The other day I was grabbing lunch with a group of friends and everyone started to check their phone. I looked to my left and right… their notifications seemed endless, like a CVS receipt. Trying my best to find out what was so special, I took out my phone for a quick peek, which I hadn’t checked in several hours, and was relieved to find zero notifications on my phone.
Still, it made me wonder how I could minimize the time spent on my phone and use it as a tool to help me rather than a distraction. Here are the strategies I used to eliminate wasted time on my phone, minimize the stress of being overwhelmed, and become a phone minimalist.
#1 Delete unused apps
It’s easier said than done, but imagine it this way: what are the 20% of apps that you use 80% of the time? These are the apps that you want to keep, and the rest can be evaluated on a one-on-one basis. As an example, I have had Shazam for a long time on my phone, imagining that one moment where I wouldn’t know the song and would use it to figure out the song’s name. Yet in total, I probably use it once a year on a good year. So the app moved from the screen and into the trash.
#2 Delete Facebook or other social media
You probably have Facebook on your phone. But social media can be one of the root causes of unhappiness, as this study on Facebook confirms. That being said, it’s up to you to decide what to keep and what to compromise on. If you tend to use Facebook to message people and still want to minimize phone usage, it might be best to just keep apps like WhatsApp and Messenger on your phone while deleting all the other apps that are only “feeds”.
#3 Unsubscribe from marketing emails (you don’t like)
I had to add the “you don’t like” since, after all, if you do like the clothing at Kezari we hope you subscribe to our email list. What we are talking about is for products that you never use or are the “feel good” products that keep your mail app looking like this:
Please, please make sure your phone doesn’t have notifications that get long like Snake.
To prevent such an easy mistake, make sure that you unsubscribe to all the emails or newsletters by scrolling to the bottom of the mail preferences to minimize the number of unread emails. If that doesn’t work, email people at the organization to take you off. No more rummaging, no more extra noise. Done.
#4 Turn on only important notifications
Have your phone set up so that the only notifications that show up on your locked screen are the ones you want to see. My rule of thumb is if it isn’t a message from friends or close family, it’s not important enough to be on the front screen of my personal phone. Make sure to go to settings and then to notifications to minimize viewing the apps you don’t need.
#5 Download Moment (or apps equivalent)
I know, I know. Almost everything at the beginning said to delete and unsubscribe, and then I hit you with a download app tip. But hear me out. This has been one of my go-to apps when I want to check how much I use my phone during the day. Most people think they use their phone far less than reality, which leads us to believe we are pretty good with our balance. But with those 5-minute breaks that you take inadvertently once in a while, it adds up to 50% to 75% of your phone usage. This is speaking from personal experience, and it sure came as a surprise to me.
These are the five tips I have. Let me know in the comments below if you have any questions or tips for others to share!
Want more minimalist content? Check out: Minimalist packing guide – women’s edition