Tech Tip: Smartphones and Apps are great for setting reminders (Like to Tweet out your Tech Tip of the day!) and To Do lists
The list of things you can do with your smartphone is impressive. Email, messaging, alarm clock, and yes, even making a phone call! One thing that can sometimes be overlooked is its ability to set simple reminders and To Do lists for you.
To Do lists have been popular tech tools for quite a while. The best To Do list are those that bridge the space between computer based and mobile accessible. Usually these are web based programs that sync between clients on your desktop/laptop and your mobile device. There is a great run down on what to do lists are available and how they sync up here at Lifehacker.
When it comes to reminders, those are best kept on your mobile device as it is often the item always with you and on. A To Do list is something you go to when you want to find out what you need to do next, but reminders are supposed to alert you when something needs to be done, presumably because you have forgotten.
Google Now has a great reminder feature baked right into newer Android phones. Simply tell it to “Remind me to …..” and it will set up a reminder alert for you at the time you request. If you tell it to “Remind me to take out the garbage tomorrow morning” it will automatically set an alarm for the next morning to alert you.
Likewise, Apple’s iPhones and iPad’s with Siri have an easy way to set up reminders. Simply telling Siri what you want to do will let it input the reminder into your default app. That would be either be Reminders if you are just using iCloud, or it will move over to Tasks if you are set up to use Exchange. There is a great write up on how to set reminders with Siri here.
Evernote, one of my favourite note taking programs, also has a reminder feature built right into it. When you start a new note on your mobile, there is an alarm clock icon that will allow you to set a date and time to have it remind you about the note you have just created. This is then synced with all your applications of Evernote and alerts you when its time. The benefit of Evernote over Google Now is that Evernote will work on multiple platforms with one account, while Google Now or Siri is only baked into its own mobile client.
While it seems like something so simple, setting reminders on your mobile devices is not something we normally think of. We often still have scraps of paper in our pockets or just hope we remember to do something. Taking 20 seconds to set up an alert on our devices will save time later, embarrassment when we forget something, and possibly even a sore finger from having that string tied to it for too long.