Which is worse: Losing your phone or your wallet?

The other day, I tweeted the question, “Would you rather lose your phone or your wallet?”

The question seemed to hit a nerve.  At some point, each of us has probably endured one or the other.  (And for some, more often than others…)

But, more interesting, was that the camps were divided.  Many said they would rather lose their phone.  However, almost as many said they would pick their wallet to lose.

Are you surprised that some would rather lose their wallet before their phone?  It just goes to show how much we have become dependent on these little devices.  Whether an iPhone, Blackberry, or even a simple cellphone, many of us have come to rely on them as our pocket brains.

I know many people who would not be able to recite their spouse’s number without their phone!

What’s in your wallet?

Like a popular ad slogan asks, “Do you know what’s in your wallet?”  This is going to be an important question after you lose it.

The majority of people do not have an inventory of what is in their wallet.  So, when they do lose it, they are scrambling to figure out who to call to report lost cards.

In this day and age, what in your wallet is not really replaceable?  Credit cards? A driver’s license?  Even receipts are not as important as they once were.

Many people live solely by their cards and rarely use cash.  I do this, so it could be particularly inconvenient from this aspect.  And, of course, losing your driver’s license can be a pain if you travel often and need it for ID.

Reducing the impact:

Most people have heard the popular “inventory your wallet” trick.  Simply lay all your cards on a photocopier.  Copy.  Turn them all over.  Copy again.  Now you have a simple record of all your cards that you can put in a safe place.

In this day and age, it is also possible to do this inventory with a digital camera.  Ensure you get clear pictures and file those pics where you will be able to get to them.

The catch is…most people have not done this.  Do you have this inventory?  If not, do it today!

Oh no! What is on your phone???

Losing your phone can seem to be a very personal issue.  Even an invasion of your privacy.  People are attached to their phones, even addicted.  Many sleep with them by their side.

What would you be worried about if you lost your phone?

Now, I am not saying that all of us would have a “30 Rock” moment.  But, our phones carry many important things: contacts, pictures, information and sometimes account info and passwords.

Not to mention the cellphone is most people’s lifeline to their lives.  I lost my phone recently before a big family event, and it was not fun.  It was complicated trying to figure out how to coordinate meeting people and picking up family at the airport.  Things we take for granted every day.

Tips for Reducing the risk:

- Ensure your information is backed up.  Your contacts and address book should be backed up or synced.  Many phones can now synchronize with an online account.  In the case of the iPhone, you can back the entire device up by just syncing it with your computer.  Losing your phone may be expensive, but you can have all of your info restored in short order.

- Do not store important information like credit card numbers, pin #’s, and passwords in easily accessible places on your phone.  Many people put this important data in the simple notes application of their phone.  If you need this info on your device, get a protected password app that is designed to keep prying eyes away.

- Do not store potentially embarrassing personal information on your phone.  You never know when a co-worker or stranger may end up with access to your phone.

- Take advantage of the technology available for your device.  In the case, of the iPhone, you can subscribe to Apple’s MobileMe service to give you the ability to “Find Your iPhone” and even remotely erase your info.  Some have debated the value vs. cost of the service, but I highly recommend it just for this one feature.

Better Safe Than Sorry…

The key to protecting yourself from stress and wasted time after an accident like losing your wallet or phone is to take precautionary actions before it happens.

If you have not inventoried your wallet… do it today!

If you have a phone that is capable of being backed up… do it today!

What are your best and worst experiences losing your wallet or phone?  Please tell us in the comments below.

No time for time management? Check out my online course designed to jump start your productivity! Take it online on your time and pace. As well, get direct access to me for advice and questions. Get details or enroll now by clicking here!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Ken

    I have one of those really thin wallets (called an all-ett, I believe). I keep a minimum number of cards in it, so there’s not much I need to inventory, but it’s important enough not to lose. Keep your phone locked as well. I know a few people that keep passwords and such in their wallet — equally as bad as an unlocked phone.

    • Craig

      Ken, agree with your thoughts!

      Yes, I think most people do not use the password/lock feature on their phone. They see it as too inconvenient. They don’t want to have to unlock their phone every time they take it out of their pocket.

      One solution is to set a lock time that is 1 hour or more. That way, it does not come up often, but yet if you lose your phone it will lock itself.

  • Ken

    I have one of those really thin wallets (called an all-ett, I believe). I keep a minimum number of cards in it, so there’s not much I need to inventory, but it’s important enough not to lose. Keep your phone locked as well. I know a few people that keep passwords and such in their wallet — equally as bad as an unlocked phone.

    • Craig

      Ken, agree with your thoughts!

      Yes, I think most people do not use the password/lock feature on their phone. They see it as too inconvenient. They don’t want to have to unlock their phone every time they take it out of their pocket.

      One solution is to set a lock time that is 1 hour or more. That way, it does not come up often, but yet if you lose your phone it will lock itself.

  • Pingback: 7 Time Management Mistakes You Are Making With Your Smartphone | Time Management Ninja | Producteev by Jive