From the comfort of your own phone
Holiday organization is in the palm of your hand
Vicki L. Morrison
Gone are the days of scribbled sticky notes, stuck to every available surface, during the holidays. There are better ways to keep yourself, your family and your office organized. All you have to do is look in the palm of your hand – behold the smartphone and a world of organizational, timesaving holiday bliss. From in-flight to in-laws, dinner parties to office parties – during the holidays intelligent use of your phone's applications will keep your chestnuts from roasting on an open fire.
Shared electronic calendars are perfect for busy families on the go too; especially around the holidays when everyone has events on the same day – easily accessible on your phone, sounding tones as reminders, these calendars are simple to share and easy to edit. So you're in charge of the company office party – you've set up a committee, your co-workers are willing to help, but you need everyone to stay on task. You have to keep track of the invitations, the caterer, the decorations, and the gifts. Set up a temporary shared electronic calendar, just like a typical project calendar, when your fabulously organized office party is complete simply delete it.
On-line banking is the easiest way to keep your cash flowing, or close the door to the vault, over the holidays. Pick up your phone and check your budget frequently – of course, if you are a bit of a Scrooge this doesn't apply to you. Sticky notes are a thing of the past when you can keep track of your gift giving using an application; make a list of things to purchase and check it against what you've already bought. Keep track by person you are buying for, by date you need to purchase the gift, or by location of purchase. Need to buy for that special someone, like a mother in law? Not sure if the gift you've chosen is appropriate? Use your phone to take a picture of the potential gift, right there in the store. Send the picture to someone who might know if you've chosen wisely; perhaps your father in law, for a 'ya or nay'. Instant message equals instant answer and instant disaster aversion.
Entertaining over the holidays and tired of serving the same dishes your mother served in 1978? Why not turn to your phone for new and fresh recipes. Many applications allow for the creation of grocery lists as you browse and save recipes. While you're thinking about the delicious food you are going to serve it's logical to pair beverages with your choices. Mom's rainbow sherbet, ginger-ale punch was a groovy addition to her holiday parties, but perhaps you could update your cocktail selection using a wine, or mixology application. If all else fails, and you are simply too pressed for time to prepare food and drink for your guests, there are several apps available to help you choose a fantastic local restaurant.
There are so many parties, and get-togethers over the holidays we spend a lot of our time on the road – always best to check the weather before heading out; a quick glance at your phone will give you the information you require. Is the forecast calling for heavy snow, leaving you wondering if Cousin Ed's plane is going to be delayed? Install a flight tracker app on your phone so you'll know if your share of the pumpkin pie just doubled, or not. Your guests aren't leaving until they've seen what Ottawa has to offer. Install a map application on your phone and they'll never know you were temporarily lost in your own city.
Forgetting to bring your camera to a special holiday gathering can be annoying. Solving the problem can be as easy as turning to your phone. Not an application, but a function of your phone, your camera will capture reasonable photos and movies. The antics at the office holiday party, and your niece's first choral performance will not be forgotten. Music makes the holidays, and creating your playlists is something you'll want to do early. Keep in mind dinner parties, kid-centered gatherings, office parties, and nostalgic family moments require separate playlists; all of which can be set up on your phone.
Organizing your apps will organize your life during the holiday season. With all the time you've saved setting your budget, making your lists, planning your menus, and shopping locally you'll be able to relax. Curl up with Canadian Military Family Magazine. Maybe you want to sit back with a good book – why not check out an e-book, written by a military spouse? Better yet, make a cup of coffee, pick up your smartphone and spend some time talking to friends you haven't touched base with since your last posting – after all, that's what the holidays are really about.
Vicki L. Morrison Writer
Freelancer writer by day, novelist by night. Vicki contributes to a variety of newspapers, and national magazines. Given a choice between chocolate, and coffee she'd be hard pressed to choose, given that both are jet fuel for writers. As the former Executive Director of 14 Wing Military Family Resource Centre, a patriotic military spouse, and 'Mama' to three beautelligent kids Vicki has an in-depth understanding of the strength, and resiliency of military families. Learn more about Vicki, and her work at http://vickilmorrison.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/morrisonminutes