📅 July 6, 2022

A purpose driven phone

I have intentionally tried to configure my phone to be a tool to help me improve my life and wellbeing, rather than having it be a consumption device to sink hours into.

Below are some ways I have attempted to accomplish this.

Selection of apps

I purposely do not have apps installed that I feel like I would spend hours on. You won't find Facebook, TikTok, or Twitter on my phone. It isn't because I don't use these services, I just choose to use them during scheduled times or as a tool to help me.

If I need to look up the hours of a local business, it often involves viewing a Facebook page. I'm able to view that via the browser, which doesn't require having the Facebook app installed and at my fingertips at all times.

App timers

There are apps that I occasionally want to use on my phone, but are also a source of interruptions and wasted hours. Some examples of these are email (Gmail, Outlook), Reddit, and Slack.

On Android and iOS, you can set App timers to specify how much (screen) time to allow an app per day. By default, I have a timer set on these apps to zero minutes. This introduced some much-needed friction when I habitually pulled out my phone and opened these apps without much thought when I felt a tinge of boredom.


Macrodroid is an Android app that can automate repetitive tasks. There are a couple of ways I use this app daily.

I have an automation scheduled in the morning configured to display a dialog that asks: "What am I looking forward to today?". This gives me a chance to picture my upcoming day and find some meaning. After I click "Ok" to that prompt, a website is triggered to open and show some randomized quotes. The quotes are not always fantastic, but for the one that is, I will copy it and set it on my home screen.

The second automation I have is a prompt inspired by Marshall Goldsmith's Six Daily Questions. I use the following questions:

Did I do my best to…

  1. Focus on the things I can control.
  2. Judge myself on my sincere pursuit, not outcomes.
  3. Ruthlessly break down work to facilitate action.
  4. Be kind to myself and act immediately on generous impulses.
  5. Be intentionally grateful.
  6. Choose excitement and curiosity over fear and boredom.

This is a newer addition to my day, but so far, I have found the quick reflection worth the time.

One home screen

I only have one home screen that shows after unlocking my phone. I can get to everything I need from here without needing to swipe. The main things on this screen are:

This is my phone. There are many like it, but this one is mine.


# random | productivity | lifehack | technology