Something that I really enjoy is configuring my devices to be as transparent as possible. A good tool is one that you don’t have to think about using – you just use it. It should fade into the background of your day and let you frictionlessly get things done.

For me, the device of choice is my iPhone. However, aside from actually using my iPhone, I tend to tinker with it. I like to move apps around, much to my girlfriend’s dismay, and frequently change folder names / sorting methods for my home screen. I don’t think I’ve gone more than a couple days without something changing.

Unfortunately, this habit of mine directly contradicts what I want my iPhone to be – transparent. If I’m constantly shuffling apps around and changing things, my mind doesn’t have time to build any sort of time saving habits. Instead of just knowing that Mail is on the bottom right of the first screen, I have to scan for the blue and white envelope every time I switch its location.

At the start of this month, I said enough and started an experiment. Many, many apps were deleted and everything was rearranged one last time. This is now my current homescreen:

app homescreen

That’s it. I have my three most used apps on the Dock, and the next seven most used in the folder; sorted alphabetically. It was hard to get use to, but now I swear by it. I don’t have to think, and my screen gives way for whatever beautiful photo I have as the wallpaper (which does still change from time to time).

There’s a saying that goes “a Japanese garden is finished when there is nothing left to remove.” There is beauty to this system, and the results of this experiment have been astoundingly beneficial to my productivity and sense of peace in general.

When there’s nothing left to tinker with, you tend to stop tinkering.

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