’t know anything about UI or UX!?”

The good news is you don’t have to become an expert in app design, but having a base understanding of what makes good UI will make you and your team move much faster and create better apps:

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