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Why Decluttering Your Phone Can Increase Your Productivity

Why Decluttering Your Phone Can Increase Your Productivity

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 10, 2020

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

More Tips to Conquer Time Wasters and Procrastination

 

Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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