A few days ago I wrote about how our mobile phones are becoming Swiss Army Knives.  They have SO many uses compared to devices even a few years ago.  And then I ran across this graphic that highlights some interesting data regarding our patterns of phone usage.

Cell Phone Usage
Via: Online IT Degree

The stats regarding teens and texting is truly amazing to me.

Vicorinox SwissTool
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I love multi-tools.  I have half a dozen around the house, in the truck, etc.  They are great to carry because they can help with so many situations.  Knife, screwdriver, saw, bottle opener, pliers and file… all right there on my belt.  I even have a mini multi-tool that has a flashlight on it.  It isn’t bright, but great when I need to step out of a tent in the middle of the night…

I have another multi-tool that is with me even more, though.  No knife, saw, bottle opener or even a screwdriver.  It does have a flashlight, though.

It is my phone.

I keep running into more things it can do… and do well.  It has a 5 megapixel camera, 480p video recorder and everything else one would expect from an Android smartphone.  The apps are amazing.

Today… in just one day… I have used my phone to shoot a video blog, reply to emails, coordinate a client meeting with a closing firm to get some questions answered, texting a few friends to keep in touch, update my calendar to stay on top of upcoming events, taking notes about ideas for blog posts and helping me lose weight.  Seriously, on that last front, I have dropped 16 pounds in less than 6 weeks.  (the app is called MyFitnessPal).

But, like any multi-tool, it doesn’t do any good if you don’t use it.  And using it to its full capability turns it from a trinket into a productivity enhancing tool.

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Remember from the intro post, these are the primary requirements I have for a To Do app for my phone/computer/the cloud…

Among the requirements I have for a to do list are:

  • Repeating Tasks… I write on 4 blogs and maintain a couple of dynamic websites that always need fresh content.  So, I need to remember where I need to write posts each day.  My repeating tasks include:
    • Same day each month (gathering statistics in my local MLS)
    • Same day each week (weekly posts like my 53 Cool Concept series each Sunday)
    • Every X number of days (for places I post every four, eight or ten days, etc)
  • Ability to tag or note which tasks are for which purpose
  • Prioritization (so I don’t get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter… missing things that are more important)
  • Ability to sync between my mobile device and other devices (laptop, cloud, etc.)
  • That seems pretty simple…

    Second up is GOALS ToDo Free.

    Repeating Tasks

    This is the one that kicks out most of the To Do Lists for me.  There are several options, which may make this a great opportunity for some folks, but I felt a little limited.

    • Daily – You can set tasks to repeat daily, as well as set them to repeat after a certain number of days…  In the free version, there doesn’t seem to be an option to have a task repeat each weekday.
    • Weekly – Tasks can be set to repeat on a weekly basis, as well.  So, if you have a task that needs to be done every Tuesday, or one that needs to be dome every three weeks, this is the option you would use.  I don’t see an option to do a task each Monday and Wednesday, for example.
    • Monthly – The next option would be a monthly task.  This can be set a specific day (November 20th for example) but not on a trigger (like the 3rd Saturday of the month).
    • Yearly – This option allows longer range tasks (like birthdays) to be set up.  It can even be set up to remind about the task after a period of years.  To do this, it has to be set up to repeat in 12 months… or 24 months… or whatever.

    Tags

    I don’t see a Tag capability, but there is a Context that can be applied to tasks to help group them.

    Prioritization

    We HAVE to be able to focus on the things that are most important.  GOALS ToDo Free has three priority levels: Immediately, Soon and Next.  There is an interesting option to be able to “refocus” tasks.

    I haven’t seen an option to sync with Google Calendar.  I’m also not aware of a Website or a way to deal with the tasks from my computer.

    Overall, I from my limited exposure, GOALS ToDo seems like an excellent option for project managing, or many other situations.  In fact, I can see it being very useful to track real estate contract and closing dates… but as an overall tasking calendar, it doesn’t seem to work for me.

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    I have it on shaky authority that there will be an real estate technology event on May 18th, 2011 in the Atlanta area.  It is rumored to be a collaboration between rebarcamp Atlanta (#rebcATL) and REtechSouth (#retso).  The rumors are that it will be a hands on workshop focusing on implementing technology and social marketing plans like those developed during #retso and #rebcATL.

    Like I said, this is an early stage rumor…  There is no word yet on cost, venue, presenters or any other details… but keep an eye peeled here and at rebcAtlanta.com for the latest details and rumors.

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    It is always SO cool to open up a new toy tool… I mean tool.

    But, one of the parts of being self-employed is not only getting the cool tools to help expand or streamline the business, but learning how to really leverage them to the max… getting your money’s worth from them.  It doesn’t matter if you got a cool new Android phone, iPad or All-in-One Multi-Function Printer.

    And one thing I have found seem to bind many self-employed people together is that we often have the contradiction of not wanting to call for tech help (we can handle almost anything, right?  That is what pulled us into entrepreneurialism) and not really having the time to sit down and read the manual from cover to cover. In fact, a lot of us might even admit to being willing to take a class on using a piece of technology… but we can’t find the time to take the class.

    I’m here to tell you, make the time.

    The tools can make you more efficient (saving time) and more productive (more business/profit/money).  But the ONLY way they work is if they are used fully.  And the best way to get that type of use from the tools is to get someone experienced to teach you the tips, tricks and best practices.

    I have a pretty deep stable of friends that are WAY tech savvy.  They teach me constantly how to better utilize the tools that I have.  They also help me filter WAY down the tools that I want.

    Taking advantage of opportunities like rebarcamps and events like REtechSouth are also great options.  In addition to the sessions, networking with experienced technology users (like my stable of friends) and even talking directly with the manufacturers and marketers of niche specific technology.

    Play with your new technology.  Get used to it.  Enjoy it.  But also think about getting a little deeper into it.  At the very least, look for something a little more complete than the average user manual.

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    Remember from the intro post, these are the primary requirements I have for a To Do app for my phone/computer/the cloud…

    Among the requirements I have for a to do list are:

    • Repeating Tasks… I write on 4 blogs and maintain a couple of dynamic websites that always need fresh content.  So, I need to remember where I need to write posts each day.  My repeating tasks include:
      • Same day each month (gathering statistics in my local MLS)
      • Same day each week (weekly posts like my 53 Cool Concept series each Sunday)
      • Every X number of days (for places I post every four or eight days, etc)
    • Ability to tag or note which tasks are for which purpose
    • Prioritization (so I don’t get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter… missing things that are more important)
  • Ability to sync between my mobile device and other devices (laptop, cloud, etc.)
  • That seems pretty simple…

    Second up is Astrid Tasks.

    Repeating Tasks

    This is the one that kicks out most of the To Do Lists for me.  There are several options, which may make this a great opportunity for some folks, but I felt a little limited.

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      Daily – You can set tasks to repeat daily, as well as set them to repeat after a certain number of days… (every third day or 19th day, whatever).  There are some other options… they are under the “Weekly” tag.

    • Weekly – Tasks can be set to repeat on a weekly basis, as well.  So, if you have a task that needs to be done every Tuesday, or one that needs to be dome every three weeks, this is the option you would use.  There is also the capability to set a task to be done on selected days of the week.
    • Monthly – The next option would be a monthly task.  This can be set a specific day (November 20th for example) but not on a trigger (like the 3rd Saturday of the month).
    • Yearly – This option allows longer range tasks (like birthdays) to be set up.  It can even be set up to remind about the task after a period of years.  To do this, it has to be set up to repeat in 12 months… or 24 months… or whatever.
    • Hourly – This is a cool little addition.  I don’t have a need for it, but it does have the ability to set up a task to be repeated after a certain number of hours (like medicine that needs to be taken every 8 or 12 hours, for example).

    Tags

    Tags can be created to help search out tasks that need to be done or that have been completed.  There is also a place to enter notes about the task that can help get it done.  I don’t know if those notes are searchable.

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    Prioritization

    We HAVE to be able to focus on the things that are most important.  Checkmark has four priority levels: low, medium, high and emergency (I named them that… they go from ! to !!!!).

    Astrid CAN be set up to sync with a Google Calendar, and I would bet that with the Add-ons there are a lot more options.  One of the Add-ons that IS really interesting is Locale.  With this, the list will be location aware, so it will be able to give you reminders that are tied to a location (buy milk when it knows you are at the grocery store).  The drawback is that it will take time to set up the location, and tags would have to be regimented and applied.

    The weakness I have with Google Calendar sync revolves around repeating tasks.  The tasks aren’t currently fully synchronized.

    This is an interesting option, and holds some promise.  The monthly tasks not being available for the 1st Saturday (or whatever) is very limiting for me.

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