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Transform Your Cell Phone into a Productivity Juggernaut


All of us productivity nerds have our tools of choice. Some instinctively reach for a stack of index cards, others for a PDA or Pocket PC. I’m here to tell you that your regular, everyday cell phone can probably be just as effective as any other swiss army knife out there.

It’s all about taking your phones built-in features and combining them with some terribly powerful websites/services available today. And your phone doesn’t have to be anything fancy – this ain’t just for you iPhone/Treo folk, oh no. I’m talking to those of us with normal, average-joe-type cell phones – usually the kind that comes free with a new contract.

Most of these services require only the ability to send and receive text messages (and, obviously, phone calls). Ready?

  • Pinger – One of the web’s best kept secrets, in my opinion. Have you ever needed to tell someone something, but didn’t want to have an actual conversation (for whatever reason)? Maybe your brother-in-law is a motormouth and you just want to let him know that his collector set of Harry Potter shotglasses has arrived, whatever. This (free) service lets you record and send voicemail messages directly from your phone. You can even configure it to save the recipient’s name so you can just speak it to Pinger. Very cool stuff, indeed.
  • Jott – I’ve mentioned this one before, but it’s worth bringing up a again. Say you’re driving to the office and you remember that you need to put on matching socks once you arrive – just give Jott a ring, leave a message for yourself that will then be transcribed and sent to your inbox. Nifty? Yep.
  • 30boxes – I won’t belabor my undying love for 30boxes since most of you are probably already aware of it (and if you aren’t, trust me – it kicks some serious ass). But did you know that you can add calendar events (using the “onebox” input method – natural language processing, baby) from your cell phone? Now, it has to be able to send and receive actual email (something almost any modern phone can do out of the box, unless the carrier sucks), but it’s as easy as you think. Put something like “Lunch tomorrow at 12pm with Mayor” into the subject line and fire away. Moments later, it will have magically appeared on your 30boxes calendar and you will be in complete control of your destiny.
  • Self-messaging – Leaving voicemail for oneself is a lost art, popularized before the days of the ever-pervasive cell phone. There are pantloads of free voicemail services out there, many of them free!
  • Stikkit – Anybody who reads this blog with any regularity knows what a big fan I am of Stikkit. But can you really use it from your cell phone? Why, yes you can (again, with the priviso that your cell phone supports email). Under your Stikkit settings, there’s an email address that you can send stuff to. Anything sent to that box will be made into it’s own new Stikkit for later review. Simply tag the text with “@phone” or “@messages” and start sending your shouldn’t-be-mental notes off while on the go!
  • Google SMS – As somebody in the previous post‘s comments pointed out, Google SMS is one of the most indispensable cell phone tools I can imagine. You essentially get a whole slew of Google tools (including dictionary, currency conversion, weather, phone book, etc.) at your fingertips. No joke, I use this at least once or twice a day, sometimes a whole lot more.

I know I’ve barely scratched the surface, but these are just some of the tools you can utilized directly from your cell phone to help make you a productivity ninja while you’re at the opera or whatever.

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