My Favorite Organization Tool – The Apple iPhone

I have to admit, I’ve been resisting this post for quite some time.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe it’s because the vast majority of my organizing solutions cost less than $10 and can be picked up at your local super store.  Promoting something that costs a few hundred seemed like a big departure from my typical MeckMom style.  Well, today I’m making an exception to my “cheap and easy” solution pattern.  I’ve had an iPhone for over a year now and I can honestly say that I think it’s one of the best (if not the best) tools for managing the crazy day-to-day life of being a Mom.  If it works that well for me, then it seems a shame not to share it with you guys.

iphone

Here’s a sampling of a few of the ways I use my iPhone on any given day…

  • Alarm Clock: I have it set to wake me at different times on different days – it even has a built in snooze
  • Weather: The first thing I check when I wake up is the forecast.  That way I know – before I even get out of bed – what kind of clothes the kids will need that day.
  • Calendar: Before my feet hit the floor, I check the calendar so I know my plan for the day.  The iPhone allows you to have multiple calendars so I can check out a specific color-coded category (like school, church, home, etc.) or view them all together.
  • Reminders: The calendar also has built-in reminder functions, so if Emily has to bring the snack to Kindergarten, or Jack needs to send in money for pictures, an alarm will sound and I’ll be reminded before the backpacks are packed.
  • Grocery Lists: If I notice at breakfast that we’re running low on syrup, I just open up my grocery manager program called Shopper.  With a quick tap I can add it to my grocery list and check it off next time I head out to the store.
  • Podcasts & Audiobooks: In an ideal world, I would have loads of time to read.  In my real world, my hands are never free long enough to make that happen.  I use the podcast and audiobook tools to help me catch up on current events or listen to the latest bestseller while I’m doing the laundry or cleaning the kitchen.
  • Email: Sitting at my computer is another thing I can’t seem to find enough time for (hence the lack of posts lately).  With my iPhone’s quick and easy email access I can check my mail while I’m in the pick-up line at school or waiting for my son to finish soccer.
  • Camera: My son got his first tooth today and I’m sure that his out-of-state grandparents would want to know about it.  Rather than track down my camera, hook it up, and attach the picture to an email;  I just grab my phone, snap a picture and send it off.
  • Homework Help: One of my favorite iPhone applications is called iFlipr.  It’s a simple flashcard program that you can customize to your own needs.  I created flashcards to help my kids learn multiplication, spelling words, sight words, and geography facts.  I always have my phone with me so it’s easy to squeeze in study time no matter where we are.
  • Video & TV Shows: I hate to say it, but TV can be a great babysitter and a portable TV can be even better.  For example, yesterday my 5 year-old was at ballet practice and my two older kids were sitting with me in the waiting area.  I needed my hands free to feed the baby, so I gave them my phone and let them watch an episode of Disney’s Phineus and Ferb (downloaded from iTunes for $2).  They were happy, I was happy, and the 45 minute ballet class flew by.
  • Voice Recorder: New ideas, to-dos, and reminders don’t usually come to us when we’re sitting down with a pen and paper.  They hit us at random times throughout the day.  I’ve never been good at writing things down, so I find the voice recorder application invaluable.  If I have a new blog idea I just open the voice recorder app and describe it.  If my little daughter says something funny and I want to remember it later, I record it.  If my friend has a great recipe I want to try…well you get the idea.  It’s a quick and easy way to capture and organize all the random thoughts that swirl around my head.

I could list tons more, like the built-in GPS, the awesome music options, the visual voicemail, the fun texting tool – but it would take me far too long to type it all.  I’ll just say this, if you’re in the market for a new phone, it’s worth your time to check the iPhone out.  You can buy a new 8GB iPhone 3G for just under $200.   If you’re not in the market for a new phone or can’t switch to the AT&T network, you might want to consider picking up the iPod touch.  It has all the features I just described without the built-in phone. Here’s a link to the Apple store so you can check out more iPhone details.

If you ask me, the iPhone is a fabulous tool for Moms.  It’s incredibly easy to use, fun to customize (thanks to the thousands of applications available), and loaded with features to make your life easier.  It’s tough to ask for more than that.  Just thought I’d pass it on.

If you’ve got an iPhone and have found an application that you love I hope you’ll share it with the rest of us in the comments area.  I’d love to know which apps you’ve tried.  Thanks!


9 Comments

  1. I always knew I liked you. But, now? Wow!! I REALLY like you!

    I told my husband that he’s very lucky that he just got me an iPhone. Otherwise I’d be forwarding him this post with my own comments of, “See? MeckMom has an iPhone. She says it’s a great ORGANIZATIONAL tool! Do you know how much stuff I could get done if I had one, too???”

    Can’t wait to check out the flashcard app. That’s too cool!

    My husband’s favorite app is Things. It’s a little pricey, but the desktop version is REALLY full-featured and the app is a great companion piece. Probably one of the best ‘to do’ list programs out there. I’m demo-ing the desktop version before purchasing the app for my own phone…

    Thanks for the great post!

  2. Some day I’m going to do that. Be organized enough to load all the calendars, agendas, etc. I do it already on paper. In fact I still use a knock off copy of a grocery list you gave me years ago that works great. I keep it on my fridge and just put an x by it if I run out. But I would love to cut through the paper eventually & go green! Thanks for the input-

  3. Is it pathetic that I just got a rush of excitement when you mentioned the list maker!? Are dropped calls a problem with the i phone, or is it still simply an service area thing? I can’t wait for my stupid service agreement to run out so I can change providers and get one!…and get my brother to stop making fun of my crappy old flip phone! :)

  4. I don’t have one yet. I was totally resisting, I love my Blackberry. My hubby and son got one, I don’t even think they use all their stuff on it. I was playing with my husband’s the other day and found a magic eighball app, bubblewrap popping game, and a lighter! They are free apps, now I want one for all the fun extra stuff☺.

  5. How do you work the color-coded calendar? I’ve been trying for weeks and can’t seem to figure out how to add new catagories or edit the two existing ones! Any help would be appreciated. :)

  6. Hi,
    I just got an iphone for Christmas, and I was wondering what voice recorder app you use? Thanks for the help!
    Lisa

  7. I had twins five months ago, and the number of things I could physically carry around decreased to make room for an extra baby, diapers, etc. I was so pleased to discover that at LDS.org you can download .pdb versions of the Joseph Smith (or current) lesson manual, along with hymns and more. You can read .pdb files on the ereader app. There is also a scripture application. For awhile my lesson manual was tossed out of my sunday bag to make room for a coloring book or puzzle for my 2 year old during sacrament meeting. Now I can have my lesson manual and scriptures without adding any extra weight.

  8. I totally agree with you. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE my iPhone. I am compulsive with keeping me and everyone around me organized. I just figured out how to use mobile me after almost a year. The calendar is the best this in the world, now that I can sync it with my mac, mobile me and phone.

    I have the Shopper and Things app listed above and can’t rave enough about them.

    My friends who have had nothing but Blackberry’s have now converted themselves and can’t get enough of the iPhone either. To me it’s the most comperhensive phone available.

    I will not have another as long as I can get my hands on an iPhone.

  9. mormon4him (Rachel)

    May I make a recommendation for those families with cell-phone enabled teenagers? http://www.cozi.com It’s a FREE family calendar webpage, you can put all those dates and reminders in and guess what it has an iphone app!!! You can access it on the interne pct, and send reminders to individual cell phones :) Each kid can log-in with the family password and add things, (outings, dances, YW and Scouting events) It makes it easy to keep everything organized. Did I mention there’s a grocery list? You can also set up Christmas wishlists for the kids to make being Santa easier.

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