Friday, May 22, 2015

Organizational Tip #18 - Using Smartphone Utilities to Remember Things for You

Most people have more things to remember than they realize or would like to be responsible for.  Considering everything we need to remember each day, the busier we get, the more challenging it becomes to prevent a single item from being overlooked.  There is an easier way at our fingertips each day we can use to help us remember things like:

  1. Feeding the animals
  2. Taking medicines & renewing prescriptions
  3. Getting groceries
  4. Filling the car with gas
  5. Finishing the laundry
  6. Going to the bank
  7. Planning vacations
  8. Checking in with friends
  9. Signing up for classes
  10. Paying bills
  11. Returning something borrowed
  12. Replacing house air filters
Luckily smartphones are equipped with different utilities and downloadable apps we can use to reduce some of the burden.  There are generally 3 types of applications available for this purpose.  These general types listed below are available on most types of smartphones and multiple apps exist in each category.  Choosing which specific app to use is based solely on preference.

Alarm apps, which most people use for getting up in the morning, can be used in many other dynamic ways.  Alarms are best used in situations for quick actions and things that are time sensitive like waking up, taking a time-specific or short-term medicine, or turning something off like an oven or water hose.  Alarms can be set to notify at specific times on specific days of the week.

Alarms notify only once and do not stop notifying until acknowledged.  Alarms can be snoozed if this feature is turned on when set up.  An alarm can be snoozed multiple times, but once it is acknowledged it will not notify again until the next scheduled time.  An important feature about alarms is they will notify with sound even if the smartphone is muted.  This makes them better suited for important things to remember.

Reminder apps are best used for tasks like exercising, reading, writing blog posts, paying bills, and other similar items.  Unlike alarms, reminders can be set to notify at specific times and dates, rather than simply days of the week.  Reminders can also be set to repeat and snoozed.  Unlike alarms, reminder apps can be set to notify when arriving at specific locations as well as certain time and date combinations.

Reminders that have been snoozed will appear in the app in a waiting to be finished status.  Also, reminders will not notify with sound if the smartphone is muted.  This makes reminders better for items that can wait until after meetings or other times when the smartphone is muted.

List apps provide a great way to be reminded of one-off or uncommon tasks where it does not make sense to have them listed in an Alarm or Reminder app.  List apps, like Clear by Realmac Software, allow time and date reminders to be set for any entry in a list.  Items placed in list apps are usually items repeated irregularly or less commonly.

Notifications for lists usually cannot be snoozed.  Like reminder apps, list apps will not notify with sound if the smartphone is muted.

Whichever mix of app types and brands you choose, using apps as reminders for tasks and important daily items can free up time to allow us to pursue other things and make sure we do not forget anything.  Many of us carry our smartphones around with us throughout the day already so why not have it work harder for us?  Using smartphones to free up time so we can do things we are passionate about is a good use of technology.

As always, use technology to your advantage!

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