We live in a digital world where we are constantly pinged with likes, comments, emails and meetings you thought you’d remember but almost missed. It seems like the only advice we get when we no longer want to run in the digital rat race is to take time to unplug and then head right back into the thick of it. BUT that can seem downright scary! We are so dependent on reminders to keep us sane, that leaving our phone for even an hour can feel like…’eeek’. Instead of being overwhelmed by all these digital reminders how about leveraging them to make our lives easier! Wasn’t that the original intention anyways?
Here are my 8 ways to declutter:
Start your day with a digital daily devotional, uplifting app or song
My personal favorites include:
- She Reads Truth
- First 5
- ThinkUp: Positive Affirmations & Motivation
And they are free! Doesn’t get better than that.
Use alarms and notifications strategically
90 percent of us use our phone to wake up in the morning, right? So, let’s make it fun. Set your alarm to a more soothing ring tone! Or download an app that requires you to get up for your phone alarm to shut off.
Make your email list one you are excited to look at
If I were a betting woman, I would guess your inbox looks something like this in the morning…
Unsubscribe from the emails that don’t matter to you anymore. You may have signed up for a deal at store and no longer shop there. Or, you were extremely active in a networking group that you just don’t have the time for. Please don’t confuse this with taking away every piece of your life, but downsizing your notifications will help you feel more productive and ready to take on the day!
Two words. Ah. Mazing.
A lot of you are probably already avid users of Google calendars, but here are a few ways to leverage the tool to get the most out of it:
- Don’t only mark important events. Set reminders before these events. Give yourself a week or two weeks notice so that you have time to go shopping for a gift or a dress for an event.
- Create separate calendars for different parts of life. Family, Work, Budget, etc…
- Don’t become overly dependent on the calendar. You can set up the calendar to warn you about weather changes or dinner plans. To me this seems overboard, as then I might become too attached to the calendar and become dependent on it. What do you think?
Some of you are cringing right now, I get it. You don’t have time to sort your emails in the moment, what makes you think you can sort them on a daily basis? Please return to point 3 before proceeding.
You won’t have as much to sort through if you pare down your lists. You should also create buckets that work for you. This can be as little as 3 folders (Work, Family, Budget), or as many as 25. We all have different levels of organization that work for us. Take a few minutes a day to work on this everyday until you’re completely done. It won’t take as long as you think!
Only accept the meeting invites you know you can attend and want to be notified for
We can bog ourselves down with too many meetings or reminders from our calendar. Often times, we DON’T EVEN READ the calendar invites sent to us. We just accept it to get it out of our inbox and rely on our calendar to let us know if we have something double booked. Next time, pause for a moment and see if this is something you really need to attend. Can a co-worker or direct report go in your place? Do you have time that day for higher priority work? By taking a second to pause you can win back an hour or two!
Turn off notification for apps that are less important or don’t give you joy.
It seems like, if you have every single digital app notification turned on, then you are bound to feel exhausted by lunch time. Getting notified about information that you don’t need will only cause added stress. You may also feel like you’re missing out on something during a meeting because your phone keeps lighting up when really it’s just 5 updates from Pinterest about what boards are popular right now. Leave notifications on for apps that help you. Don’t worry about the random updates from Twitter. You know you will check those apps out of habit anyways, so you are less likely to miss something.
Pro Tip: Do Not Disturb is your best friend.
Use your phone as a mechanism for reflection
I like to use a digital app to record my daily thoughts, as well as remind me of the positive pieces of my life and what to have gratitude for. Here are some of my favorites:
- 5 Minute Journal – $4.99
- Day One Journal– FREE
- Grid Diary- Simple Way to Journal– FREE
- You can also use the note section of your phone to jot down 5 things you’re thankful for, 5 things you enjoyed about the day, and 5 things you look forward to tomorrow.
Which strategy are you going to implement for yourself today?