In my continuing attempt1 to manage distraction and facilitate focus, flow and occasionally “deep work,” I’ve been working on taming my phone.
First, I cleared the Home screen. This is what mine looks like:
I’ve moved all apps to one of three locations:
- The three most used apps for getting through the day (in my case, Todoist for tasks/lists, Bear for notes and Google Calendar) in the dock,
- A “Daily” folder with other critical apps I use daily that don’t present too many opportunities for going down rabbit-holes2, also in the dock,
- And all other apps on the second page, a few that I access routinely outside of folders, the rest in a combination of alphabetical and topical folders.
I very rarely access the second page because the apps there are either rarely used or because I want the “friction” of getting to them3 to act as a trigger for intentionality: that little bit of extra effort prompts me to consider if I am doing something necessary or just procrastinating.
I’ve also disabled almost all notifications and badge numbers. The only ones I leave on are notifications from people—Messages and Snapchat (which I only use to chat with my daughter)—and the Habitica app, which remind me of repetitive things I need to do every day.
This was an organizational system I’d been moving toward for a while, but I pulled the trigger when I discovered the “3D Touch” function on folders, which handily shows a synopsis of Badge notifications by app so I can tell if I have something important to respond to without burrowing: