Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ADHD: Wicked Fast iPhone Photo ToDo Lists

When I made the transition from paper to digital back in the 90s when Palm Pilots still roamed the earth and Man was preparing for the impending Y2K apocalypse, I said good-bye to that trusty old standby for ToDo lists: the pen & paper. It was all digital for me, and I was prepared to spend as much time as was required to get my very complicated repeating ToDos to beep on cue and sync with the desktop for security. It may have occasionally required hours to bang out syncing bugs, but I was living in the future, baby!

Now that I'm older and wiser and finished selling a box of old Palm Pilots and Sony Cliés on eBay for $20, I realize digital isn't always better, and I keep a pen & paper handy just in case. But I still love living in the future. I'm just smarter about it.

One smart trick I've come up with is to create fast ToDo lists by using my iPhone's camera when I don't have time to write items down. iPhones, smartphones, and most plain vanilla cellphones come with built-in cameras. That built-in camera is perfect for on-the-fly list making. Late for a meeting, but need to pop by the store on your way back to buy a few things? Snap a picture of them on your way out the door.

Don't be fancy. Don't launch your simulated analogue tintype app with 40 types of papers and variable temperature settings. Just snap, snap, snap! When you arrive at the store, open your photo album, go shopping, and delete each photo as you add the item to your cart.

You can group the items into one photo, or, as I prefer, run around the house and snap each item in its habitat. Don't worry about people seeing pictures of your toilet paper roll. You'll be deleting it within the hour. However, if you use cloud services and don't want to clutter up your stream with these ToDo photos, use a camera app that keeps its photos separate from the system roll. Camera+ on the iPhone is excellent for this. Just don't let yourself be distracted by its dizzying array of imaging tweaks.

There are apps (e.g. VisualList) that let you create complicated folders of ToDo lists & projects built entirely of photos, but I recommend sticking with your built-in camera for quick and dirty ToDo list making. With practice, you'll be surprised how quickly you can create these lists without picking up a single pad of paper.

Follow me on Twitter as @SplinteredMind. I also explore iPhone photography with Instagram as douglascootey (peek). And if you're a glutton for punishment you can friend me on Facebook as well, or find me on Path where I explore my coping strategy process with varying results..