About a month ago I took a long hard look at my phone and decided to make some changes. I didn’t want the use of my phone to be dictated by those annoying notifications that came up. 23 unread emails. 5 missed calls. 20 Facebook notifications. Too much of my phone use was being driven by my phone. I cleaned up my ‘Notes’ app. I transferred, filed and backed-up my photos and videos at the end of each month, effectively clearing my camera roll (this is actually something I’ve been doing for about a year now). And then I came across the Infomagical Challenge, a challenge issued daily for five days with a task designed to cut through the information overload and help us think more clearly. Each challenge had an accompanying short pod-cast (10-15 minutes) that delved into the task in detail.
The one challenge that made the most impact on me was Day 2: Magical Phone. I moved all my apps onto the second page of the phone and only left the Phone and Messages icon at the bottom. Not having any apps on the first page made such an instant difference. I find myself looking at the screen with the photo of Patrick and I and just smiling and feeling so much joy.
Part of the challenge was also to rearrange the apps on your phone and put them into folders – the ideal being just one folder. I have 54 apps separated into two folders. One folder of apps I use all the time and labelled ‘Be Mindful’ (a reminder for me to use them mindfully and not just mindless flick through when I have ‘nothing to do’). My ‘Be Mindful’ folder has 27 apps. The other folder with the remaining 27 apps is labelled ‘Stuff I Don’t Use’ though more accurately it’s stuff I don’t use often. Many of them are apps that can’t be deleted but there’s also the Kindle App, Skype etc which are handy to have on my phone when I’m away from my laptop.
I also use the ‘search’ function a lot more now when going in to use apps. This way my phone truly becomes more task-oriented. I was a bit nervous about turning off the notifications and I admit that it took a few weeks to do. Turing off notifications for things like Facebook was easy, it was harder to do for Messenger, Skype, Facetime, my calendar. But eventually I did. Now the only notifications I receive (where that red bubble with the number shows up) is for messages and phone calls. Everything else I get to when I want to get to them. It’s really changed how I use my phone and how I’m using my time.
You can learn more about the challenge or access the pod-casts here.