I used to be picky about the wallpapers for my lock & home screen. I’d spend time choosing the perfect image.
I also used to be picky about how my apps were arranged, too. I would obsessively rearrange them by usage, then by color, then by category.
Then one day, inspired by Note To Self’s Bored & Brilliant project and Tristan Harris’s great writing about addictive & dark interface design, I realized I was treating my phone as a place and not a thing.
I was tweaking & decorating my phone as if it were a physical place to hang out in. I think I did this as a way to relieve anxiety & creative jitters. It was a silly use of my time & energy, because it neither produced anything nor made me happy. In fact, goofing around with my phone so much made me slightly unhappy.
So one day I blanked out my wallpapers and tossed all my apps into a single folder willy-nilly except for the essentials (phone, music, messages). I made my phone as boring & utilitarian as possible.
I discovered I stopped caring about my phone as much as I used to
And I felt happier! Lighter. Less dependent.
More & more these days, I treat my phone less as a place and more as a tool. The device has come to feel a lot like a remote control—something you use only when you need it, and promptly forget about when you don’t.
And no one cares what color their remote is, do they?