Productify Your Phone


A friend of mine called from the road and asked me for the phone number for my mechanic. She had a breakdown, and even though I had given her the number when she told me about her concerns weeks before, she had lost it and never made the appointment. She writes down phone numbers in various places, and never has them with her when she needs them.

If you have a central place to keep your important phone numbers that is always with you, you will never face this situation. And if you enter important phone numbers – before you need them – you’ll be even further ahead of the game.

Let’s Be Obvious Here

Most of us have cell phones. It would make sense that we would store our phone numbers in the device where we would use them. But what if you lose/destroy your phone?
One of my colleagues recently dropped his cell phone in the ocean. All his phone numbers were in there, and the service place was able to transfer only half of them to his new phone.

So the solution is a backup.

Backup Your Data!

There are several ways to backup your data. You can cloud sync most phones to preserve your contacts. This is the easiest way to back up your phone numbers because it is built in.

I like to sync my contacts to my Google contacts (more on why in a minute). I do this using an app specifically designed to sync between Google contacts/Gmail and my phone. That way I have all information in both places.

Back up regularly. A backup isn’t any good if it is out of date. I put an entry in my task list to make sure I do the sync at least twice a month.

What Phone Numbers To Have?

I learned the hard way to keep the phone numbers I needed in my phone. Over 10 years ago I found myself in an emergency room after my husband had fallen 15 feet off a ladder. I didn’t have the phone numbers I needed in my phone. I needed the phone number for my daughter’s in-town adopted grandparents to see to her care overnight. I needed the phone number for the neighbor to take care of the dog. And I needed my in-laws’ phone number.

I put together a list of phone numbers I felt I needed in my phone and update the numbers once a year. Here is the list:

  • Animal Control. We still have a lot of wildlife in our area. Animal control has been helpful in removing injured and dead animals.
  • Animal Poison Control. Some animals have no clue what is bad for them. This number will allow you to get first aid help that should be done before heading to the emergency vet.
  • Apartment Emergency number/landlord. If you rent, you need these numbers handy in case a sprinkler system breaks (happened to the people below me once)
  • Bank. Most banks have a 24 hour number to call for service. Good if your cards are denied or lost.
  • Boss. You don’t want to lose your job because you couldn’t tell your boss that you had an emergency.
  • Coworker. This should be a trusted coworker who can help you locate things at work or reliably pass on messages.
  • Credit Card hotlines. The numbers they put on the cards in case of loss or theft don’t do you much good if you don’t have the card with you.
  • Google 411 So much better than regular directory assistance, in the US it can get you reliable information without exorbitant fees.
  • Health Insurance . I also put a copy of my subscriber number and plan number in the memo field.
  • Highway Emergency Assistance. No one wants to be stuck on a highway with a disabled car.
  • Insurance Claims (home/auto) For any claims that might come up due to an accident.
  • Local Hospitals. Put all the hospital numbers in here. Our local hospital is not where they take trauma cases, so I have both our local as well as the regional one.
  • Locksmith. We can all lock ourselves out at the most inconvenient times.
  • Neighbor. One of our neighbors has access to our house, and is comfortable taking care of the dog.
  • Pet sitter. If we are going to be unexpectedly gone, I have a pet sitter who knows the animals’ routines and she does everything she can until we are home again.
  • Pharmacy Good for finding out if prescriptions called in are ready.
  • Poison Control (800-222-1222) If you have young children not only should this be in your phone but next to every phone in the house and on the fridge.
  • Police Non-Emergency. There are times when a police presence is called for when it’s not an emergency. This may include suspicious vehicles, illegal activity that is not criminal or an inebriated person causing a ruckus.
  • Primary Care. Even after hours, your primary care doctor will have an answering service that you can access by calling the regular number.
  • Roadside Assistance/Tow Truck. My car came with roadside assistance, but I still keep the number of the repair shop at the end of the road. The owner lives in our neighborhood and has popped out to change tires for me.
  • School. If you have anyone in school or are going to school, keep the number handy. You may need to notify them of an absence.
  • Security Company. If you have a security company, keep their number on hand. I found this handy when someone called my phone pretending to be my security company but the number didn’t come up with the company’s name.
  • Vet/Emergency Vet.. Our vet offers 24/7 care to regular patients for a small yearly fee. But have the numbers with you in case you need to call ahead.
  • Work. Not only should you have your boss and a trusted coworker, but also the number for the main office to reach HR.
  • Utility Companies: gas, water, electricity, sanitary sewer If you have problems with one of these utilities, it needs to be reported immediately. They will usually tell you if there is an outage and how long until it can be expected to resolve. If you suspect a gas problem, get everyone out of the building and make the call from outside.
  • Secondary Utility Companies: cable, phone, cell phone, internet, These companies may not know there is an outage, and can walk you through trouble-shooting steps to get your service restored.


I left one important contact/set of contacts off of my list. ICE, which stands for In Case of Emergency, should be filled out on your phone. If there isn’t a specific emergency section to your phone, make a contact called ICE and fill in the information.


By keeping the numbers you need in your phone, you will have everything at your fingertips for unexpected situations. But don’t forget to backup!