Are you spending your days online and when you think about it, you haven’t really accomplished much? Are you updated with most of your Facebook friends’ lives? Do you usually use the forgot username and password features of sites and apps? Do you feel so lost and bored without wi-fi or internet connection? Does it make you jittery if you haven’t checked your Facebook or Instagram accounts in an hour or more? If you said yes to all, then you are an tech addict and probably dependent on it for entertainment or out of habit. We may all feel guilty of these one way or another. This is one of today’s reality that we have to face.
Every individual (tech-savvy or not), has experience tech life clutter. This means we have so much going on our device/s that there’s the big possibility of having virtual clutter of the many accounts we’ve created from so many sites and apps, the photos we took, and the important details we save on our phones.
In trying to organize our lives, some may even have a notebook or a file where they keep pertinent information about each account they make online and for important numbers like bank accounts and government-related numbers. Well, of course not all do this or probably not all can keep their records up to date.
So how now can we keep our tech life simple and organized? Here are some things I can share that could help.
1. Just Keep 2-3 Messaging Apps
Traditional SMS messaging for most is becoming passé but of course not dead. Without connection, we still use SMS to contact people. Since most smartphone users are 24/7 online, communicating through messaging apps like Viber, WhatsApp, Line, Facebook Messenger, Voxer, Snapchat, Skype, WeChat, Kakao Talk, and many more. These apps don’t only deliver text messages but some have video, picture messages, doodles, and voice. It is cheaper and delivers richer messages (you may create group chats too!) than SMS which you still need to pay per message (with character limit).
Keep just 2-3 messaging apps on you mobile phone. You don’t need to install and message everyone in each of those messaging app services you have. There might be some messaging apps where your group of friends are so keep only those you will really use. I’ve experienced installing all of these apps I mentioned but in reality, I only use 3. So to save storage space on my phone and to keep few apps from running all at the same time, I uninstalled most of them and just tried them out for experience. Save whatever suits your lifestyle or where you talk most with your family and friends.
2. Gadget Spring Cleaning
If we do general cleaning/ spring cleaning in our homes, let’s do it on our phones too. Sometimes we have so much “trash” in our phones so we have to sort and clean them too. Some ways you can clean up your mobile phone:
- Clean up your contacts – remove those numbers you don’t need and old numbers of your peers. Keep the numbers updated to avoid multiple contacts saved.
- Apps – Scan your apps and check which ones you use or are useful for you. Remove those apps you just tried out a couple of times. Sometimes we download these apps out of curiosity and for the sake of trying them out. Uninstall them and don’t just remove from your home page.
- Messages – Remove all old and chat threads that you don’t need. They take up space on your phone too.
- Pictures and Videos – Keep photos in your phone saved in a back up laptop or hard drive. Just in case your phone gets busted or gets lost, you still have them. Scan for snapshots you just took out of nowhere and means nothing anymore to you . Delete unimportant photos and videos that takes so much space in your device.
- Make sure the apps you don’t use are closed. Sometimes we leave them all running and this makes our phone working slower than usual because of all the opened and running apps.
These are just simple and non-technical ways to clean your phone. If you are familiar, you may also clear the cache (form of memory that speeds up the user experience) of your mobile device every now and then.
3. Let Productivity Apps Help You
There are several apps that will help you be more efficient and effective everyday. Remove time-waster apps you have in your phone like lots of game apps. Keeping your calendar and to-do list apps updated will help keep your life organized (there are several nice ones you may download without the need to create an account like ColorNote).
Also, keep folders in your mobile device or desktop then label them accordingly to stay organized- social media folder, productivity folder, picture editor apps folder, etc.
4. Critical Few Social Media accounts
There are many social media accounts you can create to be connected with your family and friends. Having too many accounts eats up all our time when we check them and update them or we get so confused that we end up forgetting the username and passwords. There’s Facebook, Google +, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Vimeo, Foursquare, Swarm, Snapchat, and a lot more.
Choose only the relevant ones and the ones you will really use to stay updated and connected with the important people in your lives.
You can also manage and view them through a social media management tool where you can view and update your social media accounts in one place like Hootesuite. They have an app too but I highly recommend this for desktop or laptop computers.
5. All for One, One for All
Choose a device that has features that you will maximize. You don’t need multiple devices if you’ve planned out your digital activities well. I personally found out lately that there’s no more use for my iPad anymore since I have phablet (phone + tablet). Although it’s a bigger smartphone, at least it’s portable for a busy mom like me who goes around the house a lot and run errands here and there. I don’t need to carry around a tablet which will make my bag heavier or catch too much eyes when I use them in public. Take time to learn what your device can do and learn to use them to your advantage.
Also, make sure you have one place where you keep all your important pictures and details. Sometimes when we’re rushing, we take photos through our mobile phones (which made digi cams for hobbyists and photographers’ use nowadays) and save important details in the phone too . Make sure to have one place for your photos -either your laptop or your hard drive. Just in case something happens to your phone, you have those memories saved in a safe place.
6. Emails and newsletters
We have the tendency to create multiple email accounts – for business and personal. Know what are the email accounts for – personal, business, entertainment, etc. Keep them few and well-managed. You may setup in your smartphone or tablet multiple email accounts so when you check them they’re all in one place. You won’t miss any email that comes in. Always clean up your email for spams and unwanted newsletters. Don’t keep subscribing to newsletters you’re not interested in. It will eat up space in your mailbox. Keep those that are significant and relevant to you.
7. Curiosity and Trends
There are times we find our gadgets full of apps that we just wanted to try out then we forget to delete them after if we don’t need them. There’s nothing wrong in checking the trend and being curious on what’s hot and what’s in. Just take don’t forget your registration details whenever you create accounts (jot them down or delete them after). You’ll might get too confused and flooded with many accounts around. It creates virtual clutter in you that you lose interest on some because of the forgotten password or username. You get lazy to dig them up and revive them.
Keep those apps that you’re testing in one folder so you know how to deal with each one after you tried them- either use them or delete them.
8. Different Apps with the Same Purpose
To keep everything in order, check what apps you installed that serve the same purpose and clean them up. Again, this is a waste of space. For example, you have 8 picture editor apps installed but you only use 2 of them. Delete the others so your device doesn’t look to cramped and your device’s memory will be freed up for more important things.
9. Tech Detox
With all the hustle and bustle of everyday life (add tech life to the picture), our thoughts and minds become noisy and loaded with too much information- some important, some gossip, some trivial, some irrelevant ones too.
Consciously find time to be offline. Enjoy and appreciate everything around you everyday. Sit in relaxation and silence if possible or enjoy time with your family and friends. Enjoy a good conversation or a good alone time. Allot time without gadgets for the family like meal times and when you’re together. Enjoy nature and each others presence- smile and laugh together, give out hugs and kisses! The quality time together nowadays are sometimes spent checking gadgets and people end up being connected (virtually) instead of communicating and bonding for genuine closeness and better relationships.
Let’s not allow tech life dominate and dictate us. We should dominate our tech life every minute of everyday. Becoming slaves to technology will keep us detached from the real world of relationships and sometimes people end up creating a different personas online that they get confused who they really are. Technology is the greatest human invention and at the same time could be dangerous trap to humanity.
More than the “coolness” that technology brings, it’s a great challenge not be slaves to technology. Focus on what’s more important and let go of those time-wasters everyday. Manage your online time wisely and forever be masters of yourself.
Hope these tips will help you in this tech-driven world around us 🙂
“That’s been one of my mantras — focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex; you have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple.” – Steve Jobs
Have a great weekend ahead! 🙂