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De-clutter your phone and your digital life

Posted July 5, 2017 by Dan Madigan

Earlier this month I received the dreaded notification that there was a software update available for my cell phone. The last update wreaked havoc: icons changed, the text size was altered and pictures vanished. Needless to say, I was not in a big hurry to install the latest update. Update notifications continued to buzz my phone on a daily basis so I finally succumbed to the pressure to update only to discover I did not have enough storage space available to accommodate the OS update - my phone was "too cluttered". If you have found yourself in the same predicament here are some simple steps you can take to de-clutter your phone and improve the time spent on the small screen:

  1. Delete the apps you do not use. These apps are occupying precious space and limited device memory. Scroll through your phone, more than likely there are apps that you rarely use or even never use. I found apps that my grandkids had loaded on my phone that I had never used!
  2. Move your most commonly used apps to your home screen. For me, the apps I use the most are really basic and are primarily apps for staying in touch with work: contacts, text messaging, calendar and email. Banking, weather, camera, calculator, travel and weather apps are also on the home screen along with my music, pictures and preferred news apps. Review your apps, decide which ones you visit most and save time by placing them on your home screen.
  3. Make sure your home screen reflects how you want to use your time. Home screen apps should make life simpler and add value to your life. Apps can make it easier for you to stay in touch with work and friends, help avoid the afternoon Florida thunderstorms (and traffic!) and effortlessly pay bills. Apps can also enrich your idle time: scan the headlines, read a news article, enjoy a movie or watch a DIY You Tube video. Secondly, evaluate your apps - do they add value to your life or are they time wasters?  Like the saying, "One man's garbarge is another man's treasure" - same goes for apps. Many people, for example, enjoy social media  apps and use them to their benefit while other people find these apps distracting and detrimental to their lives. Keep the most important apps on the home screen, demote the lesser important ones and delete the rest.
  4. Consider what is important to you. Apps are developed every day to help you do more of what matters whether it is encouraging you to exercise more or eat healthier. Are you interested in travel deals or new recipes?  There is an app for whatever it is that improves your life. Try these and skip the rest.
  5. Review your alerts. Decide which apps provide notifications that are useful rather than distracting to you. For me personally, I want to know about breaking news, local traffic issues and charges going through my bank account. What my friends are having for lunch or what celebrities are wearing on the red carpet are distractions. Determining your notifications is a personal choice!
  6. Remove your photos and saved videos. The biggest storage hog on your phone could very well be your photos and videos. Decide where you would like to store your pictures and move them. Photos and videos can be transferred to your computer, an external hard drive or a cloud service like iCloud, Google Drive or Dropbox. There are pro’s and con’s with each method so do a little research, move your photos and videos and free up that valuable phone storage. 
  7. De-cluttering your phone will make it work better and make it easier for you to navigate so you can utulize your phone to do what is important to you.