By Dirk Zeller

Portable planners have an incredibly wide variety of uses. When traveling via air, executives turn their phones or tablets to airplane mode as soon as the flight attendant starts the pre-flight announcements. The inflight Internet allows businesspeople to connect with the office cloud, update their appointments, and send emails long before the plane is parked at the gate.

Beware: Some smartphones don’t work with some brands of CRM software. Be sure to check whether your smartphone is compatible with your CRM before investing in either. Also check whether you can sync from remote locations or whether you need to physically be in your office to sync.

In addition, some smartphones, as well as some CRM software, won’t sync if you’re connected remotely. This means email you send and receive, calls you make, notes from those calls, and appointments booked by your staff won’t show up in your smartphone — or in the server containing your CRM — resulting in missed appointments, duplications, wasted time, and lost revenue.

Despite all their benefits, smartphones do have drawbacks: You get married to the technology; you can be too accessible; if you lose the smartphone, it’s as if you lost your whole life and database. Although most of the world has embraced the smartphone revolution, at times you may want to be less accessible.

When deciding whether a smartphone will save or cost you time overall, consider your job and the level of concentration that you need to perform well. Do you really need to be accessible at a moment’s notice? Are you the type of person who can put it off or down? Do you answer all the phone calls that come to your home? If you’re unable to screen calls at home, you may have a hard time screening your smartphone.