Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Organizing your Address Book and iPhone Contacts for maximum productivity: the iPhone as a Mobile Office

For business users of the iPhone, who want a Mobile Office for maximum productivity and efficiency, everybody has their own strategy in order to get organized. This is what I do:

I organize my Contact Groups using my Mac's Address Book before I sync them to the iPhone. For instance, I have used the following Address Book Groups (in no particular order):
  • Doctors: a list of all important doctors and health care providers we may need
  • Restaurants: a list of all eateries and take-aways for hungry photographers
  • Clients: all past, present and future clients
  • Suppliers: all current and past suppliers
  • Home & Building (we are about to build a new house): all builders, architects, contractors and suppliers concerning building a new home
  • Family: all our relatives
  • Friends: all our friends and acquaintances 
  • Colleagues (other Photographers): colleagues that we have any relationships with
  • Pricelist: this is an interesting entry. We have a "Pricelist" group in our Address Book, in order to have all our services readily accessible on all our Macs and our iPhone. 
  • Public Services: Police Departments, Fire Departments, Hospitals (double entry with "Doctors"), Municipalities, Tax Office, Post Offices, Public Health Insurance, Cinemas, The Ombudsman, Ports & Ferries information (we live on an island) etc etc
These are then automatically synced to the iPhone, as well as all other Macs we use through our MobileMe (formerly .Mac) subscription. On the iPhone 3G, go to Settings> Mail, Contacts, Calendars > "Add Account" and enter your MobileMe account.

A few simple business productivity tips for the savvy iPhone user in order to get the most out of it: 
Organize iPhone contacts by First Name or organize iPhone contacts by Last Name. My wife likes to organize her iPhone contacts by first name, whereas I like them sorted by last name.
On your iPhone, go to Settings/ Mail, Contacts, Calendars and scroll down to "Contacts" and select your preferred "Sort Order" and "Display Order". This way, you keep your iPhone contacts organized and sorted the way you like.
For all entries, I enter all relevant information I can get my hands on. Fax numbers, mobile numbers, names of spouses and children, birthdays, email addresses. You never know when they might come in handy and you might as well be prepared. Furthermore, I enter all important "Notes" in the Notes section. 
For instance, in the Clients category, I will note a wedding client's wedding date, as well as package details. In the Suppliers Category, I will enter all relevant staff I have talked to on specific dates and noting the topics of our conversation (if important).
I also use photographs whenever possible, especially when it comes to clients. There is nothing worse than a client who booked you to photograph their wedding a few weeks ago, coming in to finalize some details and you not recognizing them!! It has happened to me in the past, and trust me, it is not very good for your business, nor is it a sign of being organized, efficient or productive. It is only human when you have 40-50 wedding clients and another 500 general clients per year, but taking a picture of them after they sign a contract is a good idea! You can easily look them up in your Address Book on the Mac or on the iPhone Contacts.

I have become a lot more organized, efficient and productive since I started using the Mac's Address Book and iPhone Contacts for business.

1 comment:

  1. Adding groups to the iPhone Contact list is unfortunately only available under Mac. Windows users who wish to create contact groups on their iPhone might find this Apple-supported thread useful:


    I had a bit of trouble until finding out how to set up contact groups on my iPhone under Windows.


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