Yes, I am one of those guys. I am an Apple Fanboy, for sure, but I will not apologize for it – their stuff just works. I have not owned a Windows PC for many, many years and I will never go back unless Apple goes out of business. I also got my mom to switch, which was no small feat, but she is mad at me for not making her do it earlier. But I digress…the reason for this post is not to extol virtue on the entire Apple line, but rather to talk about my favorite organizing/simple living tool of all – my 1st generation iPhone that I have had for years now.
I can see why some might say you cannot depend on a mobile phone to live a simple life, but I disagree. First and foremost, my iPhone is my main phone. While I have home phone service (through Vonage, a VOIP service that costs $25 for unlimited everything, as sometimes AT&T is spotty inside my house), I mostly answer all my calls through my iPhone. All calls to my home number ring simultaneously on my mobile phone, so I can pick up either home or cell calls while I am away from the house. This is important because of my “schedule” – as in, I don’t have one. If someone (family or colleague) needs to get a hold of me, they have nowhere specific to call. I don’t go to the office and I don’t have set home office hours. I work when I want and when I need to, so having a phone that rings anywhere I am is key. That frees me up to do whatever I want during the day.
In addition to the main function of a mobile phone – to be a phone – my iPhone is also my mobile office. I can write or edit blog posts, answer emails, work on spreadsheets/documents in Google Docs, access any of my files that I keep on Evernote, check up on Twitter or Facebook, leave myself audio notes for post ideas, read my RSS feeds in Google reader, do some shopping, or check on the score from my beloved Red Sox games. Because I always have my office with me, I can travel for days with just the iPhone and still keep up with my businesses just like I was sitting at home.
Another thing that having the iPhone as my partner in crime is that I don’t need to carry a camera with me. I like taking a lot pictures of places I go and things I do, and having the camera in the phone sure helps. And while I have a professional-grade Canon I use on photography outings, I don’t like to carry it with me everywhere. Also, I use the phone to take pictures of things like book covers I see that are of interest, furniture I think I would like to try to build at home, or the outside of restaurants I want to keep on file. It comes in very handy. I can also upload photos directly into Evernote from the phone, which has saved me many a times from forgetting things I needed to remember!
A few other things that it does to keep me organized and clutter-free? I can access recipes, so I don’t need to keep tons of cookbooks in the house. I listen to music through Pandora, which saves me from buying songs I would only listen to a few times. Instead of buying and carrying guide books to places I visit, I can just download Lonely Planet guides instead – no paper! I can use Google maps to find my way to said places, and I can look up phone numbers in case I still get lost. The list goes on and on…
While using a $200 gadget to live simply and get organized may sound counter-intuitive, I think it does exactly what I need it to do. It reduces the amount of paper in my life, it keeps all my documents and blog access within reach 24/7, and it eliminates my need for a spiral bound planner or notebook. I really couldn’t ask for more. And while the new version of the phone comes out next week, I am not sure if I will be upgrading anytime soon – right now, this one works perfectly fine for what I need a mobile phone to do, and I hope it continues to do so.
So what about you? Are you a pen and paper person, or a gadget person? How do you keep your day to day life organized and clutter free? Let me know in the comments!