You spend an awful lot of time on your phone. Don’t lie. You probably don’t go much more than 15 minutes before doing something with your mobile device. So, doesn’t it make sense that we should spend just a few minutes to optimize the arrangement of all of our apps on our home screen? Well, in today’s article,I’m gonna show you how to do just that. I want to show you an easy, three-step method so that you can quickly and easily find the information and find the tools that you use the most. So, let’s dive in. All right.
So, here we are on the home screen of my phone.
The very first step that we want to take a look at is the bottom of our screen. This is where you have the opportunity to anchor four, maybe five apps that will always remain visible at the bottom of your screen so that even if you swipe to another screen, to the left, to the right, those four or five apps will remain the same.
Now when you first got your phone, they probably had a few defaults there. Remember, you can always change those defaults. You want to think of not only the most used apps but the ones that you want to conveniently access because most of us are accessing our apps with the thumb of the hand that we are holding the phone, and that makes it extra convenient with those apps at the bottom. So, in my case, I’ve got both my phone app and my text messaging app. I’ve got the email, maps, and a timer, a timer, which I use quite frequently. That’s why I actually have it in the right corner. I’m right-handed. It’s very easy for me to get to. So, focus on what you want in that anchored area.
Step number two, let’s take a look at rearranging the rest of the apps on our home screen. Now at first glance, you may notice that I don’t have a single folder listed here at all, the reason being is that I find that folders tend to be a very inefficient way of organizing your apps on your mobile device. It forces you to go in and out, in and out of a variety of different folders. And although it may seem to make sense to group all of your social media apps in the same folder, chances are, you use one or two of those social media apps much more frequently, much more often than everything else. So, I think you’ll be better off inputting your most-used apps on your home screen.
So, how have I organized my apps and how do I encourage you to do the same? Well, starting from the bottom, we’re gonna work our way up, you can see that I’ve grouped things together in rows or at least for the most case, they’re either in rows or maybe in a squared group.
So, the first row we see here, I’ve got a variety of Google things, Google apps that I use frequently, Photos, Google Podcasts, and Chrome as my web browser, something that I use most frequently. It’s actually very easy to get to. It’s central down low with my right thumb.
So, I can easily access it. The next row above it is sort of my notes, projects, my project management, and task list items. I’ve got a habit tracker, I’ve got Keep notes, and I’ve got Trello. So, I’ve got those three things grouped together as well. Now when we go up to the next level, I sort of mixed a few different things together. Let’s start on the right-hand side.
Here you see I’ve got my three most frequently accessed social media apps: Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Yes, I could have put them in a folder, but I want direct access to these tools. So, by grouping them together, it’s very easy for me to find them on this list. Now on the left-hand side, I’ve created more of a square grouping, a two-by-two grouping. Here you can see I’ve got a stretching app, I’ve got a timer app that I use when I am presenting, I’ve got Stocard, which is where I can place loyalty cards and that type of thing, and then I’ve got Guitar-Tuna.
Yes, I’m a musician, I’m a guitar player. So, every once in awhile, I need to tune my guitar or maybe one of my children’s guitar. So, I want to have access to that as well. These four,
I grouped together as functional tools. They have a purpose for them, but they’re more functional. They’re not related in that I would use them together or one after another, but I know exactly where to find them in that group of four.
Now continuing on to the upper right-hand corner, these are apps that I use less frequently than the ones down below. Remember that’s by design because if you’re using or touching your apps with your thumb most often, you want to put the most frequently used, the ones that you click on the most in the lower half.
But up in the top right-hand corner, I’ve got both a banking app Tangerine, I’ve got a calculator side by side, and then I’ve got a few things related to weather, not just the Weather Network, but I’ve got my Nest thermostat, I’ve also got my Ring doorbell, so some of my smart home technology.
And then on the upper left-hand corner, I’ve got the Play Store app. As you can see, I actually have space for two more apps here if I want, but I don’t feel the need for that right now. The last thing that you’ll see here on my home screen is that I’ve got a widget. That brings us to step number three. Don’t forget to use widgets.
If you have the capability of adding some additional functionality here, do so. You can see that I’ve got a calendar widget here in the bottom right-hand corner. That’s why I don’t have a calendar app visible. I can click on this and go directly into my calendar app. I’m gonna jump back out here. I can scroll through my items, I can click on something in particular. For example, right now, yes, right now I’m recording new videos. So, I can actually click on those items as well. Very, very convenient. But I want to show you another great way to use widgets.
If I scroll to my secondary screen, this is my primary home screen, this is the secondary screen, I’ve got a few other apps, and yeah, I actually do have a couple of folders, but they are my secondary screen. These are less frequently used apps. You’ll also notice that I have an email widget here. This is actually the Gmail widget for Android. What I love about this is that although I have my Gmail app available to me, it’s anchored down below in that middle position, I find a much quicker way to browse my inbox is just a swipe. Just a swipe over and I can glance, and then I can swipe it out of the way. I don’t have to wait for the app to load. I don’t have to click on anything.
I find that swiping is much more efficient. I can quickly see things here. And I can click either directly on one of those messages. I can also click on the little pencil icon and start composing a new message immediately from that screen. So, you might want to investigate widgets.
In order to do so, at least on an Android device, you just need to click and hold on an empty space in most cases. And then down below, you’re gonna see an area called widgets. And if you click on that, depending on what types of apps you have installed, you’ll have a variety of different widgets available to you. You might want to experiment with them. You’ll see here that they’ll show you how many squares or how many spaces it will take up.
Some of them will have a variety of widgets for you to choose from. So, those are my three tips for optimizing your home screen. Start with the anchored area, most likely at the bottom of your screen.
Number two, when it comes to individual apps, I would encourage you to think beyond just folders but to group like-minded apps together, whether it’s in rows or maybe in quadrants as in groups of fours. And last but not least, don’t forget widgets, whether it’s this calendar widget as you see in this example or having a particular widget on another screen that you can quickly just swipe over and glance and then you can get back to whatever it is that you’re doing.