Not every mobile device is useful for TRO. The right Smartphone can be an incredible productivity boost—we highly recommend using one. However, a bad smartphone is a frustrating, expensive paperweight.
To give you more relaxed control, TRO requires a bit more from your tools than other systems. Therefore, for best results, carefully consider your real needs, the TRO requirements and capabilities of your task list, and the limits of your device. Your smartphone usually dictates which task list(s) you can use.
“There Be Breakers Ahead”
Choosing a handheld/smartphone and syncing data are the two activities most likely to cause shipwreck. You can save yourself days or weeks of trouble by doing things right from the beginning. The information here is invaluable, but if you’re not tech savvy, get a Priacta coach or competent technical help on board. Don’t sail rough seas without a chart!
Ask yourself these questions when assessing a smartphone:
- How portable/small does it need to be? (Tablets like the Apple iPad give you more screen space, but they don’t fit in your pocket.)
- Do you want it to double as your cell phone? (This is a great idea because it combines your email and phone contact lists and gives you a way to access your data, and the Web, while on the road.)
- How reliable will cellular coverage be where you will work? (If it’s unreliable or slow, an online task list that you have to access via a browser isn’t a good idea. The phone needs a task list program that actually stores the data on the phone.)
- What are the costs to get a phone you like, that works well?
- Are you already in an expensive phone contract? (If so, find out what it costs to end the contract early. That can be far cheaper than poor productivity.)
- What phones are supported by the cell provider?
- Is a free upgrade phone available if you renew your contract?
- What is the cost of an online data plan for the right phone? (You will need Internet access on your phone, but you won’t need unlimited access just to manage your tasks and email.)
- Will you be managing just your work, or your entire life? (We recommend organizing your whole life, but some people only use TRO at work.)
- What items do you need to manage on your phone?
- Calendar? (Almost everyone needs this.)
- Email? (Many people need this.)
- Tasks? (Some people need this, but few need to fully manage all their tasks on their phone. You may be able to get by with only one or two task categories on the road, like Errands and Calls. Many people prefer fully processing their tasks at their desktop, so they only mark tasks as completed and collect new tasks on their phone.)
- What syncing and online options are available for your phone?
- Will it work with all your other tools? (Task list, calendar, email?)
- Does it give you good access to any online apps? (Task list, calendar, email? Beware: if your calendar or task list has no installable app and no mobile-optimized web site, then you will need to use your mobile browser. Some mobile web browsers offer convenient touch gestures to zoom in and out (iPhone, Android) while others use awkward, old-fashioned scroll bars, which we do not recommend (Blackberry Bold, Storm).
- Do you need to keep personal and company tasks separate? (If so, you probably need an online task list for your personal tasks, and a corporate task list like Outlook with Exchange Server for work.)
- Which tasks do you need to see on your phone? (Personal or work?)
- Do you need to use a certain task list? Or do you have a choice? (You need a phone that works well with your particular task list.)
- Does your employer dictate where you must keep company task/calendar data? (This is rare in most industries.)
- If not, if do you want to use a new, secure online task list for all your data? (New options and powerful features make this a very desirable option.)
- Is a keyboard important to you? (The iPhone is slick, but it has no tactile keyboard/keypad, which bothers some people. You can find new smartphones with nice, slide-out keyboards.)
Armed with those answers, you are ready to make a choice:
- See our recommended tool combination list. This tells you which mobile options work best with which tools, in our experience.
- Play with different mobile options on your TRO Training Dashboard to see their features and limitations.
- Look at other tasks lists from the full list (stg.priacta.com/gtd#tro) of Priacta-researched, TRO-capable task lists.
- Use your own task list if it supports TRO requirements and you know it works well with your mobile device.
- Email a Priacta coach for a free 15-minute coaching session. After asking some careful questions, you’ll get precise, expert advice for your situation. Email [email protected].