Making The Most Of Your Smartphone

Maybe you don’t have a smartphone. If not, this is your day off. Go out and have a beer or two and ruminate on the simple, unencumbered life you’ve chosen.

For the rest of us, put the phone down for a minute and take a look at this article.  A smartphone is a powerful device for productivity – and equally as powerful a device of distraction. If you’re anything like me, you find it hard to ignore the blinking notifications, the buzzing ringtones, and the gleaming new apps. Nothing derails a conversation or a meeting faster than a wayward phone, even if the owner quickly silences it – and many times people actually pick up or respond! And who hasn’t had to suffer through the guy who thinks a quick conversation in the middle of a crowded movie theatre is no big deal?

My advice: don’t think of your phone as a device for getting in contact with you. Think of your phone as a device for you to interact with the world around you, at the appropriate times. Allocate yourself time to make use of your phone that suits your schedule without dominating it; say, five minutes out of every hour, or one hour in the morning and another at night. The rest of the time, have it turned off or set to silent.

Now, when you are using your smartphone is the time to take advantage of all those awesome new apps that exist. Everybody has their favourites, but there are a couple that are simply invaluable. Go ahead and add these to your phone the very next time you’re allowing yourself to use it.

1) CamScanner/Scan2PDF – these apps allow you to turn your phone’s camera into a scanner, quickly converting real-world documents to a digital PDF format for easy sharing. Never deal with a finicky scanner again!

2) TextPLUS – Texting is great, and it’s become easier than ever to text multiple people at once, but the resulting responses are a confusing mess of fresh conversations and responses. Turn your multi-text conversation into a proper conference with TextPLUS, allowing you to have a “group chat” via text messaging quickly and painlessly.

3) Locale – Want to make sure your phone doesn’t ring midway through your workday and interrupt a meeting, but also ensure that you don’t forget to turn it back on afterwards when your kids need to be picked up from soccer practice? Locale knows where you are and arranges your phone settings to match, keeping you silent at work and ready to ring on the way home.

4) Trello – the premier project management software syncs directly with your phone through its app, enabling you to keep tabs on your ongoing projects quickly and easily. I am still stunned that this software is free.
Doubtless you’ll have found plenty of your own indispensable apps in your time as a smartphone user, and more are unveiled every day. Keep up to date on what’s out there, and if you’ve got a need that hasn’t been met yet, give it some time. No doubt it’s being addressed. Just remember that the most important productivity tool is your attention, so put that where it best belongs – on your work.

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