In the past, I’ve written about tidying your desk, your wardrobe, and your files, all in the name of productivity. But I’ve managed not to touch on how to organise what is probably the other major piece of digital real estate, your phone. I recently upgraded and saw the move to a new phone as the chance to have a clean slate. So, I spent weeks organising and reorganising my phone to get the most out of it. Today, I’m sharing the insights I discovered so moving wiggling apps on a screen doesn’t have to take over your life too*.
*These tips are based on how iPhones arrange apps.
The most basic guiding principles for arranging your apps is to follow this hierarchy of importance. In order of importance, apps should go in the dock, the top two rows, the middle two rows, then the bottom two rows. Personally, I have phone, text, email, and Spotify in the dock as they are my most used apps. Then in the top two rows, I put the apps I have to or should check more frequently, working my way down to least important.
EASIEST TO REACH
There are some spaces on your screen that are just physically easier to reach, and so more efficient to get to. To find what they are for you just pick up your phone and see where your thumb naturally rests. This is its default position and the handiest place for you to put important apps. Then attempt to reach each of the four corners of the screen, and find out where your most comfortable range outside of that default position is.
For me, my thumb naturally rests in the upper centre of the screen, and my reach is best from the top left to the bottom right of the screen. I feel like this is likely to be true for most people who hold their phone with their right hand. But I would definitely suggest you have a go yourself, if for no other reason than it’s kind of fun. So, I put my most used apps in each section in the spaces that are easiest for me to reach.
Before this upgrade, I never really used different pages. I just had everything on one screen. Now I’ve divided my phone into work and fun. So one page has all of the apps I use for work e.g. calendar and the other has all of the apps I use for fun and blogging e.g. social media. This has meant that I don’t get as distracted when I’m working, and when I’m blogging it’s much easier to move between the apps I need to stay on top of things.
In my opinion, you’re probably either a folder person, or you’re not. I am a folder person. Just the idea of having my apps grouped and filed away gives me a sense of calm. I use folders to group together apps I don’t use often (find my phone, compass etc.) but are useful every once in a while, to reduce the amount of clutter and distraction on my screen.
If you’re looking to hack your phone for productivity, you’re going to pretty much reverse all of these tips. Put the apps you don’t want to use e.g. Facebook in hard to reach spaces on lower rows. Hide them in folders and separate procrastination sources that way it’s harder to flick between them. Another great way to slow your fingers down is to keep moving your apps around so you don’t develop that level of muscle memory that just has you reaching for Instagram as soon as you pick up your phone.
How have you organised your phone importance? Colour? Use? Emojis? Do you have any top tips?