If you’re like most people these days, you probably have a computer, a smartphone, or maybe even both. With these tools come apps – sometimes many, many apps. Without question, some of these apps can be very useful. However, it can be very challenging to know which ones to get, and which ones are worth keeping on your device. Maybe a friend told you about a great app that they downloaded, or perhaps you read about an app online and wanted to try it for yourself, and you started downloading new apps. Before you knew it, you had dozens of apps installed, and have forgotten what many of them do!
Many of the clients that I work with tell me that they are suffering from app-related overwhelm – where they’ve downloaded or purchased so many apps, and their devices are so full, that they can no longer easily find or use the apps that they actually need. When this happens to you, your smartphone becomes a lot less smart and in addition to being frustrated, you become a lot less and productive. Let’s look at how we can approach solving this problem:
Delete the duds.
Open your smartphone or the applications folder on your computer. Not sure what each app, program, or tool actually does? Then it’s time to start the process of editing through what you have. Look at it this way – if you’re not actually sure what a given app or tool can do for you, then it’s serving no useful purpose. It’s time to let it go, and by let it go I mean uninstall it or delete it. Also delete any apps that you haven’t ever used, or used one time and didn’t like. This will not only free up space on your computer or your device, it will make it a lot easier for you to find the apps that you actually make use of.
Use what you have.
So now you’re left with just the apps or programs that you use (or want to use), but do you actually know how they work? Most applications and programs, regardless of how well-designed they are, still typically need you to spend some time learning how to best make use of them. It’s not enough to just have an application on your phone or program installed on your computer – as great as some apps are, they’re not magic – all have a learning curve (some short, some long). You’ll want to spend some time getting to know each app or tool a little bit better and understand its capabilities. That way you can figure out how each one can best fit into your day-to-day life and help improve your productivity.
Add with purpose.
In some ways, having a smartphone is like having a shopping mall in the palm of your hand. And at this particular shopping mall (your smartphone’s app store), many of the wares are free – so why not get a bunch? The availability of free or trial versions of apps makes it very tempting to just download apps and then see how they work for you later. Sounds good on paper, but this is one of the big culprits when it comes to creating app-related overwhelm. Just because a friend tells you an app is great, or because you read an article online telling you about the latest and greatest app that’s available, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right app for you. As with all things productivity-related, you want to make sure you’re acting with purpose. Don’t download a new app for tool until you’ve decided a) that you need it, and b) that you found the one that is going to solve a problem that you’re currently have or make something you’re currently doing easier.
I know it can be very tempting to go app-crazy and download everything in sight, but let me talk you down from the ledge. Remember, your tools are supposed to be useful – and just like when your closet has so much clutter that you can’t find your favorite outfit, when your phone has so many apps that you have to scroll through a half-dozen screens to find the one you need, what was once useful is now wasting your time.
Excellent organizing advice Josh, thanks for sharing! You can find more pro organizing solutions from Josh at Custom Living Solutions, or see more space-saving organizing solutions from FranklinCovey.