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DIGITAL MINIMALISM

3 Underrated Ways to Clean Your Phone Like Your Home

Not with detergent, but for the sake of digital minimalism for your mind.

Photo by Marie-Michèle Bouchard on Unsplash

Your interaction with the virtual world affects your mental health as much as the physical environment. Digital minimalism is an efficient way to declutter your virtual space to enhance mindfulness and composure.

I became a staunch practitioner of digital minimalism six years ago when I cleaned my PC desktop to have no folders. I set only a background wallpaper.

I did it to reduce the disk start-up time, but when I found the benefits of zero apps crying for my attention, I transferred the same logic to my phone.

Here are three ways to design your phone to reduce attention diversion and improve focus at work.

#1. Clean slate.

What do you feel when you enter a home decor studio? You want to stay there for a little longer.

What if your phone had a similar view that you can stare at it without feeling guilty about surrendering to apps’ temptation.

Here is what my phone looks like after unlocking:

Screenshot of my phone. Marvel fans know it’s not a cat.

Seeing a clean home screen calms my mind. There are only two essential apps. If I want to use another app, I’ll search in Spotlight or swipe left to browse the App Library.

Allowing only essential apps on the home screen ensures you don’t submit to doomscrolling when you open your phone.

#2. Reduce attention diversion.

Do you know why red is the colour of all notifications in Facebook-owned apps? Or even the notification colour of all apps on iPhone?

The red colour is a sign of alertness, which makes us reactive. Whenever we see any stimulus in red, we immediately tend to take action because red is a sign of danger — and love, but that’s not the topic for today.

Muting notifications for non-essential apps has been life-changing for me.

Screenshot of settings app on my phone

I have muted most apps if you see the notifications settings on my phone. That’s because I did a test run two years ago, where I blocked notifications from all apps, except Whatsapp and email.

Surprisingly, I didn’t need to revert to my old ways. Fewer and only important notifications guarantee a productive relationship with your phone.

#3. Digital detox.

Isn’t it frustrating when you want to click a groupfie and the camera says, “Not enough storage”?

A similar experience occurs when our cupboard is flooding with chaos, and the extra clothes pile on chairs.

Purge sessions are regular events where you consciously and deliberately decide what to keep and remove. Since it is a process involving intense decision-making skills, doing it on the first of every month works for me. Choose a frequency that is reasonable for you.

On the first of every month, I decide which apps and media files I should keep or delete. The process takes around 10 minutes ( I’m lying, 30 minutes ), but I clear more than 10 GB from my phone. I feel calm because all trash is out of my digital home.

Scheduling purge sessions gives a burst of motivation like a deep cleaning of your home. You won’t realise the benefits unless you do it.

Final words

Your phone is your digital home and your most handy portal to the internet. To ensure your phone is not the main productivity drainer, the three steps I mentioned above will be helpful if you start applying them in the order you deem fit.

Since I got a sneak peek of digital minimalism by cleaning my desktop six years ago, I’m practising digital minimalism intentionally for the past two years since I started my first job.

You have so many valuable tasks to finish daily. Don’t let your phone be an additional excuse for why you can’t sustain your focus. Instead, embrace digital minimalism and design your phone to deliver calmness.

Here is a recap for your memory:

  1. Clean home screen means calm mind.
  2. Fewer notifications mean less attention diversion.
  3. Purge sessions are digital detox for your mind.

Sanjeev is a mentor, writer, and fitness enthusiast from India. He writes about lifelong learning, personal growth, and positive psychology. When he’s not engaging with students in solving their doubts or busy writing, he’s sweating either in a workout, PC gaming, or vlogging. You can also find him on Instagram and Twitter.

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Sanjeev Yadav

Sanjeev Yadav

Writer • Mentor • Recovering Shopaholic • IITR 2019 • ✍🏼 Personal Growth, Positive Psychology & Lifelong Learning• IG: sanjeevai • List: sanjeevai.ck.page