Posted January 19, 2012

How to Do Business on the Road With Just Your iPhone

Travel Tips

{A special guest post by Donald O’Grady, Kimpton’s Director of Property Technology}

Donald O’Grady (the biggest tech brain in our office!)

Traveling with a baby can be challenging. Not only do you have to bring the baby, but also all sorts of accessories to keep them happy. The same is true for your laptop. Even with ultra-sleek models like the Macbook Air and Samsung Series 9 you still need to schlep a power adapter, mouse, etc.

I have good news for those feeling weighted down by their technology. I recently took a few trips with only my iPhone and can happily report that flying as an “empty nester” can be quite productive.

I should note there are some trade-offs for those that rely on Outlook, like I do. Sending and receiving e-mail and scheduling appointments using the Calendar are not a problem (both work in essentially the same way on both the laptop and the iPhone). But if you use the Tasks or Notes features within Outlook, these do not synchronize with the iPhone by default. Still, you can take care of that kind of business with an iPhone or iPad. Here’s how.


I teach a Time Management class at Kimpton and am a big fan of using Outlook Tasks to track all of my assignments. But that system only works if I am always able to immediately enter a task whenever I get a request or an assignment. I tried wearing my laptop in a holster to accomplish this, but even I realized it made me look dorky (and I work in IT).

With my old BlackBerry, tasks entered on my phone sync seamlessly to Outlook. But with my new iPhone, this required another solution. After doing some research, I settled on an iPhone app called Toodledo. That name is so embarrassing I almost don’t want to mention it, but the product itself is pretty cool. You install the app on your iPhone, sign up for an account at (don’t make me say it again) and then configure Outlook to sync to that website.  See this link for step-by-step procedures on this process (and yes, I used then Chromatic Dragon Outlook tool even though it’s no longer supported).

Now tasks I enter on my phone show in Outlook and vice versa. I have more flexibility in setting defaults and priorities for tasks then I had with BlackBerry.


I also use Notes both on my phone and on my laptop for just about everything. I’m actually writing this blog on my iPhone right now. It’s been so long that I’ve written anything on paper that I want to track down my 3rd grade teacher and tell her she was wrong: My penmanship really doesn’t matter.

But synching Notes directly between the iPhone and Outlook isn’t an option.

I used my new iPhone as an excuse to migrate over to Microsoft OneNote on my laptop instead of the Notes feature within Outlook. This was a huge productivity booster because, as the name implies, OneNote lets you enter everything once then easily categorize, search and share it. For example, whenever I open an appointment in my Outlook Calendar I have a OneNote icon available. With one click it opens a page with the appointment name, date and time and a list of all attendees. I can take notes throughout the meeting right on that page. Then I can e-mail these pre-formatted notes with one more click and move this page into its proper Category within OneNote.

There is a OneNote app for the iPhone which is super-easy to use. But synching it to my desktop required setting up an account on Microsoft’s (free) Skydrive service. See this link for additional details on the sync setup. Once configured, entries made on my laptop sync within minutes to my phone, within the proper category, and all the content is searchable. But even better, if I attend a meeting without my laptop, I can take the same notes on my phone and they will be waiting for me back at my desk.

So now that I am fully functional on the road without my laptop, I am able to fly through security with one less encumbrance. And I have some space left in my carry-on for the awesome new Kimpton snacks I took from the mini bar.

Happy travels!
~ Donald


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