In our tech-filled world, there’s an app for everything.
Games, learning a language, shopping of all types, getting a ride to the airport … you name it, there’s probably more than one app for it.
How awesomely convenient … or is it?
… because what’s one more app on your double-digit-gigabyte-memory smartphone?
Your smartphone isn’t just a tool — it’s a window into your inner world: the things that you find most important, or at least did at one point.
30? 70? 100? 200?
You’re counting not only the apps that you use everyday, but also those apps that live in your app menu that you barely touch. Of course, there’s also those built-in apps that you can’t get rid of, but they’re part of the count too.
Personally, I have just over 80 apps on my phone, a little over half of which I downloaded myself.
Now that you know how many apps you HAVE, which ones do you use at least once a week?
Willing to throw myself under the bus, of the roughly 55 apps I downloaded to my phone, I use about half of them on a daily or weekly basis.
That’s 27–28 apps that I use only once a month, if that. Most of them are travel-related apps or things that I need occasionally, like the subway map for NYC when I visit 3–4 times a year.
Those apps aren’t just taking up space on my phone or your phone — they’re life-strangling clutter.
Those “extra” or “occasional” apps are doing more harm than good.
As a member of the last generation to be born before the internet, I find myself observing my digital space similarly to my physical space.
Digital clutter is the same as physical clutter.
Between pins on Pinterest, bookmarks in browsers, programs on the toolbar, all the files in my Google Drive, the websites visited on a daily basis, + all the apps on my smartphone and tablet, I could fill a physical library.
But my home looks very different.
Everything has a place to go, and I spend more money on food + travel than buying new things.
Yet happiness continued to elude me, just as it may be eluding you.
Then the light bulb moment came.
The more digital clutter you have, the less mental “operating space” you have.
In a modern culture that depends on your consumption, only you can decide what actually makes it to your eyes + ears.
Those random newsletters, bookmarked websites, 200 Pinterest boards, and yes, occasional apps you never use on your smartphone — it all occupies your mind.
How long before 25 … 35 … 45% of your room is full?
Add in meetings, networking, friends, family, cooking, errands, medical appointments, daily news, movies, music … and before long, you find yourself sitting in the corner with no space to move.
No wonder you never plan those trips you want to take.
No wonder you never read those books you want to read.
No wonder you never accomplish those dreams you’ve always had.
There’s no room.
No room in your mind to truly think, which means no energy + no focus.
I think Greg McKeown said it best in his book, Essentialism:
… a good editor is someone who uses deliberate subtraction to actually add life to ideas, setting, plot, and characters. Likewise, in life, disciplined editing can help add to your level of contribution. It increases your ability to focus on and give energy to the things that really matter. It lends the most meaningful relationships and activities more space to blossom.
More apps = more clutter = less space = less usefulness.
We all want to be heard, to be loved. But most importantly, we all want to be useful.
There’s no space for you to be useful, to be loved, or to have anything meaningful worth listening to unless you remove the clutter — physically + digitally — to create more space to simply exist + experience all life has to offer.
You weren’t born a human to pay bills + die.
You were born to learn, to feel, to explore.
And at least half of the apps on your phone aren’t helping you do that.
Life is an experiment, so stay curious my dear. — VK
Originally published at medium.com