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6 Tips for Boosting Your Productivity With Your Smartphone

Happy Woman with SmartphoneIf you’re any­thing like me, it’s hard to remem­ber a time that I checked my email on my per­sonal com­puter at des­ig­nated times at my home or at the office. The smart­phone has made me much more pro­duc­tive, allow­ing me to answer email while wait­ing at the cof­fee shop, salon, doc­tor, child’s lessons, or restau­rant — giv­ing me more time to sched­ule things I need and want to do like work­outs, chores, and fam­ily time. Often times, by the time I’m at the office, my inbox is at zero, which allows me to focus on get­ting things done. More and more, I’ve embraced this free­dom to get things done on my own sched­ule — my way.

What? You Don’t Have a Smartphone?

It’s amaz­ing how every­one is embrac­ing smart­phones and tablets. Accord­ing to Pew Research, 46% of all Amer­i­can adults use smart­phones. Also, after the Sep­tem­ber 12 announce­ment of the iPhone 5, Apple announced that they sold two mil­lion iPhone 5 mod­els in the first 24 hours of pre-orders. This is more than twice the pre­vi­ous record from 2011. Fur­ther­more, accord­ing to research by Frank N. Magid and Asso­ciates, nearly 50 per­cent of the U.S. online pop­u­la­tion has down­loaded an app.

If you’re one of the 44% of adults who hasn’t pur­chased a smart­phone yet, this post might prompt you to make a change. Clearly, more and more peo­ple are adopt­ing smart­phones and tablets to help them get things done on the go. And if you’re some­one who doesn’t work at the tra­di­tional office, the abil­ity to get things done while mobile — such as bring­ing your own device to your kids’ school, a friends’ play­date, or to a co-working space is invaluable.

There’s some con­tro­versy about whether or not your smart­phone use makes you more or less pro­duc­tive. Many believe that down­time is good for your cre­ative self, and that the smart­phone blurs the lines between your work and per­sonal life. But using your device in a “smart” way can help you be more pro­duc­tive. The fol­low­ing ideas and tips are meant to help you use your device in a smart way — main­tain­ing a healthy bal­ance between per­sonal time and the workplace.

1. Be smart about email

Check­ing email while you’re wait­ing for an oil change, while you’re at your child’s gym­nas­tics class, or while in line at the cof­fee shop is a great way to opti­mize your time. How­ever, keep it bal­anced. Don’t check email 24 hours a day, but respond within an accept­able length of time.

If email is your pri­mary way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing at your com­pany, it’s not nec­es­sary to be noti­fied each time a new email is deliv­ered — silence your email noti­fi­ca­tions and dis­able push noti­fi­ca­tions. Be con­sis­tent with the peo­ple you com­mu­ni­cate with — for exam­ple, if you’re con­sis­tent in answer­ing email within eight hours, your employ­ees, man­agers, and peers will expect a response within this length of time. Set­ting a prece­dent of an imme­di­ate response can suck your pro­duc­tiv­ity. Unless you’re required to answer each email imme­di­ately due to your job func­tion, email can be answered when it works for you and your business.

2. Man­age your projects, tasks, and to-do lists

The Apple App Store includes an entire cat­e­gory of pro­duc­tiv­ity apps. It’s a broad cat­e­gory, but gen­er­ally apps in this cat­e­gory help users be more pro­duc­tive or work in-sync with pro­duc­tiv­ity ser­vices and soft­ware. Within this cat­e­gory, you can find mobile apps and soft­ware to help you man­age your time. For exam­ple, an App such as Life­Topix™ man­ages your cal­en­dars, to-dos, projects, notes, files, shop­ping, peo­ple, assets, finances, events, travel, health, activ­i­ties and more. Apps to man­age your life help you to get orga­nized, which allows you spend your time doing the things you really want to do.

3. Boost your cre­ativ­ity and pro­duc­tiv­ity with voice notes

When a great idea, quote, joke, or to-do pops into your head, you can imme­di­ately record it via your voice notes. Or, per­haps you’re in a meet­ing with a cus­tomer and you want to remem­ber an impor­tant item. It’s not always con­ve­nient to type it out or pull out a note­book, but it’s incred­i­bly easy to record a voice note. It also makes you look cool and tech savvy.

4. Record and store impor­tant documents

When you need to have access to an impor­tant doc­u­ment, it’s much eas­ier to take a photo with your smart­phone than it is to scan it on your PC. You can also eas­ily and seam­lessly store the photo by using a ser­vice such as Drop­box. With Drop­box, you can sim­ply place a folder on your com­puter, copy any file into that folder — and it becomes avail­able on other com­put­ers and Android, Black­Berry, and iOS apps. The iPhone and iPod touch ver­sion of the Drop­box app allows you to upload any videos or pho­tos taken from your device or synced to your gallery. Drop­box is a great way to share and save pho­tos and other docs.

5. Take advan­tage of free HD mobile video conferencing

FaceTime, courtesy of Apple, Inc.

Face­Time, cour­tesy of Apple, Inc.

From expe­ri­ence we know that face-to-face com­mu­ni­ca­tion is the most valu­able method of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but it’s not always pos­si­ble due to loca­tion or eco­nomic con­straints. When not com­mu­ni­cat­ing face to face, you can miss non-verbal cues and ulti­mately end up wast­ing valu­able time because of mis­com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Luck­ily, mobile video con­fer­enc­ing is eas­ier than ever before, which allows you to com­mu­ni­cate face to face via your smart­phone or tablet. Unlike tra­di­tional, expen­sive, video con­fer­enc­ing and telep­res­ence options — Face­Time, Skype, and Google Plus (Hang­outs) pro­vide free and low cost options for video con­fer­enc­ing via mobile-to-mobile and PC-to-mobile. And now with the advance­ments in tech­nol­ogy, video con­fer­enc­ing on your mobile device is a qual­ity expe­ri­ence. Accord­ing to a recent arti­cle from Telep­res­ence Options, iPhone 5 with 720p Face­Time Cam­era May Bump Mobile Video Growth, “for the first time, iPhone users can use their mobile VC apps to attend meet­ings on an even level with the other 720p meet­ing par­tic­i­pants. Hook the iPhone to a medium sized dis­play and you have an instant 720p VC endpoint.”

6. Save time and money with bar­code and QR code scanners

Accord­ing to the Rochester Insti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy, “Sixty-two per­cent of moms sur­veyed have a bar­code scan­ner app on their mobile device to help them find deals (29 per­cent more than the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion).” Bar­code and QR code read­ers can save time and money. You can scan the bar­code of most prod­ucts with your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and then apps such as Red­Laser search the Inter­net for the best price — no more dri­ving from store to store to find the best price.

What are your thoughts? Does your smart­phone make you more or less pro­duc­tive? What are the apps and tips that you use to boost your pro­duc­tiv­ity? We wel­come your thoughts and tips.


  1. Daza
    Oct 30, 2012

    I have to admit that tak­ing advan­tage of the new tech­nol­ogy nowa­days would most likely make every­thing eas­ier and faster. You don’t nec­es­sar­ily have to use a smart­phone (since I don’t have one) to be able to see your­self as pro­duc­tive. Using a sim­ple app on pro­duc­tiv­ity might also do the trick.
    If I could add another advice to be able to be pro­duc­tive; you should love what you do and del­e­gate every­thing else. Because no mat­ter how you like week­ends, your time wouldn’t be that slow on a Fri­day after­noon if you love your job because you’d be inspired and you’d always find some­thing to do to make your­self bet­ter at work.

  2. Johan Botha
    Oct 05, 2012

    Nice post Mar­i­lyn Rogers. We all can change our life with the smart­phone and by using its excel­lent appli­ca­tion like Peer pres­sure, pocket and the oth­ers. I also write about it in You can know what not.

  3. Churchill
    Sep 23, 2012

    Great post. I totally agree that a smart­phone can boost pro­duc­tiv­ity. Less than a year ago I bought myself one and my life has com­pletely changed. A few appli­ca­tions such as Ever­note, Peer pres­sure, pocket,, Lift and Mind­meis­ter have helped me to become more pro­duc­tive and con­sis­tent. I even started writ­ing a blog about pro­duc­tiv­ity enhanc­ing appli­ca­tions. As I wrote in my blog arti­cle ( my smart­phone is like a sec­ond brain that I keep in my pocket.

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