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Why Decluttering Your Phone Can Increase Your Productivity

Why Decluttering Your Phone Can Increase Your Productivity
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With 97% of adults owning a phone, 53% of those being smart phones, and 29% saying their cell phone is the one thing they can’t live without, it’s understandable that we spend lots of time on our phone.  From text messaging, to emails, to a variety of apps, to even still calling on occasion, cell phones are quickly becoming the epicenter of social world.

As the importance of the cell phone increases, the amount of time used on the phone increases.  And anything that takes much of your time can help increase or decrease your productivity.  Have thought about how your phone is laid out recently?  Do you organize your phone as often as you organize your desk or your calendar?  Does your phone help you stay organized and productive or hinder you?

Learn why decluttering your phone can increase your productivity in these six simple steps.

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Don’t be afraid to delete apps.

If you’re like me, you download every app your friends tell you about or that I read about on blogs like this.  I’m always looking for new, great apps that will help me be productive and help me solve problems.  I’ve also found that 90% of these apps don’t meet my needs.  So when that’s decided, I delete them.  I suggest you to declutter your phone. It only has so much valuable real estate.  Make sure you only keep the apps you use, or instead of making you more productive, they will slow you down.

Keep your inbox clean.

If you check your mail on your phone, keep your mailbox clean and organized.  The goal of any mailbox should be to keep the inbox clean.  Take action on your emails immediately or put them in a folder based on priority to get to when you’re your computer or tablet and have more time.  You can save hours when you need to be really productive if you curate your email box with your phone in real time.

Create an organization system that makes sense for you.

Does your phone screen homepage have the apps that you use each and every day?  If not, put them there.  While each smartphone system does it differently, the most important apps should get the prime real-estate.  After that, sort your apps by category and sort most used to the top, prime spots within the category.  The more time you spend looking for an app, the less productive it makes you!  And those games?  Make them hard to get to!  They are time suckers!

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Keep your calendar synched, up-to-date, and clean.

Does your calendar have every one of your Facebook friend’s birthdays, every holiday, each days sunrise time, or any other number of extra data that junks up your calendar?

These extras may have seemed like a good idea when you added them, but they make your calendar too busy.  Your calendar can be a powerful tool to keep your productive.  At a quick glance, you should get an idea of how your day shapes up and what you need to accomplish.  Anything that hinders that goal needs to be cut immediately.

Prune your push notifications & automatic messages.

Do you really need 8 different news sources telling you the same info? Do you need every game you’ve ever downloaded reminding you that you haven’t played in 8 hours?

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Go to your settings and turn off push notifications for the apps that are un-important.  Checking your phone takes valuable time towards productivity.  If you’re getting tons of push notifications each and every day, you’ll spend too much time checking and not enough time doing.

Use alerts & notifications correctly.

One of the most powerful tools that most smartphones possess is a robust notification and alert system.  These alarms don’t have to just be used to a second wake up call!  Schedule an alert two hours before for your doctors visit or set a reminder to call you friend after an important interview.  But don’t over-do it!  If you find your over-scheduling, this is a perfect opportunity to declutter.  Alerts & notifications are only useful if they remind you to take action.  If not, they are just hinder productivity and create more noise.

A phone can be a great tool to help with productivity.  Decluttering your phone on a consistent basis will help you be more productive and make your life that much easier.

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Featured photo credit: Stephan Geye via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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