Over the past month and a half I have come to truly appreciate the difference between Mobility and Portability.
This difference has had a significant impact on my productivity, and my volume of work. The basic difference is mobile phone, always on and always connected in your pocket where you can work while in motion and your portable laptop which you can bring with you to any location and set yourself up to work. It seems like a small difference but it is a significant one.
Recently my son found himself in desperate need of his own cell phone due to a new development with the iPhone 6 release date set I tossed him my iPhone 5 and gave him three rules. 1.) No Games. 2.) No Bragging. 3.) To Remember He’s on the Unlimited Plan.
We ported my number to an ancient phone I had in a drawer knowing that the iPhone 6 would be shipping in just a few weeks. Just a few weeks. I am now in my 5th week of my 4-6 week estimated backorder. I still do my work on my laptop and am very portable. Meaning I can get up and move to anywhere I need to be, but I am no longer mobile.
There are several things I have noticed through this time and several areas where the flow of my day has been altered. I had known that I was a heavy mobile user, but I hadn’t realized just how much I had shifted onto my iPhone and how much time that was saving me in the course of the average day.
Planning & Organization:
I’ve mentioned that I use ASANA to plan and organize my days. It is a system that works very well. One of the things that works well with the system I have is the ability to have tasks repeat and their fantastic mobile app. There is a significantly different feeling to planning your day on the laptop with all of the tabs and apps and distractions. Previously I would sit out on the deck in an adirondack chair, my feet up, and a hot cup of tea. I’d add in the tasks that were my personal priorities, adjust them and the automatically scheduled tasks in priority order, and then move my locations (Section Headings in Asana) to break the work up. Doing the same task at my desk doesn’t have the same feel, and without the phone always with me.. I have a new apprehension that I’m going to forget to put something into ASANA.
Luckily the Exchange Server at work is configured to send text messages. Without this I would be completely distracted and checking my email constantly. I don’t receive a ton of email, but enough. Faculty to faculty emails usually only require a sentence or two as a reply. Even emails to students are rarely over a paragraph or two. The perfect length for Siri to dictate. One of the things that I love to be able to do is to offer quick response times. Being mobile meant that I could go to the grocery store and if there was an issue I could deal with it immediately and let it go. I think that is the biggest difference between being mobile and being portable is that although being mobile meant I was carrying my email with me, and could respond at a moments notice. Emotionally I was able to “let go” if there was a need my phone would buzz, I would deal with the need, and I would be finished. Having this reassurance meant that if I was walking the dog with the boys I was walking the dog with the boys. Now my mind wonders. And if there is an issue that comes up. I need to drop what I’m doing and find a place where I can be portable open the laptop and deal with it. The delay is frustrating, and I can’t help but think that the length of the delay is simply time lost.
I’ve shared before that I’m working on my dissertation, and many who follow me on social media know that I keep up with research and articles related to Distance Education, Instructional Technology, Digital Marketing, and Media Communications. Those are my four big areas of interest. For my dissertation work I spend quite a bit of time on ERIC and EbscoHost. EbscoHost has a great iOS app that I use to email myself articles all of the time. And I have quite a few feeds in my RSS Reader, the iOS app “Reader” which sync’s with Feedly. For articles of interest I send to Quick Read through a fun IFTTT.com script. Much of my reading is done in those stolen moments when waiting in line, standing at the printer while it prints, and other moments like that. Needless to say without a mobile phone my research and reading this past month have been frustratingly less than is typical.
I do my best to stay connected and share via social media. Again in those “stolen moments” where otherwise I would get frustrated that I’m standing in line, or wonder why I walked to the printer so soon. When I’m sitting at my desk I am completely focused at the task at hand. Not much time for social media outreach there. As a result my social media outreach and sharing of useful articles via social media have both taken a significant hit this past month or so as my “Buffer.com” buffer ran out of things to share and I wasn’t filling it back up and not taking the time to interact.
The overall hit on my productivity has taken a hit on my writing schedule. I have made less progress on my dissertation, and have had virtually no time for any blogging. Although I didn’t do much actual writing on my mobile phone I did use it to free up time that I would use my laptop for more writing.
Overall I have discovered just how much more productive I have been with my iPhone. Once the new one comes in I’m going to try and use this awareness to intentionally streamline my workflow in the effort of both getting more done while simultaneously adding more freedom of movement back into my day to day. After hearing me talk about the difference in my workflow and knowing that it is the iPhone 6 plus on it’s way my son has challenged me to try and work exclusively on the iPhone for the first month I have it, to make note of any time I need to use my laptop, and to try and find an iPhone way to make those tasks happen as well.