You see, I never considered myself as a phone addict, not in the traditional sense at least. Whatever traditional means. I wasn’t obsessively being on my phone when with people- if that’s what we’re talking about… Well, not with all people. Maybe only with some, that I’m very comfortable with. But in the mornings, oh the mornings were the worst! After I turn off my alarm, that won’t stop ringing until I scan spaghetti in my kitchen- neat little app to make me get out of the bed- I would crawl to the espresso machine and while waiting for my coffee to be done just quickly take look at the notifications. I didn’t mean to stay, just to see what the situation is… And of course, 10 emails from 5 different accounts I have- instant stress; social media- disappointing; shopping reminders- stimulating… Oh wait, I should meditate… Immediate regret, but what can I do? There are so many notifications! That was, pretty much every morning for me. Until I decided to do something about it. This is the story of how de-cluttering my phone helped me think better- and how you could do the same.
The first step was turning off all the notifications, with the exceptions of messages and alarm (and calls obviously). This took me a good day to do, because I was shutting them down as they would appear- just to see what I really needed. And as it turned out- I don’t need anything! Yes emails had to go too. There is absolutely no need for me to be constantly by my virtual mail box as much as there is no need in me standing by my physical mail box waiting for the mailman to bring me something. Besides, the state of mind in which we see something will have a huge impact on how we take it. If I open the “bad” email before I completely open my eyes… Well I’ll probably get much more stressed than if I open it after coffee, breakfast, yoga– when I’m ready to take on the world. Also, since I made that little clean up, I’m noticing myself generally spending less and less time on my phone- which means more time for everything else.
I was shocked when I realized, how many places I left my email address at! Practically all sites I ever visited, it seems- no wonder my mailbox was constantly overflowing. One by one, I unsubscribed from all. All emails I don’t need or want, reminders to spend my money- LIMITED OFFER ONLY TODAY! DON’T SKIP THIS or THIS or THAT! HEY YOU LEFT ME IN YOUR CART…
At first I thought this will be one of those God-awful tasks that you just want to skip altogether. Leave it for the next life perhaps… But I found it incredibly refreshing and, in a way, freeing. Every new unsubscribe I made from something utterly unnecessary, I felt like my phone and my head got physically lighter. I left only things I truly want to see in my mail, like beautiful articles and companies I want to support.
I noticed a pattern, you tell me if it’s only me here: I go on social media, I see people who I admire, I see them having something pretty, I frantically search for that pretty thing to complete my life. Could be a piece of clothing, furniture or an experience- whatever it is, it would leave me feeling deficient in a way. And sure, a little healthy envy could be a great motivation, but what is even more motivating is the feeling of contentment, gratitude and wholeness… At least in my experience. SO, I un-followed everyone who made me feel less than whole.
And finally, app deletion. Sooo many of them, downloaded in the heat of the moment. All kinds of shopping apps, fitness apps… Apps for every aspect of my life really. Only a (virtual) handful used actually. So these are the only ones left. Simple.
- Taking a social media detox
- Deleting some photos and documents
- Changing the wallpaper into something soothing
- Going through the contacts
- Taking a whole day without the phone
I hope this little clean-up does the same for you as it did for me.