© Jan Jasper; 2002-2012
Many people buy a device like a DROID* or iPhone* expecting that it will magically,
While this technology, properly used, can help you be more productive, it's not magic. You must be a fairly organized
person to begin with. If you want to manage tasks, you have to enter them consistently, then prioritize and actually
complete the tasks. If you manage time badly, can't prioritize, and your to-do list is hundreds of items long, putting
it into digital format won't help you.
Plus, any handheld device has limits. Of necessity, their apps lack some of the features of comparable programs
for the desktop or laptop. Even if your handheld organizing app is very feature-rich, the screen size and limit
on the number of windows you can have open simultaneously is limiting.
It all depends on what you're used to. If this is your
first attempt to get digitally organized, it might not bother you.
But if you are accustomed to a powerful program on a desktop or laptop, such as Outlook* or Act,*
it can be a big disappointment.
If you want to sync between your handheld and desktop (or laptop) machine, the bundled synchronizing utility program
is often very limited. Fortunately, there are some good 3rd-party alternatives. Look at products from
or DataViz.* - these will get more of your data into your handheld. But even with
the best syncing conduit, not everything can be transferred to
the PDA. For example, you may not have all the fields you want, links between contact and appointments may be lost, and notes
may be truncated.
Do some testing so you know what to expect. Synch your database from your desktop computer to your handheld, and look carefully to
see if all
the information you need survived the journey. Then synch back from handheld to desktop and look again. Take time to set up the
and the field mapping. You may find that some of your information simply cannot sync - but it may not be anything
you have to
carry with you. As long as you know the handheld's limitations, you won't be caught off-guard.
If you don't need to sync your calendar, task list, etc. between your laptop and your handheld at all, you can sidestep the
challenge. Just make sure you back up the data in your handheld. There are products like Lookout
Mobile Security* that make backing up handheld data easy. You won't want to worry that all your contacts and appointments
will be gone forever if your Droid* is stolen.
Another option is to keep your contacts and calendar on the cloud, perhaps with Google* products. A privacy "nut"
(I proudly admit to being one) might feel uneasy that Google would have access to all your information. Another downside
is that if your internet connection goes down,
you've got a problem. However, your syncing headaches are ended forever if you use the cloud.
Now that you know the pros and cons of various options, I'm interested to hear your solution.
Shoot me an email and let me know!
*The usual disclaimers apply. My mentioning these products is not a guarantee of any sort.
Obviously, you should not change anything until you've completely backed up your files.
You already do that, right?
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and identify me as follows: "Jan Jasper, a productivity expert in the New York City area, is the author
of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology (St. Martin's Press)."
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