It goes without saying, smartphones have completely changed our culture. How we communicate and how we work will never be the same.
As an entrepreneur, you are likely strapped for time. Using your smartphone can be a game changer. It can also be a serious crutch though if you aren't careful.
I want to touch on a few tasks that I feel can be done on your smartphone effectively.
Some people don't do much outside of making calls and some people try and do nearly everything on their phones. This Includes complicated things like working on spreadsheets, editing videos and even composing music. I have been guilty of all three.
So here are the most productive things entrepreneurs can do with their smartphones.
1. Save ideas to Evernote
I use Evernote like a second brain. I just vomit information into there, tag it and move on.
You can create quick voice memos, take and annotate images and jot quick notes within the app. I will frequently draft blog posts and social media update ideas into my Evernote app.
If you have a virtual assistant or use a tool like Hootsuite, preparing your tweets and basic social media updates on your phone is efficient. You can also note any social media ideas you have quickly as they come to you.
Hootsuite has an app, but it is a little clumsy and I prefer to schedule my social media activity later, pulling from the posts I create in Evernote.
2. Read emails while you get some fresh air
Consider blocking email on your desktop and only checking it during brief walks or quick steps outside every few hours. Fight the urge to answer all emails as soon as you get them. If you have a phone and this type of email mindset, you will be in trouble.
3. Take online courses
Get a notepad and pen, pop in some earbuds and learn something new. Udemy has a very good app and allows users to stream their purchased courses. You can even save them for viewing offline.
Remember, some skills benefit entrepreneurs more than others.
Which brings me to a bonus takeaway: Never get the minimum storage option on your smartphone. I'm looking at you iPhone 6 Plus 16GB! We have phones that take 4K videos and we still pretend 16 GB is viable? I know we have the cloud, but still, splurge on the 32GB at the very least If you want to keep a lot of e-books and courses on your device, you will need the space.
4. Plan your day
For planning, Evernote or the built in planner on your phone is fine. Your phone is too practical to not use for your planner. It is always with you, is easy to quickly reference, can send you reminders that you can't miss… pretty much a no-brainer.
Whatever you do, don't waste time trying every new and shiny productivity app that comes out. The best productivity app is the one that you use consistently.
The best productivity app is the one that you use consistently.
5. Plan your diet and meals
There are a lot of great apps that will help you manage your diet and schedule your meals. Doing this will save you time and also lead to a healthier lifestyle
6. Take photos for your blog
The cameras on most smartphones are more than powerful enough to give you the quality of images your blog needs. You can take photos with your smartphone that will look great on your blogs.
7. Record audio clips for content/podcasts
If you have earbuds with a mic, you can record these easily. You can even use a service like Rev.com to convert your spoken word into typed text for Ebooks and blog posts.
8. Request quick gigs on Fancyhands or Fiverr
Fancy hands has done a terrific job of not only taking the work off your hands but also making it incredibly quick and painless to get your gig started. You can use their app (I have iOS).
Fiverr also has an app that is not fantastic, but it works well enough to be worthwhile.
Ok, now let's talk about things to avoid on your smartphone…
Now, I am guilty of these from time to time. You won't be though right?
1. Using your phone in bed
Your brain needs to wind down at bedtime and the glow of your screen can disrupt this. Instead, opt for reading at night via soft lamp light. I use the Nook Glow Light for .pdfs I want to read or just a physical book with a worm light. I read non-fiction exclusively, but fiction can be effective for easing your mind and even generating some creativity.
2. Making calls instead of messages or emails frequently
Sometimes, a phone call is the best option, but it shouldn't be your go to. Phone calls have a tendency to drag on. They are great for working through complex ideas and ventures, but some things are better fit for a brief email. Respect the time of others and if you take a call, do not be afraid to let them know that you only have 5-10 minutes. This goes for meetings as well. You don't need to waste collective hours of working time to tell everyone something that only applies to a few of them.
3. Attempting Detailed Design Work
This may work fine for you, but I am already not ultra talented at design work on a full screen, so on the phone is out of the question. Small imperfections may be much larger when you see them in real size.
I am a huge fan though of design work on a tablet. I feel that that is really where they excel. I do many of my images and designs on my iPad.
As always, leave the serious design work to our friends at 99 Designs.
Warning: Some people lack the willpower and attention to use their phones for good without becoming lost in other distractions. These suggestions are merely things that I think are well suited for your smartphone, not things that should always be done there.