Smartphones are getting smarter and you know what they say, with great power comes great responsibility. Smartphones have the ability to be incredible distractions but also can be harnessed to extend your capabilities. They are powerful tools and like all powerful tools, training is required to use them responsibly and to your greatest benefit. We recently gave a talk at the Comox Military Family Resouce Center on the topic and decided to write down the lecture to benefit all our customers. With a bit of training, you can change your time wasting liability (albeit a fun one) into your greatest ally in the fight against procrastination. Speaking of which, let’s dive in.

GPS Tracker (Android) or Life 360 (Apple)

When I was young (in the 80’s, by the way) we were let out to play after school right up until dinner where my Mum would clang the dinner bell and my brother and I would meander back in to eat. Those were the days when you made plans and stuck to them as often you could not contact people last minute to change them.

Nowadays the landscape has changed, as now, many children have devices of their own and the clanging of the dinner bell would be replaced with a phone call. People expect to have much more up to date information and this includes the whereabouts of their children.

For parents looking to keep tabs on their children, a draconian but effective solution is to install a program called GPS Tracker (Android) or Life 360 (Apple). This app will send you a message when your child arrives at school or returns home, can show you a history of where they have been, and gives you the ability to see the battery life on your child’s device. Not for everyone but certainly useful to some!

 

Time tracking Apps – Inactivity reminders, Quality Time etc.

Generally speaking, everyone will underestimate the time they spend daily on this distractions and having the tools to get past how we feel about things, and down to the actual facts are important!

There is a range of tools and applications to help us keep track of our time. For analytics and problem solving on PC, Rescue Time is a valuable program that tracks your computer usage during the workday. It will un-apologetically show you how you are using (or not using) your time. By helping diagnose your wasted time, it can greatly improve your productivity. Although the data could be intimidating, it is a powerful resource for people who are serious about maximizing their work output. Additionally, for business owners, it can be a great way to assess how effectively your workforce is using their time and resources. It’s mobile version, Quality Time, will let you know how much time you spend a day, or a week on certain apps on your phone. The results will surprise you.

Many people working at My Tech Guys elect to wear a Xiaomi Mi Band which is kind of like a more programmable Fit Bit. It wakes us up in the morning with an inaudible vibrating to not disturb our loved ones, monitors our heart rates and most importantly, tells us when we haven’t moved for a long time. Part of any desk job is longevity and although we may look silly doing squats at intervals, it keeps us going.

Google Calendar

Not so long ago everyone would have their own pocketbooks or filo faxes. Some people may have been lucky enough to have a personal assistant keeping their calendar and Rolodex for them. Tech has made this more efficient still with the advent of digital calendars that come with the same sharing options as the documents above. Currently, everyone in My Tech Guys has access to everyone else’s calendar, 14 in total. This means not only can we edit our calendar’s but other peoples, transferring appointments with ease or inviting other people to planned appointments with a couple key presses. One of our favorite things is the reminder system, where you can set Google calendar to tell you via an alert or an email before your appointment in increments you choose. Want to get an email reminding you of an impending appointment or deadline a week in advance, the day before, and 10 minutes? Not a problem.

Wonderlist

Going digital with your to-do list only makes sense. In an app, you can edit and rearrange your to-dos based on changing priorities, share lists with family members or other collaborators, and get reminders for your upcoming deadlines, no matter which device you have on you at the moment

Wunderlist is one of the best productivity apps for task-management, especially if you don’t need every feature under the sun and are hoping to keep your costs to 0. The free version doesn’t pull any punches, giving you all the essential features you need to get your stuff done.

You can set up the application to remind people when items have been added to their list, and let you know when an item has been completed. No more will you lose that shopping list on the way to the store!

Location-based Reminders

Sure you talk to people on your phone, but how often do you talk to your phone. With the advent of smart devices, voice recognition services like Alexa, Siri, and Google have been changing the way we interact with our phones. On an iPhone, holding down the home button will give you the ability to google a phone number, ask about the weather and more importantly, set reminders.

Reminders have been on phones for some time but with location services turned on we now have the ability to make something pop up when we arrive at a location, arguably more useful that popping up at a certain time.

You can ask your phone to remind you of something when you get home or get to work. You can ask it to remind you of your shopping list when you get to the supermarket and choose exactly how you are reminded.

There are of course a whole range of other great ways to stay organized with your smartphone, Banking Applications, Spending monitoring Apps, Data plan usage, and monitoring, accessing online documents and files, the list goes on and on but if you are implementing these programs you are well on your way!

To learn more about organizing your life using your smartphone, come to our upcoming Tech Talk on topic, or call us to arrange a lesson in-home, in-office or in-store on 250-890-1065.

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