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May 31, 2011

Windows Phone helps parents work smarter

Due to either my role on the marketing team or my brief stint as a wannabe mommy blogger, Brian and Michael invited me to post occasionally. (Ok, so probably only 10 people ever read my blog, they were all related to me, and neither of them were Brian or Michael. But I do work full-time at Microsoft and have two toddlers at home). And recently we’ve seen a lot of interest in our phone from women – especially moms. Not just because the Windows Phone UI looks kind of “pretty” (although we do get that a lot), but because the phone can help you save time and stay organized—a top priority for busy moms, dads, or anybody trying to balance multiple priorities.

Just this weekend, posted an article Windows Phone 7: A Smart Cell Phone for Busy Parents and we recently hooked up with Harris Interactive on a survey to see just how far people would go to reclaim a few precious minutes.

We found that 90% of moms say they would be happier if they could get just ten minutes back each day. And most would give up sex, alcohol, TV or chocolate to get that extra time. Combine that with the fact that 70% of moms say that keeping track of schedules and to do lists is one of their biggest time hits and coming up with smarter ways to use a smartphone starts to make a lot of sense.

So with that in mind here are some ways I use my phone to keep myself a little more sane:

  • Digital Post-its: At work I love Post Its. I am constantly sticking them on my desk or my monitor as reminders of what I have to do that day. I use my start screen the same way by pinning things there as reminders – my integrated calendar (Outlook for work and Windows Live for family stuff), which links directly to Bing so I can easily get directions to where I need to go, my playlist for the gym (as motivation to actually GO to the gym), a OneNote list for tracking the grocery list, or my friend (who I have been meaning to call).
  • Built-in Search: The built-in search button gets me to Bing in one click so I can quickly find what I need on the Web – whether it’s helping me quickly find a Starbucks or place to eat in a new city or neighborhood or to find critical information quickly (like who got kicked off American Idol).
  • Office for when you’re not in the office: I’ve learned that when someone promises to send a document by “end of day” that means something different to everyone. The Office Hub lets me not only easily view documents on my phone, but also edit them so I don’t have to wait by a computer when I know I need to review something.
  • A better friend in 5 minutes a day: The fact that my Facebook feed is built-in to the People Hub helps me stay connected. Whenever I have a few minutes I can keep up with what’s going on with my friends or post a happy birthday to someone’s wall without having to open an app (which keeps me from being “that” friend that forgot someone’s birthday…again).
  • [Insert your favorite apps here]: In addition to all the built-in features that help save me time, there are over 18,000 apps to do everything from quickly compare prices with ShopSavvy (lots of stores will honor competitors prices if you can show the same product advertised for less), get recipes (Big Oven lets you put in 3 ingredients you have and get ideas for what you can make) or entertain grumpy toddlers (my kids love Animal Sounds app). Check out Michael’s occasional Pinworthy column to keep up on the latest from Marketplace.