My phone screen in October 2019 - And Why

Last week I was sitting there and getting just a bit annoyed by my phone, it seemed cluttered.

Usually I had a very clean layout of a 4×4 grid. 4 folders on the top:

  • Work
  • Connect
  • Go
  • Sift

The idea behind this is to cluster the apps I am mostly using. But as I am a great procrastinator, what do you think, I was using a lot?

Right; the wrong apps, like social media and other distracting stuff.

Ask the right question

So after putting in some thought and coming up with some alternate ideas, I came to the real issue. I was asking the wrong question. The question is not, what I am using the most, the real question is: What should I be using on my phone?

Often our phones are crowded like our material world, with just-in-case items. Airline apps, public transport apps from different cities, apps we tried, apps we got rid of because we found an alternative.

And the worst, distracting apps, be it games or social media or stuff like this.

About the social media apps, I have written another article, so I won’t do another deep dive here. You can find that article here.

After figuring out the question, the plan was clear, get rid of everything that I don’t need and make visible what I should be using and looking at.

To be honest, this took some time for me, getting rid of tons of airline apps from the last year. These are the kind of apps you can reinstall when you need them.

I got rid of 31 apps from my phone, that’s quite a lot. And I don’t miss any of those, to be honest. A lot of apps are gone anyway since my digital minimalism experiment, but now there are only 29 left, which is a great feeling.

Let’s structure that

The system I made on paper were two rows, with 4 items. Not more not less, I really couldn’t stand 7 (aesthetics ;)). Everything else, that I don’t need directly, will disappear in a folder on the second screen.

Look at that:

I am not a man living in a cave without any social contact (even if I sometimes may look like one). So on the top left corner, we have the communication folder that consists of my messengers and Gmail. On how to deal with messengers and not to get annoyed and frustrated, I should maybe write another article.

The next very important thing is my calendar. I hate to remember appointments, I am saving them into my calendar and then I get rid of them in my head.

The next two apps, Kindle and Medium, are just for consuming texts and reading articles and ebooks.

Day One is my journaling app. You know, that “Dear Diary” stuff…

The next three are my best friends while being on the road, commuting, or doing mindless tasks. When I want to learn something new or stay up to date, I am either using Audible or Overcast. When I want to think or get clear in my head, I am listening to music on Spotify.

Then on the bottom are my three most favorite apps. These three I should be using the most, that’s why they are so present there:

  • Ulysses – my writing tool, where I am forming ideas and do all of my writing
  • Things – my task manager of choice, not as powerful as Todoist, but just so beautiful and charming
  • Trello – with that I am organizing and visualizing so many areas of my life, I want to have it at my finger tips all day

With that setup, I am having a easier time of staying productive and accountable to myself than when my phone is scattered with apps all the time.

Just remember; your phone also needs some housekeeping, otherwise you will turn it into a distraction machine.

And now I will do the same thing with my iPad 😉 Getting rid of all the stuff on it.