How Smart is Your Smart Phone?

I was an early adopter of the Blackberry.   I was working for a large corporation when they came out, and as soon as I saw one of my colleagues with one and heard about it’s capabilities, I knew this was for me.  I had just returned from a vacation and had been frustrated at being away from e-mail for a week.

A few years later, I upgraded to the cell phone version of the Blackberry.  I got rid of my low-tech personal cell phone and have been hooked on the smart phone concept ever since.

After I left Corporate America and formed my organizing company three and a half years ago, I decided to try a Motorola Q.  Less than two years later, I went back to the Blackberry, vowing never again to stray.  Each version of the Blackberry had more wonderful features, and I saw no reason to ever leave the fold again.

Then came the iPhone.  At first, I was very skeptical about all of the hype.   But as time wore on, I envied my friends who, with a few flicks of a finger, could use their phones to bring up graphically rich web sites and zoom in on them.

As I rided out my two-year Verizon contract, I checked out the iPhone a few times at Apple and AT&T stores.  I was concerned that, after years of a robust Qwerty keyboard, I would find the virtual keyboard difficult to use.  I was concerned about leaving Verizon and switching to AT&T.  I had a ton of fears – rational or otherwise — and had nearly talked myself out of wanting an iPhone.

Three weeks ago, with my Verizon contact about to expire, I took the plunge.


At first, I wasn’t going to switch until after I returned from the annual organizers’ conference, which was starting less than two weeks after my Verizon contract expired.  I wasn’t planning on bringing a computer to the conference, and wanted to rely on my smart phone for e-mail and web connectivity.  But I threw caution to the wind and it was one of the best decisions I ever made.

As a small business owner, it’s important for me to be able to respond to business e-mails in a professional manner.  With my iPhone, the e-mails I send are in graphical format and preserve the integrity of the original.  The e-mails I used to send from my Blackberry were in plain text.  I found myself reading e-mails on the Blackberry but waiting until I was back on my desktop computer to respond to them because the plain text e-mails looked unprofessional to me.  That certainly cut down on my efficiency when I was away from my home office.

The same holds with Internet viewing.  On my Blackberry, accessing web sites was slow and inconvenient, and the sites were hard to read and to navigate.  I found myself avoiding clicking on links that were in e-mails I received, or going to web sites to find information I needed.  That, too, had to wait until I was back at home.

The iPhone voice mail is so easy to use, and seamlessly integrated with my contacts.

The Facebook and Twitter apps on the iPhone enabled me to keep up with those key marketing tools while I was away last week.

So why am I writing this as an organizing tip?  Not to convince you to buy an iPhone, but just to suggest that you question whether your smart phone is really increasing your efficiency.  We are continually bombarded by new technologies and it can be overwhelming.  Technology was supposed to improve our lives, but often it just ends up complicating it.  Don’t let fear of trying something new stand in your way of getting the tools that will really make 21st century life easier for you.  Don’t let habit keep you tied to a technology that may no longer be what you need.

One last observation.  Despite my fears about switching from Verizon to AT&T, the phone service here in New York City hasn’t really been any different.  And when I checked into my hotel last week in Columbus, Ohio, I called two of my New York colleagues who had checked in ahead of me.  One of  them did not answer her phone, and I left her a voice mail.  The other one answered her phone immediately.  What I did not realize at the time were that these two were actually in a restaurant together.   The one who answered?  She has an iPhone.  The one whose phone never rang?  She uses Verizon.

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