Digital amnesia grows daily in our lives. Once upon a time, I could remember every single person’s phone number that I knew. Now I can barely remember my phone number. Once I put a phone number into my phone, I promptly forget it.
This is a minor problem, but it highlights that there are some phone numbers that I do need at my fingertips that I use rarely and so am unlikely to remember. I’m speaking here of things like emergency numbers.
One challenge is, in an emergency or urgent situation, I find I can’t always remember what I put the number under. As an example, I can never remember if I stored the local number for the police under ‘Police’ or ‘RCMP.’ I’m not talking about 911. That one I remember.
I have come up with a solution that works for me and it may work for you, too if you have an iPhone. This may work similarly on Android but I don’t have one to test.
My solution takes advantage of the fact that you can change the label for a phone number entered for a contact.
I created a contact called ‘Emergency.’ When I edit that contact, I can add phone numbers. When I click on the green plus sign to add the cursor goes to the phone number. After entering the number, click on the Label on the left (usually defaults to ‘home’ or ‘work’) then you’ll get a list of phone number Labels. Way down at the bottom you’ll see a selection ‘Add Custom Label.’ This is the secret sauce.
I can enter any Label I want. In the example above I entered ‘RCMP.’ Now if I need to call the RCMP local number, I search for Help and see the list of emergency and urgent numbers and I tap RCMP to call them.
In my Emergency contact, I have RCMP, RAPP, Wildfire, Flood, etc. So, I don’t have to remember what everything is filed under. It’s all under Help. To dial I just find Emergency in my contacts then hit the correct label I need to dial.
By the way, this trick isn’t limited to emergency numbers. You can use it for anything where there is a group of numbers logically connected. Another example might be for a company that you call all the time, but there are several people that you deal with and they change regularly. Instead of creating a contact for each person, create the company as a contact and add the phone number for each person changing the label to the person’s name or perhaps their position.
Then, when the person changes, you can change the name, leave the number and leave it under the company. Now you don’t have to remember each person you deal with, just the company.