Your smartphone is a fantastic time management tool, personal financial manager, health monitor and over all personal assistant that fits in your pocket. Keeping that in mind why not take the time to use it to get your life and your business back in order in 2011. Stop listening to all the quick fixes that don’t work except for your emptying your bank acount and draw the line to invest some time and effort into you. Become the Uber Power user of your life. Getting Started As I said this takes time and effort so make small realistic goals that will give you easily seen results you can be proud about. A good start is to use your smartphone to help you reorganize your life and or business for the long term. That’s the big goal. The next step is, do you have an application to make that “bucket list” of things to do. I have no problem suggesting the built-in Notes application on any smartphone. It’s free and easy to use, just start typing out those goals and breaking down each on into smaller milestones. Another free alternative is the built-in Calendar. Using it gives you an easy way to add reminders so you don’t have an excuse for missing a goal due to procrastination. If you have an iPhone and require something a little more sophisticated, may I suggest my personal favorite, ListPro. Although it’s now $4.99 and no longer ad supported it is complete with specialized lists such as (To Do, Shopping and Checklists) and gives you the ability to create custom lists. Check out my review if you want to read more about it. If you need the desktop companion appiclation, ListPro for Windows it’s $19.95. Yeah, it’s not cheap but it syncs via WiFi and works with other mobile devices. Unwilling to part with the cash then there are other cheaper and even free alternatives in the App Store and no doubt the same for other smartphones. Financial Health Keeping track of money isn’t exactly easy if you have multiple accounts (personal, business or both) but there are ways to help you rein in control. One way is mint.com. This secure website allows you to track all your accounts for free. It even sends you notifications on low balances and spending trends. Mint as applications for both Android and iPhone but it’s also viewable in most mobile web browsers. Apps like this allow you to see where your money is going. Money is one of those things you shouldn’t have to keep a birds eye on if you have good habits. But, should you be in financial trouble try and work it out yourself. It’s free and gratifying in the end. A good way to start is to grab all your monthly bills and I mean all of them, pull that smartphone out your pocket, put it in “airplane mode” (we don’t want to be interrupted, now do we), and start up the Notes app. Oh, you might also want to get something to drink (no alcohol people) and a snack (no cake either, especially fruit cake). Now you’re ready to work. First off you’re going to put your bills in order with the largest one first. Log each one into the Notes app on your smartphone. Make note of which ones have the highest interest rate because these may be the ones you will want to pay off first. If all you can afford to pay is the minimum balance then start with the bills that you can pay off quicker as this will allow for seeable results. Each time a bill is paid off apply the monthly amount of the paid bill to the next bill you are paying off. Doing this will cut down the time it takes to pay off that bill. Similar to how compounded interest works. This may not happen all this year but you will be on a good start. Remember this is a strategy to lead you to better financial health. Once your are debt free you must remain that way. Physical Health Exercise is another key area people tend to want to focus on in the New Year. Well, I’m going to give you this one piece of advice. Healthy living is a way of life. If your looking for a quick fix or a diet then look elsewhere as they don’t work. You need to fundamentally change how you look at food. Eating and exercise go hand-in-hand. If you don’t do that you will simply yo-yo up and down like a bouncing ball for the rest of your life. Most people start by either getting on some type of an exercise and eating plan or go to a doctor to confirm what they already know. Stop looking for the obvious. Yes, you should go see doctor before starting any exercise plan especially if you don’t exercise at all or are severely overweight. But most of us can start somewhere before that doctor’s appointment rolls around. Since your iPhone is probably always with you I’ll suggest Tapbot’s Weightbot to track weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) which I like and use. Simply jump on that bathroom scale you’ve got and input your weight and height. It will then calculate your BMI. You can then start very modest exercises like stretching in the morning and using the stairs instead of the elevator just to go to the second floor. Drink more water and less sodas and sugar based drinks. Once you’ve gotten the “go ahead” from a doctor and you’re ready to start a more active exercise plan a good freebie is the Nike+ app that’s built into the iPhone. Use it to track your runs distance and assign music playlists to help power through that “wall” we all hit when we’re reaching our limits. You can also sign up for a free Nike+ account to sync your run times and track your progress. This is a great way to stay motivated and create realistic goals for you to accomplish. If you don’t know what Nike+ is check out What Is Nike+. I can think of a few good reasons why you may not want to use Nike+ and I can’t say that I blame you. For that my suggestion is RunKeeper Pro (free until the end of January) in the App Store and in the App Market for Android. Admittedly, I haven’t used the Pro version yet because I don’t run in the winter. But it is similar to the Nike+ but without requiring any specialized shoes. RunKeeper.com also allows you to map your runs which also helps to visualize your improvements. Along with exercise you also need healthier eating and it’s not always easy. A nice place to start is to check out the Epicurious website. They focus on healthier cooking ideas and also have free iPhone and Android apps available. Smaller lighter meals (less fatty foods) and healthy snacks like fruits will help you on your way to a new life. Conclusion I’ve only listed some very basic and limited ideas to hopefully get your creative juices flowing on how to take a new direction in 2011. I’m not an expert on financial management or physical health but I do have experience on what works and have done it myself so I hope each idea was clear enough to understand and point you i a good direction. Each of the apps stated I use and find them to work very well for my needs. I’m in no way trying you sell you on my way of doing things but merely to point out that sucess requires a lifestyle change and change almost always requires us to think differently from what we’ve already learned. Take this year to not only sit down and map out your goals but carry them out and maintain what you’ve started. Doing so will lead to better health, more money and better enjoyment of life. I wish you all the best in 2011 and beyond.
New Year, New Outlook, A Better Start