Make Your Smartphone More Productive


Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG /

Your smartphone is only as useful as you make it. Whether you use the core applications or have downloaded paid apps from the application store, the tricky part is that you actually have to set them up and pay attention to them in order to make them work for you. Just as the user must set an alarm time for an alarm to go off, the user must also add in appointments, take down addresses, and set reminders. While it might sound like a simple transition, we all know that building a habit can be a tough road.

Trust Issues
In this day and age, many users do not trust technology. We inherently believe that something at some point will go wrong. We’ve been burned with everything from viruses that wipe our hard drive to alarm clocks that for some reason, didn’t go off. Many on the workforce today grew up blowing into game cartridges since grammar school and we’re supposed to believe that technology will just work flawlessly 100% of the time? What if we oversleep or forget about a meeting? What if we lose our device? The trick isn’t to think of it as the dawn of our Robot Overlords, but to begin to use the device to remember things you will most likely remember on your own or wouldn’t normally bother to. Make it work for you.

Those Core Apps are Actually Useful
Every phone comes with pre-installed applications. Many of these are quite useful and are likely used in some capacity every day. Generally, though, they may not be used to their full potential. We may use the Phone app to make calls and the Messaging app to send texts, but what about using the Calendar app to remember birthdays, anniversaries, and appointments? Implementing the calendar into your organizational system means that there is no longer a need to use your brain’s memory bank for an upcoming event. Think of it as a way to reduce the workload of the brain so that it can focus on more important tasks.

Start with Intention
Every habit starts with intention. Want to save money? We all know that it doesn’t just happen. When we set the intention, it will lead to downloading a budget application which, when actually used, will help to train the brain into thinking on a budget. Want to stay in better touch with people? Days and weeks may fly by, but the phone won’t forget to remind you to call an old colleague to catch up. Although, there again, you have to tell your phone to remind you. While technology has come a long way and is much more reliable, it still requires some human intervention.

Image courtesy of samuiblue /

Image courtesy of samuiblue /

Start Small
Birthdays are the perfect place to start. For the most part, we all remember the birthdays of our parents, our siblings, our significant other, and maybe even a few of our best friends. When do we remember, though? Depending on how busy we are, it may only be the day before or the day of, but using the calendar, we can set an alert a week before in order to remind us to search for a gift or mail a card.  Maintenance appointments (medical, auto, etc.) are another great starting point. A dentist appointment set six months in advance? Add it into your calendar on the moment you set the appointment and you won’t double-book the time. Starting with a few simple tasks will help you to autopilot those recurring and future events while helping you to gain trust and appreciation of the system.

Progress, Not Perfection
It’s important to manage your expectations for this transition. As much as we like to think we’ll conquer three different applications in a week, there are other aspects of our lives that will necessitate more of our energy. Take it one step at a time by selecting a single application to work more closely with and be selective with that application. Everyone’s brain works a little differently which means that the same To Do List application that worked really well for one person may not work as well for you. Do the research, download several applications, and take them for a spin. You may find yourself more inclined to use one application over another. Tip: Look for applications that can sync across numerous devices (phone, tablet, desktop) as this will make it easier to access the application more regularly.

Finally, Have Fun With It
While some applications are more cut and dry, other applications make the organizational process a little bit more exciting. The daily habit builder application, Lift, is a community based app in which you make connections with people who have the same goals which allows for the sharing of ideas for success. Companies like Mindbloom focus on making productivity applications that are games. With a little research, you’ll find a productivity app that enhances your life by working with your learning style and lifestyle.