Saturday, January 2, 2016

Your Home Screen Owns You

Several weeks ago, I did something seemingly very subtle, minuscule even, that changed my day-to-day life.  I gave it a 50/50 chance of having a big impact and having no discernible impact whatsoever.  I am happy to say that it was the former.  This small change has boosted my daily productivity, increased my motivation and decreased the feeling of being drained all the time.  It has also indirectly made me smarter, healthier and more creative.  

Have I sold you on this amazing transformation yet?  If you haven't guessed by the title of the blog, it has to do with that little device we interface with first thing in the morning, last night before we go to sleep and far too many times during the day.  Here's what I did: I removed facebook and email from my Home Screen on my phone.  I moved them to another page, so they are still rapidly available, but I have to consciously think about checking them.  It's a huge difference to not have the nagging icons greeting me every time I reach for my phone.  I don't need to check my email every time a company sends me an advertisement, and I don't need to check my facebook every time a friend "likes" a post of mine.  But I was finding all too often that I would grab my cell phone to look something up, or check on something, and get distracted by the number of alerts on the facebook or email icons, or both, and then forget what I was going to look up.  

In addition to removing these two icons, which was a game changer in and of itself, I also added icons in their places.  I added a link to my library account, where I could check on book/audiobook/DVD requests, and look up new things to request, etc.  And I brought a fitness tracker to the home screen.  This made searching and logging my food more efficient, and made me think more about books I wanted to read or listen to and less about what baby pictures have been posted. 

When we took our epic road trip last summer, I had debated going on a social media hiatus, but decided that it would be valuable to share where we were with our friends and family for safety and because sometimes friends think of local places to check out when they see where they are.  But the idea of disconnecting for a period of time still appeals to me some.  I'm not anti-social media, I just realize that too much of my life is consumed by it, and I struggle with finding the right balance.  

That being said, removing those two icons from my home screen has really proven to me the importance of putting on your home screen what is most important to you, and only that.  Now I am trying to think of ways of incorporating more of the "good stuff" on my home screen.  I want to tie it in with my goals of learning German, learning programming, developing my company, 3D printing, etc.  I've yet to come up with solutions for those, but I am still worlds ahead, in my opinion, having removed email and facebook from my home screen.   

You can put anything on your Home Screen - a To Do list app, an audiobook player, a flashcard app for what you're trying to learn, etc.  I still browse facebook and check my email, but I don't do it obsessively or let it distract me.  I am intentional about going into those apps now, and it has made all the difference in the world.  

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