Happy New Year!

It’s that time of year again where we make resolutions, select theme words or just commit to actively working to have our best year yet. Typically I create a blog post or send an email to my subscribers with the top apps for goal achievement or for productivity. In fact, I already started to outline a similar post for 2017. Then it hit me. You probably don’t need that, at least right now. 

In an increasingly busy world where you are being inundated with new technologies, social networks, and apps, you don’t require another item added to your list without removing an item first. For this reason, my first message to you in 2017 is a challenge. I challenge you to remove every app from your phone that is not enriching your life.

Remove Time-Wasters

First, review those apps that are time-sucks. If you only use Facebook a couple times a week to check on family, or if you are actively attracting opportunities with the network, it can stay. However, if you find yourself repeatedly engaged in political battles, upset by fake news stories shared, etc., remove the app. Review all apps for social networks, games, past conventions, etc. Remove every single app that will not contribute to your success in 2017.

Remove Apps You Don’t Use

A brilliant friend told you to start using Evernote but you’ve never got around to it. Every time you glance at your screen, the little elephant stares at you in judgment. Remove it. You want to start using that cool app for to-do lists. You downloaded it two months ago and have been meaning to learn more about it. Delete it.

When you have or make time and are serious about using these apps, download them again. In the meantime, they are taking up space and giving you little micro doses of guilt.

Turn Off Notifications

Unless you are a power user of an app—attracting job opportunities, clients, enriching your network, etc.—you should not have notifications turned on for that app. Hundreds of tiny interruptions in the form of dings and vibrations strangle our productivity and create an overdependence on our phones as we become more dependent on these notifications to release little doses of dopamine, that feel-good hormone that makes us feel happy and loved.

Commit to a More Balanced Approach to Technology in 2017

I believe technology should make use more efficient, effective and connected (to people—not technology). When it is not doing these things, it’s time to regroup and reevaluate. Let’s commit to taking a more strategic approach to using technology, especially our smart phones in 2017. Below are a few suggestions. I’m not suggesting you adopt all of them, just use those that speak to you.

  1. I will stop charging my phone next to my bed at night. This increases the likelihood of me interacting with it right before bed and as soon as I wake up.
  2. I will commit to being fully present with family and friends. I will not play with my phone or incessantly check emails/messages when with loved ones.
  3. I will only download apps that I intent to put to use in the next 24 hours.
  4. I will be more present in my environment, not relying on my phone to “kill time” on train rides, in the back of a taxi/Uber, or when waiting in public places. I will be open to my surroundings which may result in gaining new relationships and ideas that can enrich my life.

Of course, I’ll send you some tech tools to help you in 2017 shortly. In the meantime, comment with the actions you’ve taken to reduce your app/technology clutter in 2017. I want to hear what you’re doing and what is working for you!