I’ve followed the rise of digital minimalism for a couple years now. To see some previous posts on the topic, check out:
- Digital Minimalism Defined & 10 Digital Declutter Tips
- Thoughts on Cal Newport’s Digital Declutter Experiment
A lot of the same tips get regurgitated and recycled again and again. But, a couple days ago, I saw something new.
How to Digital Declutter Your Phone Home Screen
Courtney Carver, author of Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More and blogger at BeMoreWithLess.com, posted this on Instagram:
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This is what I do to make sure I am the boss of my phone instead of the other way around. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 1. No email on phone. I removed it completely two months ago and don’t miss it at all. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. No apps on the home screen or placed in neatly labeled containers. Nope. All apps are in one folder (see lower right of my screen). I open my apps (when I want to) by swiping right and typing the app name in the search bar. That way I’m not tempted because I see an app icon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. No notifications ever except for phone or text and from 7pm – 7am, Do Not Disturb is on so no phone or text notifications either. I’ve set things up so my closest people can get through if there is an emergency. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. Sometimes I set my phone to black and white instead of color to make it even less appealing. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 5. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, put a rubberband around the middle of your phone and harness the power of the pause. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 6. The very best way I show my phone who’s boss is by leaving it at home. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If you want to find out where most of your phone time goes, try an app like Moment to track, or for a quick glance, go to settings, click battery, see “battery usage” and click the little clock icon on the right. You can see your hours/minutes spent on each app for the last 24 hours or 7 days. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Go be the boss of your phone. ❤️
Courtney’s tips are simple yet profound. She says:
This is what I do to make sure I am the boss of my phone instead of the other way around. ⠀
I Tried It and Gave My Phone a Digital Decluttering
I’m not as hardcore as Courtney (at least yet). I still have email on my phone, and I still have some notifications turned on. I also take my phone with me when I leave the house.
But, I love the idea of putting a rubber band around the middle of your phone to stop yourself from mindlessly scrolling and harnessing the power of the pause.
And, I love the thought of having a completely clean home screen. So I tried it.
Here’s what my lock screen and home screen look like now:
Want the same space wallpaper? You can download the image for free on Unsplash here. The “create” wallpaper is one that I made to remind myself that life is a blank canvas — you get to decide what masterpiece you will create — and to focus my time on creating instead of consuming.
And, you know all those apps that are hidden now? There’s definitely something to be said for “out of sight, out of mind.” I’m already finding myself opening them much less often.
Courtney didn’t include a hashtag specific to this, but maybe those of us who try her tips could use #bossofmyphone so we can share all of our blank phone home screens.
Have you ever tried to declutter your phone or practice digital minimalism? How’s it going? Let me know in the comments.
Also published on Medium.