3 Min Read
How to Clean Up Your Phone and Embrace Digital Minimalism
How much time does your phone suck from your life? Most of us either don't know or are afraid to look.
Let's have a little fun and find out.
If you have an iPhone, open "Screen Time" in Settings and choose "See All Activities." On an Android phone, open "Settings," tap "Digital Wellbeing," find the three dots, select "Manage your data," then toggle "Daily device usage."
Now that you know how to find your app usage, which one takes the majority of your time?
Think about this data in terms of ownership. For that amount of time, the app and the corporations controlling them own your time. These companies employ tens of thousands of engineers whose job is to increase the time you spend watching screens, influence your emotions, sell off your attention, and make large profits.
Are you ready for a digital detox?
Apps prey on your vulnerabilities and lack of patience. What you consider efficiency is actually rapid-fire hits of dopamine.
A 15-second TikTok video makes you laugh. You can find a date in 30 seconds on Tinder. Your attention span becomes fragmented into small units that get monetized.
Your reward for paying attention is a mind loaded with immediate empty rewards that you constantly chase. This mental disorganization makes it challenging to focus on single tasks.
When was the last time you read a book for an hour without getting on the phone?
When was the last time you watched a movie without scrolling endlessly through social media feeds?
The obvious solution to your digital problem is to uninstall these brain worms. If only it were that easy!
Remember that you're battling against an army of engineers, psychologists, and analysts monetizing your bad habits into billions of dollars. They're not going to let you get away easily.
Try uninstalling Instagram and see what happens. You'll get bombarded with content forcing you to reinstall the app or suffer FOMO. You're the rat addicted to cocaine that only needs to tap a button to get another fix.
Conditioning your mind
The first step to breaking your addiction is conditioning your brain with other tasks.
Schedule time away from your phone. No checking emails, watching videos, or surfing allowed for a couple of hours per day. Your phone should be completely out of reach and turned off so that Pavlovian ding can't distract you.
If you want next-level conditioning, turn on parental controls and let someone else set the password. You'll feel your addiction whenever you ask someone for permission to use your phone during restricted periods. It's like visiting your dealer without any money.
Don't forget that this is a form of addiction, and willpower is likely not enough to overcome it.
Once conditioned not to use your phone constantly, it's time to clean it up.
Use this checklist:
- Uninstall all instant gratification apps like Instagram, TikTok, and SnapChat.
- Uninstall apps that force opinions like Twitter, Reddit, and Facebook.
- Only use finance and investing apps on your desktop. You shouldn't be day trading on your phone.
- Delete old files that are stored somewhere else in case you need them.
- Delete any app that you haven't used for over a month.
If this seems like too much work, back up your device and reset it to factory settings. This reset gives you a clean slate immediately, and then only install the apps you absolutely need.
You did it.
Congratulations! Your phone and mind are clear. You're now a digital minimalist.
You can look forward to greater focus and a less cluttered, more productive life with increased security.
Unfortunately, rehab isn't always successful, and you might slowly relapse. To keep this from happening, schedule a monthly device checkup to ensure those apps haven't crept back into your life.
Anther. Male wellness where it counts.