How to Organize Smartphone Apps for Quick Access

Eliminate smartphone slowdown with a surprisingly simple trick.

Stever Robbins
4-minute read
Episode #510

If you’re like me, you live on your phone (also if you’re like me, you’re 5’10", ravishingly sexy, brilliant beyond belief, and yet compellingly modest). You have apps for this and apps for that. Indeed, you may be listening to this podcast or reading the transcript on your phone at this very moment.

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But have you ever stopped to consider how much your smartphone drags down your productivity? We know all about notifications. It’s time for an appointment? Ping! Someone posted a most-read article about hairless albino mole rats? Ping! New email? Ping! Someone wants a shmoopie for an hour? Ping! Incoming call? Ping! Ping! Ping! In episode 445, we covered how to de-addictify your technology, and turning off notifications is one way.

Your Smartphone Drags Down Your Brain

Smartphones suck. They slow you down: the interface is inefficient and unusable. You have to take your mind off what you’re thinking about, and use genuine thought just to make sure you’re typing the right characters. One minute, you’re planning how to raise your Zombie army. The next minute, you’re trying to deal with the social ramifications of not noticing that autocorrect turned your text message saying “I missed you” into one saying “I kissed you.” Text messages are admissible evidence in court. 

But even worse, for me, is just starting an app. You can imagine that a productivity geek has a bunch of apps. I have 288. Of those 288, probably only 20 get used regularly. But...which 20? 

When you scroll through your screens and screens of icons, it seems like any given app is a "must keep." Even that game you downloaded six years ago, which has that animated character who reminds you of your childhood puppy Spot. You can’t delete that app! That would be like deleting Spot!

Speaking of which, I really want to launch the Spot Your Future Nemesis app, so I can get a head start on the competition. Which screen is it on, again?

Move Icons to the Front

In just a few days, you can quickly put everything you need at your fingertips. Literally.

Each time you use an app, drag its icon to your home screen of icons, the upper left position. The rest of the icons will shift over and down to make room. The one at the end of the page will move over to the next page.

The apps you use most frequently will stay towards the top and top-left of the screen. Soon you’ll know your most frequently used icons. But even better, soon they’ll all be clustered on your front page. No more swiping to other pages. Yay!

Freeze Them in Place

Once you’ve done this for about a week, you’ll have identified your top apps. Now you can stop doing this, and you’ll know right where your most used apps are on the front screen.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.