Do you need to simplify your smartphone? For many of us, our phones are part of our living space – an office, hangout, or even our view to the outside world. And just like our physical spaces, our phones get clogged up with unnecessary junk that causes distraction, frustration and even anxiety.
Here’s how to break that cycle, and simplify your smartphone so it’s a calming and peaceful part of your life. (As much as possible anyway!)
Define your priorities.
List out why you have a phone in the first place. What is your main reason for having a cell phone? Who are the most important people that will be contacting you? Are you using the phone for business or just personal reasons? Is it a time waster or a productive part of your day?
Answering these questions will help you determine what is essential on your phone and what needs to go. Defining your priorities is the first step to help you simplify your smartphone.
Create a list of your essential peeps.
Make a list of the important people and places who call your phone. Think close friends and family, your child’s school or daycare, important co-workers and businesses like your primary doctor and insurance agent.
Set these peeps as favorites. Assign unique ringtones to anyone whose call you would hate to miss, and do the same for text notification tones if needed. Do this and you’ll know immediately if a call is one you’ll need to take right away.
On a similar note, if you get frequent spam calls or texts immediately block that number or set to a specific ringtone that alerts you to NOT waste your time picking up.
Make sure to set up do not disturb.
Do not disturb is one of my favorite smartphone features. Basically, you can set your phone to silence all incoming calls or notifications for a certain amount of time, as needed or on a regular basis. You can also set it to allow certain numbers, usually those on your favorite list to come through while it silences all other notifications and calls. Set up do not disturb for any time that incoming calls and notifications would be an unwelcome interruption to your day.
Set up auto backup for photos and important details.
While you’re taking the time to simplify your smartphone don’t forget to set up auto backup for any important files or details. Whether you use an app native to your phone or find one specific for the purpose, you’ll never regret backing up your phone. Make sure especially to backup photos and contacts. Knowing this is being taken care of in the background will definitely help to bring you peace of mind.
My favorite app for backing up photos is good ol’ Google Photos. It’s great on both android and iPhone and your photos will all be there (and accessible by PC) should you ever switch devices:
Hide or remove non-essential apps.
These days every phone comes with apps that you don’t necessarily need or want. Take the time to either hide or remove these apps as they are a source of visual clutter. This is also a great time to delete any apps that you’ve downloaded and no longer need or use. You might also want to look into apps that will serve more than one purpose so that you can reduce the overall number of apps on your phone.
Set notifications on all of your essential apps.
This is super important! Go through each and every app that you leave on your phone and set the notifications. Try to keep push notifications to an absolute minimum. Decide which apps need a badge notification as well (this is the little red circle that tells you how many emails or how many Facebook notifications you have). You should turn badge notifications off unless they are absolutely essential. It’s amazing how much this one little step will bring peace to your life.
Know your rabbit holes.
We all have apps that suck us in, keeping us hostage until hours later we realize that we’re still on our phone and wasting our life. Knowing your rabbit holes is huge. If an app is not essential and becomes a problem to you delete it from your phone. It doesn’t have to be a permanent decision, even just taking a break from having Facebook or Pinterest on your phone can make a huge difference in how much peace you have using that device.
This is a great way to become more mindful and to help you know where your addictions lie. If it turns out that you do need that app for business or some productive purpose you can always download it again and use it wisely. On that note,
Organize your apps by purpose.
Another amazing way to a simplify your smartphone is to organize your apps just like you would a physical space. Figure out which apps you need to have on your home screen and which ones would be better out of sight and out of mine. You may wish to group your apps by type and even group into folders for infrequently used apps.
Divide and conquer.
It’s easy to use our phones for every single purpose in our lives, but we don’t actually have to. If you have more than one device, divide and conquer so that you’ll have more peace in your life. We do this with our wake up alarms. My husband and I have decided not to have cell phones in the bedroom overnight, so we use an app on our tablet instead of using our phone for the alarm. I also use my Kindle to shop or read in the evening so that I won’t get phone or text notifications right before bed, and I don’t have social media apps on that device. It also has a blue light filter which allows me to get better sleep after using it late at night. Not using your phone for every little thing will definitely help to simplify your smartphone and bring more peace.
Be intentional moving forward.
Once you’ve taken the time to simplify your smartphone be intentional about moving forward. Don’t put apps on your phone that you don’t need. If you do download something that doesn’t work as well as you thought delete it right away. If you have a tablet or other device see if you can use that to fill some of the purposes that you would otherwise use your phone for.
These tips are simple, but they really work. It doesn’t take a lot of time to simplify your smartphone but it’s so worth it for the peace that it can bring to that part of your life.
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Jamie writes about living intentionally and finding beauty and perspective in the adventures of everyday life. When she’s not writing, she’s living her own adventures – working full time at an ER registration desk, parenting two spicy girls, and collaborating with her husband on the remodel of a former one-room schoolhouse on their homestead in rural Wisconsin.