I have a love-hate relationship with my iPhone. On one hand it does increase efficiency, yet on the other hand, it immediately tries to steal back any time it may have saved. Social media, games, and entertainment seem to beg for time and attention.
It’s important to remember that productivity is not merely a secular concern (as if there were such a thing). Productivity is part of our sanctification. To be unproductive is to be unholy. Paul writes, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time” (Eph. 5:15-16a). A growing part of this responsibility includes how we interact with technology, especially our smartphones.
For this reason, I have tried to organize my phone in such a way that distractions are kept to a minimum and productivity is emphasized. Here are two ways I’ve found to do this.
Get rid of unproductive apps that tend to suck up time. Not only will this save valuable space on your device, it will free up valuable time in your day. If you find yourself impulsively opening Facebook or Angry Birds during downtime, you are probably wasting more time than you realize. Delete all such impulse-apps until you can develop better habits of time management. After replacing time spent scrolling through social media with more edifying endeavors you may decide to avoid these apps permanently.
Arrange icons so that the more edifying apps are prominent and accessible, while potentially distracting ones are harder to navigate to. So, for example, games and social media apps (ones you may choose to keep) go inside a folder on the second or third screen, while the first screen and “dock” are reserved for apps relating to productivity, spiritual growth, and education.
Here is a simple screenshot of how I am doing this at the moment.
These tips are simple, but they have noticeably limited distractions on my phone and improved my productivity. If you have come across any other helpful smartphone related tips I’d love to hear them!