Keeping It Oh So Simple

Posted on January 1, 2015 by

“Email, instant messaging, and cell phones give us fabulous communication ability, but . . . that communication is totally disorganized.” ~ Marilyn vos Savant

A couple months ago when I was getting coffee, I watched a guy – I’ll call him Otis – talking on the phone to his bank about a mortgage application. The bank wanted documents that he had already sent in twice. Boy, was that conversation painful to watch! Otis kept fiddling with his phone, signing in and out of different accounts and trying to find the emails and records he had sent to the bank. He was doing three things at once on his phone, and none of it was going well. It was clear he was getting frustrated, and with all that juggling he hung up on the bank manager three times. I’m pretty sure I saw smoke start to come out of his ears. The bank manager probably wasn’t having much fun, either.

Ah, technology!

In the olden days – you know, when your phone came in two heavy pieces and you had to plug it into the wall before it would work – using a telephone was a pretty simple matter. You dialed the number. It rang. Someone answered. You talked. Easy! And keeping track of appointments and contacts was easy, too. You just needed a pen, a calendar, and an address book. It wasn’t rocket science. The hardest part was keeping it from getting too messy to read.

Things sure have changed.

Nowadays, your phone isn’t even called a phone anymore. It’s a “wireless device.” Internet, calendar, games, music, documents, business applications and more, it’s all there. Now, sometimes it feels like you need a Ph.D. to master the darned thing.

But all that sophisticated new technology can still be just as messy as writing everything down on paper. It seems like everything you do on a smartphone requires multiple steps. Even just answering the phone can be a challenge if you’ve got a new device. And let’s face it: It’s annoying and time-consuming to switch applications every time you want to do something different.

Thankfully, software developers are coming up with some solutions, and there are programs now that help you switch applications more easily. But even some of these are a pain in the neck to use.

That’s why I really like Acompli (, which helps me manage my contacts, calendar, emails, and documents pretty much simultaneously. Not only is it easy to use, but it’s free – and it’s available for both Androids and iPhones.

Acompli integrates your Yahoo, Google, Microsoft Outlook and Exchange accounts, gathering up all your email, contacts, and calendars to give you access to all of it at once. You can also link to your accounts in OneDrive, iCloud, Dropbox, and Box to give you fast access to your cloud storage. The end result: push-button, easy access to multiple functions, multiple accounts, and multiple providers, all at the same time.

The best feature of Acompli is its simplicity. The interface is about as intuitive as it gets. Press on the little envelope for mail. Press on the little calendar for your calendar; you get the idea. You can do all the basics, too – you can receive and send emails, search for a contact, set up meetings with invitees, or grab a document from cloud storage.

Acompli has some additional tricks that are really handy. For instance, it allows you to create a “focused” inbox – that is, an inbox that just contains your important mail. It learns what to put in the focused inbox by tracking which emails you open, and you can manually override it as well. Another great feature: the ability to send a quick email that tells when you’re available for a meeting. The email you’re drafting links directly to your calendar. It’s fast and fun to use.

Acompli does have its limitations. True, you can do all kinds of great things like sending emails, adding an event, inviting people, and downloading documents from the cloud. But for some of these functions, what you get is a “lite” version. It will probably be just fine for about 90% of what you do. But if you need to do something that’s a little fancier – say, set up a recurring meeting, or cancel a single occurrence from a recurring appointment, or search for very old emails – you may find you’re better off doing those tasks through the original provider.

Still, Acompli has really simplified my life. I don’t have to remember which email account I used to send a message, because I can search multiple email accounts at once. I don’t have to view my business and personal accounts separately. My whole life just kind of blends together. Not bad for a free application!

But what happened to Otis? Well, I’ve got good news and bad news. I’ve run into Otis twice since that first day in the coffee shop. He seems to have gotten a handle on how to operate his phone, because he’s much calmer. That’s a big relief, because that guy was really on the edge.

The bad news? His bank is asking Otis for the same documents. Again. For the third time.

I think the bank manager needs Acompli.

Don DeRosaDon DeRosa is recognized as one of the nation’s top 21 real estate investors in the New York Times bestseller “The Millionaire Real Estate Investor”. Don, who is a full-time investor, trainer, and mentor, is the first to offer his complete investing system on a mobile platform. Don teaches investors how to Make More and Work Less by being more efficient, productive and competitive, leveraging mobile technology and apps on the iPad, iPhone, Android and other mobile devices.

Contact Don DeRosa

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