I own a smartphone. You probably own a smartphone. Almost everyone I know (except for that one guy who is permanently stuck in the middle ages) owns a smartphone.
In fact, as of April 2015, the Pew Research Center reported that two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone.
According to a 2012 poll conducted by the analytics and business consulting company Gallup, 58% of adults between 18 and 29 self-reported feeling that they feel they are spending too much time using their smartphone or the internet. So, while I’m older than the adults in this study (my age bracket reports 30% of us believe we are on our phones too often), I’m certainly not alone in wasting time on these “useful tools.”
On the other end of the spectrum, Pew Research Center also found that smartphones provide many Americans with their only form of high speed internet access and there is a benefit of having high speed internet in your pocket.
As of 2014, 62% of smartphone owners have used their phones to get information about a health condition, 44-43% have looked up info about a job or a place to live, and 18% have submitted a job application via their smartphone.”
I want to encourage you to use your smartphone’s capabilities to your advantage with my…
Five Time Saving Tips For Smartphone Users
- Location, Location, Location!
Many smartphone apps use location services, tracking your cell phone even while you’re not actively using the app. For some, this might be creepy. For me, it’s a dream come true and a genuine time saver. I use Alarmed, available for both iPhone and Android users.
This app is a memory booster. I’ve plugged the addresses of my home, grocery store, hardware store and local drugstore, and any time I come in close proximity to the location of the store, a reminder pops up telling me to buy this or that. Also, I can actively remind myself of tasks to do when I get home. Grocery and to-do lists are only handy if you have them with you and this app allows you to carry them in your handy device that you wouldn’t leave home without.
While the location services aren’t included with the free version of the app, the upgrade was only $6.99 and worth every penny.
- Pictures as Notes
How many times have you found yourself without a pen or paper when you need to take a note? Or you’ve taken down information and you want to get it to someone fast… Take a picture and text it! I’m an organization freak and require receipts from my family to keep the books straight. Instead of forgetting, I’ve trained them to take a picture–of the gas pump, of the check they wrote, of something I need to buy at the store or for anything for which I need reminding. You can also use the built-in Notes app on your phone, take notes and text or email them from there. Kind of genius, I think.
- Bottlenecked Traffic in Red
GPS and Maps aren’t just for getting directions to unknown destinations anymore. Did you know that if you open most Maps apps (say that four times fast!) and look at the roads you plan to travel, like the traffic segment on the news, any congested area will show in red. When you’re getting ready to leave work and need to know the best way to get home, while encountering the least amount of traffic, check the map!
- Multi-person Texting
I asked a friend for her favorite time-saving tip and she said multi-person texting. While you can do the same with emails, a lot of folks tend to use the text feature with a distribution list of sorts. Need to get a quick message off to your dance team or your family? Text them. Do you need to let the boys know you’re on your way home from the store and to be ready to help you in with the groceries? (I do this all the time) Shoot them both a text at once.
- Shared Calendars
Do you ever wish your significant other would stop double booking you or does it bug you that the kids don’t look at the family calendar? Put it on the smartphone and share it with everyone. My husband and I recently started doing this and it has made a significant difference in our time management. Instead of asking if we have anything going on on this day or
that day, he can just check the calendar himself. Many schools and organizations have a google calendar that you can add to your personal calendar on your phone. I’ve added my son’s school calendar as well as his extracurricular activity calendar to my phone. Sharing it all with my husband has made all the difference.
If you have so many calendars that you don’t know what to do, Burbio is a great place to start. Mind Key uses the application to share our New York/New Jersey Metro Calendar and we love it! The calendar app syncs with your phone. It allows you to quickly and easily add calendars from a wide array of organizations–from local schools all the way to libraries and yoga studios–to your Burbio calendar, which can then be synced with your smartphone calendar app.
Do you still find yourself super distracted and unorganized and need a more tailored plan to help keep you on the path to success? I’d be glad to help! If you didn’t see the great write up by Barbara Steingas on my Organizational Consultation Services, check them out here. And contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re ready for a breath of freshly organized air!