Saturday, October 27, 2012

31 Days to a Normal Life : Day Twenty Four : Using Gadgets to Stay Organized

Technological tools and gadgets carry a huge workload these days. With our phones capable of everything from managing our calendar to providing restaurant reviews and traffic alerts, using the phone for talking doesn't even seem to be the norm anymore. Smart phones, tablets and laptops make technology portable in a way that wasn't possible until fairly recently. The other day in the car, while the Maroon 5 song "Payphone" was playing, my 4 year old asked me what a payphone was. As I was explaining, I realized that the idea of needing to access a public phone is completely foreign to her. Anytime we leave the house, I have a phone right there in my purse so why would I need a payphone??
I know this is super obvious, but I hardly ever use my phone for appointment reminders or scheduling. Personally I prefer an oldschool calendar and planner. For really important appointments, I often set a reminder on my phone just in case or for appointments that are scheduled far in advance. You could also use your phone alarm to help keep you on task. Sometimes the day gets away but setting an alarm for 2:30 would remind you that it's time to get the kids ready so you aren't late for ballet class... again.

Online Bill Pay
Again, this one is pretty common, but worth mentioning. The majority of our bills can be paid online and if not, most banks have an online bill pay option where checks are drafted and sent on time. The benefit of all this is that it's less time consuming usually than writing checks and addressing envelopes. It also saves the time of waiting for a check to arrive at its destination and clear in your account. 

Coupon Apps
I'm not a big couponer in general, and I am notoriously bad at remembering to bring the coupons I have to the store. While there are a ton of basic coupon apps for grocery shopping, there are also awesome apps for stores like JoAnns and Michaels that display current coupons and savings options. The cashier can scan the coupon write off your phone screen, eliminating the printing or clipping of coupons. Instead of having to carry coupons around in case you happen to stop at Michaels, just bring up the coupons on your phone when you get there to see if any apply and they usually do!

Photo Ops
The camera on your phone can be used for a lot more than just snapping pix of your vacation. Simple Mom did a great post recently about using your phone for organizational uses. I used mine when I made my menu plan and grocery list last week. Instead of carrying a paper list or leaving the list on the counter as I've done more than a few times, it was right there in my phone without having to hassle with rewriting it or storing it in a grocery app. I also shared yesterday how I used my iphone camera to preserve my little one's artwork

Photo Editing/Improvement
If you aren't a master photographer, have no fear. There are plenty of different photo editing apps to help your photo skills. Instagram, Camera+ and XnPhoto Fx are three that I really like. Whether it's treating your pictures to a crazy filter or just making them look a little more professional, these apps are free and easy to use. Especially for bloggers, good photos are important. (See my shopping list photo above as an example of lazy photo posting.) You can see the difference in the pictures below, both edited using Instagram. Which one would you be more attracted to if you saw it at a link party? The one on the left or the one on the right?
These are also easy ways to use your phone or computer to make life a little more simple. You don't have to be super tech-savvy to find an app on your phone or set a reminder. But each of these tools will help cut down on paper clutter and make it easier to check items off the neverending list.

Thanks for stopping by! If you missed any of the previous posts in the series, click here for a full list.

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