It’s not just for the rich and famous. You don’t need to have a trailer on a movie lot, and you don’t need to be a millionaire. You carry your personal assistant around with you every day- it’s your cell phone!
We have seen so many articles and blogs about “unplugging” as a way to truly “plug-in” to life. When we read those articles, we may feel guilty about not being more “present” in our family life. Then we hear about people deactivating their Facebook accounts, about the general paranoia associated with online security and our vulnerability in that scary world called the Internet. We have even heard a tech industry giant decrying the dangers of a future with more pervasive AI (artificial intelligence, in case you were about to Google it) in our lives.
I’m not saying that any of these fears are unfounded, but let’s be real- you are highly unlikely to decide to live a life off the grid, and that phone is not leaving your back pocket. So let’s embrace that technology and use your cell phone as your own personal assistant!
As a working mom, I could not do all that I do without my cell phone, and there are new innovations coming out every day that make your cell phone a tool to make your life easier.
These are just a few of the ways I use my smart phone and apps to make my life a lot easier. I recommend you do the same:
- Use your phone’s assistant. I have a Google phone, and use the Google Assistant every day. It’s even easier when I can use voice commands to set these reminders with ease. If you have an iPhone, you can use Siri to do the same. You can:
- Set reminders. I set reminders for every little thing I need to remember- pick up prescriptions, pack a lunch, return products to the store, put the clothes in the dryer before going to bed, fill out my son’s financial aid forms- you name it!
- Make your shopping list. I use my Assistant to keep a running shopping list, and I can add to the list using voice command whenever I remember something I need to buy. By the time I get to the store, my list is complete.
- Use apps to buy your groceries. I use apps like Instacart, Shipt or Amazon Prime Now to order my groceries for delivery. If I was running around on the weekend and hadn’t picked up everything I needed at the grocery store, I no longer have to take the extra time to run to the store after work. Now, I just order what I need on the app on my phone and get it delivered to work. You can also use the Walmart grocery app to either have groceries delivered, or let them do the shopping for you, and all you have to do is pick it up! You can do the same at many other stores, like Target or Best Buy.
- Use your phone’s calendar to schedule appointments, calls, birthday and event reminders. I use my phone to calendar all the many events and appointments in the busy life of my family. It’s even easier to use voice commands to set these items in my calendar. I have a large extended family with many nieces and nephews, and I am their favorite aunt because I never forget a birthday! (Then I use Amazon to order their gifts too!)
- Keep on top of your kids’ school events and obligations. To stay on top of my younger son’s progress at school I use the school district’s app to track on a daily basis my son’s grades, and upcoming homework assignments. I also use WhatsApp to stay informed, to coordinate for school events and to communicate with his Math Club, teachers and his friends’ parents.
- Navigate to school, work and home. I depend on my Google Maps app to get me from place to place as quickly as possible and to let me know my ETA. In Miami traffic, this is a constant issue. You can use Google Maps, Waze, or other similar navigation apps to guide you to your destination by the shortest or quickest route.
- Use your commute as productively as possible. I use my two hours of daily commuting to listen to podcasts and audio books. I choose to learn something during that time, and it makes the commute go faster. My commute is also a great time for me to talk with family members who live in different time zones. Besides making the time productive, these practices also help keep me calm in the stressful Miami traffic!
You have some amazing and mostly free (at least you already pay for it) technology in your hands. Let your cell phone be your personal assistant and start making your life easier!
About the Author: Jane (Fernandes) de Pina is paralegal supervisor at Bast Amron LLP, and has been with the firm (and its founding fathers) since before its inception in 2009. Jane specializes in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, bankruptcy litigation and investigation of D&O liability and fraud.
Jane has a B.A. in Liberal Arts from Colorado State University, with a concentration in public affairs and communications, and an M.Acc. in Accounting, specializing in Forensic Accounting, from Florida Atlantic University. She is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. She is a busy working mom of two sons, and enjoys spending her free time with her husband and sons. Her free time is made possible by the use of her personal assistant- her cell phone.