This post is part of a larger attempt to share my personal “systems” that help me organize my life. By sharing my system, I hope to get feedback and inspire others to share as well.
In many ways, your phone’s home screen is your virtual bedroom. It’s a familiar, customized place you visit every day, matched to your interests and personality. Similar to a bedroom, I find it important to carefully curate and organize the home screen space for an appropriate atmosphere. For instance, sleeping next to a large chocolate bar at my bedrest doesn’t quite align with my sugar intake goals — but putting a book there can help encourage me to read more.
Here’s my iPhone home screen, and a few ways I intentionally organize it.
I’ve been getting more into the Slow Web Movement, which is all about empowering you as the user to choose when to interact with the web, as opposed to the other way around. Therefore, I disable badging and notifications for most of my apps (you can do this in the Settings app). This way, I avoid getting notifications while I’m working or socializing, and can spend my time with the internet more intentionally. Don’t let your app notifications and badges prevent you from your goals!
Badges are those little red circles with numbers in them that appear in the top right corner of an iOS app.
I’m also a big fan of minimalism (as evidenced by my article about how I only own 115 things). This minimalist style can be applied to the home screen by downloading only the apps you need. However, there are some apps that I rarely use but still want on my phone (e.g. Google Translate for when I travel, or Bitmoji which I have on my phone only to integrate with other apps). For these apps, I have a folder called “Extras” on a different screen of my iPhone that I rarely interact with.
On the other screen of my iPhone is where I put all non-removable iOS apps, and anything else I want out of sight (including the “Extras” folder).
I keep a folder called “Any time” which means that I can (and should) access this folder any time I’d like. This folder has three apps that are aligned with my goals and encourage me to continue to learn and consume educational content.
This is a folder that I aim to only click once per day, so that I can stay focused on my goals and reduce distractions. It’s nice to section off these app together by my intended frequency of usage.
Beyond what I’ve described above, I have a couple favorite apps. My go-to app for everything is Inbox by Gmail, which I use to set reminders and filter incoming tasks (more on that here). Otherwise, I love using Trello’s mobile app as a simple and smooth way to organize and browse through some of my longer-term ideas and projects.
Lastly, I selected a library image for my iPhone home screen wallpaper, to inspire me to continue learning and reading! Here’s a link to that image.
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