8 Strategies for smartphone minimalism

If you’ve clicked on this article you probably want to know a thing or two about digital minimalism. It is a philosophy which seeks to simplify your digital life in order to make sure that you always get deliberate usage from your devices with minimal distraction. It’s essentially a mental clarity lifesaver. In a world where our devices can tell us anything we ever want to know, but also show us the newest version of the cinamon challenge, that might just be what you need. So I tried different techniques to get myself to apply digital minimalism when using my phone and in this article I would like to share eight of them that worked best for me.

Strategy number I:

Put application icons away from the main screen, so they can’t distract you when you look at the phone for another reason. Having some applications being “right there” as you look down to see the time or answer your friends quick question might lead you to reactively checking your news feed on Instagram. Maybe this place is better suited for your clock or weather widget.

Strategy number II:

Open your applications screen and organize your applications in folders based on what they aid you with e.g. “Travel” or “Finance”. Now think about how much value you get out of every category. If “Finance”, “Chat” and “Media” are more important than “Social Media” then they need to be more easily reachable. Cluster your application folders by importance and spread them out across several pages on your application screen. For example, the first page will have things you use daily, the second page will host your important utility apps and the third page will host all your games and social media apps. Swiping to get to them will make you think twice!

Strategy number III:

You still might want to have quick access to some of your apps without being distracted by the other ones. I have three suggestions for you here (fitting with the strategy number).

  • Put these applications (up to two) on your lock screen. Search your settings for lock screen icons. Placing them there will make them very easy to access. Personally, I have my camera and phone applications on my lock screen.
  • Create a second page on your main screen just for those very important applications. Still, don’t put them on the first one, they may yet distract you.
  • Alternatively, you can try out an app that let’s you store applications in a so-called “side drawer”. Side drawers are like menus that you open up by swiping from side to side on a particular part of your display. One such app I use is called “Edge Action” – try it out!

Strategy number IV:

Ah, googling. You can literally google anything these days quicker than any professor could look it up in their old books – isn’t that awesome. There’s a small problem with the Google smartphone application however. It uses your known interests to suggest you certain articles as soon as you fire up the application to search. This can quickly turn you away from your mission and lead you to wondering why Meghan and Harry have abandoned life as royalty.

However, there is a solution for this. In the settings of the Google application you can switch the so called “Discover” feature off, and free yourself of it to once again search without distraction. Huge time saver!

Strategy number V:

If you use Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any of the other social media applications out there on a daily basis, you might benefit a lot from deleting them from your phone. But do not be alarmed, they have a desktop version. Sitting down on your computer physically cancels out any other action, so more often than not you will decide against sitting down to browse Facebook. But you can still do it anytime you want to. If there are any applications that don’t offer a good desktop version just be sure to hide them deep in your folders!

Additional tip: I use “News feed eradicator for Chrome” to additionally limit my Facebook usage by hiding the timeline feature (it only works for the older Facebook version at the moment).

Strategy number VI:

Turn off notifications or hide them from the top task bar. There are different ways to go about this and I show you how I did it on Android in my video below this article. Essentially this feature allows you to hide the notifications that are incoming until you consciously decide to swipe down and see them.

Additionally you can turn off notifications for certain applications so they never bother you at all. Definitely try this too!

Strategy number VII:

Try the “Do not disturb” mode on your phone. This is a mode which basically allows only calls and important notifications to get through to you. This may come in useful when you are trying to get work done and you want to avoid getting constantly interrupted by people looking for you or things you have to do. Also, you can let specific applications of your choice get through.

The even more important scenario, however, is sleep. You can schedule the do not disturb mode for every night in the hours when you’re sleeping so you won’t get woken up unexpectedly. Again, if you don’t know how to do this, have a look at the video. Sleep is important!

Strategy number VIII:

Use silent mode or vibrate whenever you are trying to focus, whether you are with friends or working. It’s a little less restrictive then the other strategies, so you can choose when this is better for you and when to use do not disturb mode. For me, I always have this on, even in my free time. I have vibrations on in my free time and silent mode whenever anything else is going on.

So these are my eight best strategies for digital minimalism. I am constantly exploring new ones and I will make sure to share these with you as soon as I can over on my channel or on social media. I hope these can be helpful for you and let me know if you try them out!

Again, if you want to see me apply these or learn where to find the settings that I talk about, you can click on the video below. Feel free to leave your comments in the comment section.

Until next time!