I asked Brian Jarvis to share communications tips for a situation I have no doubt arises at the worst possible time: losing your phone or contacts. Great ideas in this post that everyone who has a cell phone can use:
While traveling on business recently, my iPhone suddenly went blank. Pressing the touch screen produced only blurry lines. Facing a full schedule of meetings the next day, I had no laptop, no car, and no Apple Store within 100 miles. Epic fail, anyone?
Let’s face it. Sooner or later your smartphone may go kaput. You might drop it one too many times, or leave it on the floor of a cab. Or it could be snatched out of your hands, as happened to my former roommate while on a bus. Cell phone theft is on the rise; so is nomophobia.
The only thing worse than losing your smartphone is being unprepared. Consider the following four steps to save yourself a coronary if it does happen:
1) BUY A BACKUP PHONE
I used an old Nokia flip-screen to survive four months in Europe last year, where exorbitant data roaming charges kept my iPhone at bay. Cheapo cells are indeed cheap: Samsung’s Entro costs $11.99, for example, and Virgin Mobile offers 400 minutes/15¢ texts at $20 per month with no contract.
When traveling, keep your backup in a separate compartment of your suitcase, and if needed you can activate it from a landline or a retail outlet. You might not have email or apps, but you can at least make calls and send texts.
Even if your service provider is willing to overnight you a new phone, that’s still a full day of going without. Plus you may have to visit a specialty store to set it up and retrieve your data. If you’re like me, 24 phone-less hours can feel like a lifetime.
2) KEEP YOUR CONTACTS CLOSE
I can count on one hand the phone numbers I have memorized. Thanks to cloud storage, it’s easier than ever to access data remotely. But that won’t help in the short term if you don’t have another device handy, not to mention a Wi-Fi’d coffee shop.
You need a hard copy of your most important contacts on paper
Or get a paper personal phone and address book and keep it updated!
Yes you can still buy paper address books.
Or try this old-school tactic: Type a list of all your important contacts and print out their numbers on a single page. It may sound like a lot of work, but I finished in 20 minutes. Keep it with your backup cell. Now there’s no excuse to go incommunicado.
3. STAY ON (TEXT) MESSAGE
In 2012, chances are that you text-message far more than you talk to live voices. When my iPhone died, the worst part was the inability to send those last-minute texts we take for granted (“Stuck in traffic”, “Be there in 10″, “You awake?”, etc.).
I borrowed a friend’s laptop and took to the social networks to announce my no-phone blues, only to find that most of my contacts don’t checks tweets and FB messages every five minutes. Texts, however, are guaranteed. So if you have another device equipped for messaging, such as an iPad with iOS 5, get it set up before your trip.
There are Web sites and services that let you send text messages from a PC.
Sign up for one now – and test to make sure it works by confirming you can
send to our most important contacts and they receive what you sent.
4) DON’T GAMBLE ON INSURANCE
Reviews on cell phone insurance are mixed. Premiums often cost less than a monthly latte, but replacement phones may require deductibles or come refurbished. Regardless of what’s in the fine print, knowing that you’re fully backed up will relieve the pressure of making spot decisions—such as whether to spend an hour dealing with your service provider in the middle of a hectic workday, or whether to keep praying that a kindhearted soul returns the Droid you left in a bathroom stall (maybe try texting your lost phone from your backup?).
Once the stress wears off, you’ll be in a better place to decide
if it’s worth it to cough up $400 for a brand newbie with 64GB,
or get by with a cheaper model until your contract expires.
It goes without saying that you should sync your data before traveling. But there’s a difference between general backup and immediate backup, and we live in an immediate world. So back yourself up—immediately.
Today’s GrowMap guest writer Brian Jarvis is a communications consultant in San Francisco. Find out what a communications consultant has to offer by clicking Brian’s name. You can follow him on Twitter @BCJstudios
FIND YOUR PHONE
- LifeHacker: Five Best Phone Recovery Tools
- PCMag: How to Find a Lost Cell Phone
- LifeHacker: Find your cell phone with Google Maps’ click-to-call
- HackCollege: How to Survive Losing Your Phone