Day 2: Magical Phone: Rethinking apps

This story is part of a series of stories I wrote for a school project. You can read the day one here

Today’s Challenge: rearrange the apps on your phone in a way that sparks joy. The goal of the challenge was to remove clutter — just as you would when you are cleaning your house — but instead of focusing on things to toss, you focus on things to keep and you only keep the things that sparks joy for you. Ideally in a neat and organized manner so they are easier lest they overwhelm you.

listen to the podcast here

The challenge was easy for me and also my favorite, because it is a task I have wanted to do for a long time but kept procrastinating it. I was very happy at the end of the day and felt pleased with the result of clearing (rearranging) my digital life. Looking at my phone or browser makes me happy now — at least it feels less overwhelming. So today i’ll walk you through how I rearranged my digital space.

My Home screen Before

My apps screen:

And after….

My home screen after rearranging apps
My apps screen after rearranging apps

Finally, Today

Left: Home Screen, Right: Apps Screen

The major difference in these screens is the reduction to one page — and the wallpaper. Before this activity, I had 3 home screens and two apps screens. In the process of doing this activity, I realized the unimportance of three or two screens so I reduced both screens to one. This change makes it easier for me to look at my screen and take a deep breath. The downside to this change is that it takes longer to find apps but that is not too much because there is a search function.

If you are wondering why I did not put all the apps into one folder as recommended in the podcast, the reason is that I like to see things in categories and know where everything is. With the present arrangement, I can see all apps at a glance, but with everything in a folder, I would have to keep searching for an app or the other.

I also turned off push notifications for individual apps (today) so that I could be less distracted.

After rearranging my apps, I also rearranged my browser extensions. I put them into folders and that has prevented me from going to websites and wasting time on time because I clicked on them. I also rearranged my desktop and everything seems so much clearer and easy to find.

What I learned

You may notice that the day I did this activity (rearranging of the apps), is different from the day I’m writing this post. In those weeks I cannot say that I have been less distracted or that I spent less time on Social media compared to the Media-use diary. But looking at my phone feels a little less daunting and without apps littered all over the place, I find that it is easier for me to quickly ask myself the original purpose of using the phone and return to that purpose (or leave the phone if the task is completed) as opposed to touching apps just because they are there. In other words, I am more mindful than I was. Also those clouds make me so happy! :)

Thank you for reading. What do you think? Is this something you would try? Have tried? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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