I have recently been trying to separate out my work life and my personal life in the digital world. My work provides an Exchange account for me that I can sync my phone to, and I also had GMail set up (in the standard IMAP sync), but it was frustrating because my GMail contacts were not able to be synced up.
I recently found that GMail had the option to sync as if it were an Exchange server, and decided to set it up. Contacts, Calendar, and Mail worked great from GMail, so I decided to move all of my personal contacts from my work address book to my GMail.
I had already separated out my personal contacts into their own folder, so I simply exported the personal contacts folder from outlook to CSV (Windows) format, and imported them into GMail. One thing that you will have to watch out for is phone numbers. It will only add those phone numbers to the iPhone if they are in a category the iPhone supports (could be an exchange standards issue though). I used “Mobile”, “Home”, and “Work” for the phone category.
I also added birthdays, and any photos I could find by finding the person on facebook, find the photo, right click on the “Download” link for the photo and copying it, and then in GMail, change the profile picture using a Web Address, and paste it in.
For businesses in GMail contacts, you can just set the business name by going to Add->Title and Company at the bottom, and just add a company, without a name or title. Doing this will avoid First/Last disordering.
I would really like to see a feature that would combine spouses.
Another cool feature of GMail’s exchange connector, is that you can search the Global Addressbook for names that are not in My Contacts. That will keep your list cleaned up, but still allow you access to everyone that you’ve ever emailed.
I have also made use of GMail’s task list for personal items, and Outlook’s task list for work, but the iPhone doesn’t support syncing those yet. The calendars are working great though. I’ll keep all of my wedding and personal events on Google Calendar, and any work events I will keep on the server at work.
This is really going to help my organization. I’m also thinking about what to do for my garage and house. It tends to get messy a few days after I clean it, so I want to implement a few things to keep me organized. I’ll try to update it with any solutions I come up with, so stay tuned.