Hello, I don’t want to waste any of your time, so let’s dive right into it. This is episode 4 in my digital minimalism series, where I talk about how I have streamlined and removed a lot of the distractions in my digital life. Today I want to talk about smart phones and more specifically my own and how I have set it up. I have an Android phone. This is a Pixel 3, but the things I’m going to talk about in this video can apply to any phone. It doesn’t so much have to do with software. But rather how I set up my phone. It’s incredible technology and it has changed all of our lives and I feel very fortunate to live in a time where I have access to so much in my fingertips, but somewhere along the line, the lines got blurred, right? And this has gone, for many of us, from being an incredible tool to being more of a distraction, more of an obstacle, than, like a positive thing. Phone addiction is a real problem and there’s a lot of statistics out there now that show that we spend on average hours a day on our phones. So I want to talk a little bit today about some simple things that I’ve done to regain a little bit of control over my relationship with my phone and to be a little bit healthier in my habits and in my usage of it. So, let’s just dive right in. I want to first talk about my homepage. I set this up with my morning and evening routines in mind. So one thing you’ll notice right off the bat is that I don’t have any social media or messaging apps on here. That’s very intentional. I find that on these sorts of apps you’re either responding to somebody, problem solving, or endlessly scrolling, right? and in the morning or in the evening, I don’t feel like that’s a good usage of my time. Instead what I have on here are some of the apps that I do like to use first thing in the morning or right at the end of the day. So for example I have headspace which is a fantastic meditation app. I use the clock on my phone as an alarm to wake up. A running app, podcasts, audiobooks, that sort of thing. And then on the bottom there are just some general tools that I like to have really quick easy access to. These are not addicting apps. These are not apps that bring me into my phone and keep me on my phone for a long time. So for example passwords, Google Maps, the camera app, that sort of thing. I find that this setup is really nice because I don’t want to get sucked into my phone as soon as I unlock it. And yet I still want to be able to use my phone, like I said, at the beginning or at the end of the day. It’s nice to listen to a podcast or listen to a little bit of music when I’m starting out the day or when I’m trying to wind down. I want to talk really briefly about some other features that are built into pretty much all phones nowadays. First of all “Do Not Disturb” is a godsend. I put my phone on “Do Not Disturb” whenever I go to bed, so it’s not buzzing throughout the night. And increasingly, I’m leaving it on “Do Not Disturb” for long portions of the morning, in the evening, and whenever I’m trying really hard to get some work done. I don’t think we evolved as human beings to be equipped to handle distractions every three minutes and I certainly don’t feel like it’s beneficial for me to constantly be checking my phone, especially when I’m trying to get a lot done. “Do Not Disturb” is fantastic because it reduces the number of times that you get notifications and it’s okay to not check Reddit twelve times throughout the day. Next, I just want to briefly talk about greyscale, which I think is a super underrated feature in a lot of modern smartphones. This is a feature that’s built into Android and I was able to configure it on my iPhone as well, so I know it’s possible on there as well. The concept is very simple. It basically just turns off the color from the screen of your phone. Now, why would that be significant? Well, we as humans have evolved to be very sensitive to color and I have noticed that instantaneously when I turn off the color on my phone it’s way less interesting to use and I try to use that to my benefit, especially in the evening when I’m trying not to spend so much time looking at screens as I’m preparing to go to bed. One other important feature that I think is important to mention is nightlight, which will turn the very blue-ish light that comes from your phone to more of an orange tone that’s really nice when you’re trying to prepare for bed, but I don’t think it’s a replacement for just straight up not using your phone or using it a lot less. However, it’s nice I have it automatically set to turn on at 9:30 and that way I’m not looking at so much blue light before I go to bed. I also find being a photographer and a filmmaker that it ruins apps like Instagram or Netflix because it completely throws the colors out of whack. So once again I try to use that to my benefit. Beyond this homepage, I have organized my apps into general categories so the next page has tools that I find useful, including messaging apps and stuff like my Gmail. After that, I have a page dedicated to apps that I use when I create videos, like YouTube videos and that sort of thing. And then a page for money-related apps. You will notice that I have absolutely, no shortcuts to social media and other apps that I feel pull me in, and really distract me from what I’m trying to get done throughout the day. That isn’t to say that I don’t use these apps, but I am intentionally trying to increase the friction between myself and being sucked into these apps so that I go on to them less often. It’s an added step to kind of look for them. It’s an added step to get engaged in Instagram, Reddit, etc. So the two potential ways to set that up for yourself are, either you can remove the shortcut if possible on your phone so that you don’t see it on your home pages, or if you can’t do that, throw these apps into a folder and place that folder in a corner of your phone. So once again, you have to go looking for it. I used to think that was really a silly thing to do because look I’m not five years old. I have self-control, but that’s not the point. The point is that you’re giving yourself the best odds. Going and using these apps can almost become muscle memory, right? We can unconsciously unlock our phones and find ourselves reading scrolling etc. And that’s not beneficial. That’s not productive. That’s not helpful. And it doesn’t make your life better. So making it more difficult to do that is in your benefit and finally, I want to talk really quickly about digital well-being which is a feature that’s built into Android. There are other alternatives available out there for whatever fun that you potentially use. But the concept is really simple and it’s that you should track your phone usage. This feature is really awesome because it tells me how many times I’ve unlocked my phone today, how many notifications I’ve received today, and how long I have spent on each app. This is really eye-opening and really useful information because knowledge is power and anything that is tracked gets managed. I found that just by looking at this and being aware of how much time I was putting into my phone, I put a lot of effort towards curbing my time on my phone so that I’m not spending literally hours a day on it. It’s just helpful to be aware of these sorts of things, especially if it’s important to you to be putting your time towards things that are more meaningful to you. Okay, that’s pretty much it. Once again, these are very simple things to set up. It should not take you more than five minutes to kind of configure things. But I do think it has a huge impact and is really really useful. This is new technology, and it has changed all of our lives and I think it’s really important to talk about these sorts of things as we try to figure out how to best use these tools. I hope you found this video valuable. I definitely don’t have everything figured out, so feel free to leave a comment down below if you feel like I missed something. I will say that although this is a work in progress, I feel like the things that I’ve already done have already had an impact on my life and that’s why I wanted to share with you guys. And if you enjoyed this video consider subscribing, there’s a lot more coming soon including more episodes in this series. I talk a lot about mental clarity and things that I’m doing or trying to do to live more presently. There’s a bonus episode available on my Patreon, so if that interests you go check it out Otherwise, you can follow me on social media and thanks for watching. I’ll see you soon.