4 mins to read

12 ways to get more value from your smartphone

Working IT: Love them or hate them, one thing I have definitely found is that like their computer software, most people underutilise their smartphones.

Debbie Mayo-Smith
Sat, 02 Jun 2012

Working IT

You might not have noticed how ubiquitous smartphones have become. Everywhere you look you’ll see an iPhone, Blackberry, Android or Windows phone in hand.

You will either love them or hate them. However, one thing I have definitely found is that like their computer software, most people are under-utilising their smartphones.

They are not thinking creatively and, of course, using just a fraction of the smartphone functionality for business or personal use. Most mainly use them to call, text, play, listen, do a bit of email and browsing.

They ignore they have 80% of their computer as well as – in most phones – a superb still and video camera, audio recorder, personal hotspot and GPS in hand.

Are you taking advantage of any of these?

1) Education
While driving in the car, you can listen to audio books. Public libraries have plenty of audio books you can digitally check out for two weeks. The software, Overdrive Media Console has free apps. You can also copy audio DVDs to your computer and transfer to your phone.

2) Paperwork
If completing forms or paper work with a client or while out of the office (and the form is not online), snap a photo of it and email back to the office for immediate data entry.

3) Personal Hotspot
You can tether your smartphone to your computer (using wireless, Bluetooth or a cable) to use the phone’s internet access on your laptop. This saves you having to purchase a separate plan with a T-Stick or Vodem.

4) Record meetings
Verbally document meetings and save the file for future reference.

5) Visual records
A great idea for so many businesses. Real estate. The trades. Building. Landscaping. Automotives. The list is endless – visual examples such as before and after photos. Photos of products or people.
On the personal side use it between home and shopping. Take a photo of a salad dressing your partner wants you to buy. Snap an item of clothing and send as a mms to your kids before buying to see if they want it. Snap a map while online to view if offline when traveling.

6) Videos by staff
In many industries where the owner or manager has to travel to do a quote, have a staff member go out and video the locations instead. The videos can be brought back or alternatively uploaded and marked unlisted on YouTube, where the appropriate person can do the quote.

7) Storage
Use apps like Drop box which can store documents and files on your phone.

8) Social media
All phones have free apps giving you immediate access to contribute and comment. A perfect example is when out networking, at functions, with a client – you can upload photos, videos, tweet or talk about the occasion.

9) Live testimonials
Most businesses – especially the self employed have too few testimonials.. Why not record the testimonial while the person is saying it? A quick little –please, do you mind if I catch what you’re saying on video (or simply a voice recording). This bit of gold can be uploaded to your website, social media site or to YouTube. The link can be emailed and written in proposals and quotes. You can transcribe verbatim what was said for a printed testimonial.

10) Skype
When you are overseas, you can use free wireless access sites to send and receive phone calls and save a bundle. Skype costs between 01 and 19 cents a minute vs. the much higher cost of a mobile call.

11) Built in GPS
Why buy a system for your car when you have one built in on your phone, or available inexpensively as an app?

12) Personal interest aides
There’s thousands of applications you can get to aid you in dieting, fitness, exercise, calorie counting. Alarms to wake you, night lights or compasses to steer you. Museums to walk through and virtual apps to show you ratings on restaurants or where the next café is located.
Notice I didn’t mention music or games?

In closing, I’d like to offer a suggestion if you feel your smartphone puts you at call 24 hours a day. Why not look at your phone differently? A device that helps you achieve better work/life balance. However, you must do two things.

First, use the small pieces of down time you have during the day productively. Times like standing in lines. Waiting for a meeting. Finishing an appointment early, when in transit. Using this down time to catch up on emails, texts and calls rather than letting them accumulate allows you to handle all or the majority during working hours rather than after 7pm.

Second, apply self-discipline. Turn off or walk away from your phone at night. You, not your phone is stealing the work/life balance.
Debbie Mayo-Smith works with businesses that want more effective management and staff. 

Debbie Mayo-Smith
Sat, 02 Jun 2012
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12 ways to get more value from your smartphone