A Simple Life · A Simple, Honest Life

Email Subscriptions

I’ve been thinking a lot about time lately. Mostly about ways in which I can take back my time from other things and people and make it my own again. Sometimes I come up with really big ideas for this and other times I just think small.

Here’s a small idea that took up more time while I was doing it, but has really shown to have a great payoff.

I was trying to track my phone usage last month and have really clear ‘No Phone Time’ sessions blocked out. Like most people, I start checking my phone within a half hour of waking up. I like to keep my mail app clear of those little red notifications that tell me I have email. That means every time I pick up my phone and see a mail notification I feel compelled to check the email, sort it and in turn remove the notification.

The problem with this is that I was getting a lot of junk mail. Subscriptions I didn’t remember signing up for, discounts for stores I shopped at one time, reminders about sales or points expiring, etc. So when I’d get a text on my phone or even use it to check the time I would end up spending 5-10 minutes more than I wanted to on it going through all the new email subscription junk I would get. Over the course of the day this could end up sucking up an average 30 minutes of my time. Our most precious resource.

So I started unsubscribing. Which at first took up even more time. Some places make it so easy to unsubscribe and others make it a bit of a puzzle. My favorite ones are the ones the iPhone flags and they have just a simple unsubscribe button at the top.

Then there’s the unsubscribe links you have to click, usually found hidden away at the bottom of the email.

That will take you to a website where sometimes you just have to click a button saying ‘opt out of emails’ or you have to reenter your email, or (the worst) individually select which emails you’d like to opt out of.

These are the worst and most time consuming.

Here is the good news. I did this for a solid two weeks and it took up more time than I wanted, but now I’ve started to notice a huge decrease in my emails (and the time I spend checking them. Instead of 25 notifications in the morning and five more every half hour I’m getting three in the morning and about 10 total throughout the day. A major improvement in my time, wallet and well being.

A great way to practice digital minimalism as well. Less distractions on our phones means less phone time over all. I’ve still got a few more companies emailing, but I’ve been practicing the unsubscribe method and I wanted to encourage you all to do the same if you’re feeling like too much of your time is spent on email.

A Simple, Honest Life · Simple Life

Phone Apps

Image result for amazon ruining workers
South Park did a great bit on Amazon’s vicious cycle of consumers and workers.

It was AMAZON PRIME DAY this week! Which extended into not one day, but two days (they should probably rename it), and a CONCERT (which I watched, because Taylor Swift). All aimed at getting you to CONSUME, CONSUME, CONSUME. They even have PRE-SALE events! Come on! Buy something you didn’t even think about as something you WANTED (never mind NEED) until you saw it on your super convenient app that you open several times a day. As if Black Friday wasn’t bad enough.

Well, I deleted my Amazon Prime app for prime day and haven’t downloaded it again since. I’m a big Amazon shopper for household items. Toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent. The stuff I don’t want to get at the store a haul up three slights of stairs. I figure I can get on a desktop compute from now on to buy those things though. I buy too much stuff on Amazon as it is just for the convenience of having the app at my fingertips and all my payment information saved on there.

When I talk about a simple life in regards to a minimalist mindset I think people tend to think about their physical space. Cleaning closets, downsizing kitchen utensils, donating items etc. I want to share about the last eight months or so where I started minimizing my phone apps and let me tell you – it feels great! I think digital minimalism is super underrated and not talked about as much as our physical spaces.

How many shopping apps do you have on your phone? If you had asked me a year ago I would have had over five, at least. Amazon, Target, Modcloth, Vinted, you name it! And how many apps do you have in general? Don’t count the ones you can’t delete. Go ahead, count. I have 43.

Social and entertainment apps take up the most of my space and those include Facebook, Messenger, Instagram, Goodreads, Twitter, Unfold, Podcast Preview and Messenger. Then I’ve got an entertainment section and a music section.

And that’s kind of it. The second page over has some financial apps – my bank, credit card and venmo – but I look at those more as necessities than wants.

Cutting down apps isn’t just about the look and feel of your phone though. Yes, it’s true that my phone is now simpler and easier to navigate, but overall it does one really important thing for me that I hope can give you an alternative to your current situation. Not only does having an excess of shopping and game apps on your phone make you waste more money, but it also wastes our most valuable resource: time. At the end of the day time is our ONLY commodity. Can’t shop, play games, or browse cat pics if you’re dead. And (morbid moment) that could happen at any moment. Do we want to spend hours of our day scrolling our feeds, or engaging in conversation with friends? Do we want to half watch a movie while online shopping at our fingertips, or do we want to be fully engaged?

I used to wake up in the mornings and just sit on my phone for two hours before work. Now that my apps are hidden away I tend to just spend about 15-20 minutes looking at my social and entertainment apps when I get home. There’s a glorious time when I get home from work where I’m alone for about 30 minutes. I take that time to do my phone thing. I’ll do a bit of Duolingo, check my Insta, say hi to the family on Facebook and look up recipes on Pintrest. It’s my phone time. That’s not to say I’m not looking at my phone a few times a day at work, in the morning or after dinner. I’m just being more conscious about phone time. I’m not perfect and I’m still learning. But I think the first step of that is to be CONCISION of our phone time.

I even deleted *deep breath* Wizards Unite this week. I was so looking forward to this game. I wanted it to be good. I wanted it to have the same connotations that Pokemon Go had a first. Kids and adults in the parks, running after a freshly spawned Snorlax. The truth is it’s kind of boring, doesn’t make much sense and has started to feel like a chore rather than something I wanted to spend my time on. I deleted it and I have zero regrets about it. In fact it feels like a huge weight off my shoulders.

This is just a small post about the benefits I’ve seen from minimizing my phone apps. I would like to go more in depth into this in the future, but for now here is just a few ideas for your own mental health. I’ve got a whole post in mind for no phone zones: bedroom, bathroom, dinners out, etc. I think I just want to put the idea in your brain for now about considering the minimization of phone apps. Really analyzing what the apps are doing for you and if they’re bringing value to your life or if you just find yourself opening them at random and hoping for some distraction.

Something to considering going into the weekend.

May & June 2019 - A Photo A Day

A Photo A Day – Week Eight

June 22

Sunday was wedding day! I cannot express the joy I felt watching my beautiful (inside and out) friend walk down the aisle to the true love of her life.

The wedding itself was so touching and the after wedding party was great. A lot of catching up with old friends and really just having a good time. It was exactly how one hopes a wedding goes.

June 23

Before we left Sunday, I made sure to say a good goodbye to the cutest dog, Boscoe. This is my In-Laws little boy and he is just the cutest. He’s a spoiled little thing, but I adore him.

We left Spokane around 10 and got home around 4. Laundry and rest was had and then an early bed to get back into the week.

June 24

Nothing says Monday like stocks. I snapped a pic of my average morning on Monday. I usually get up at 6 and zone out on the couch for a half hour watching the morning news and waking up. Around 6:30 I grab a cup of coffee and try to wake up more efficiently. At 7 I get dressed and I’m out the door by 7:30 to make it to work around 8.

It’s getting kind of old and I’m starting to constantly wonder what’s next. Is this it? We’ll get to that next week….

June 25

I felt like I finally got a chance to play the new Niantic Wizards Unite game on Tuesday. This game came out while I was in the wilderness with no cell service. This caused a late start for me and with all the wedding stuff and driving I hadn’t really had a chance to play.

Now that I have though I’m really enjoying it. I am a Magizoologist at level 8. Add me 4602 9212 0437.

June 26

I had a great happy hour after work with friends but we were having such a good time I didn’t take any photos. I kind of love it when that happens. It means you were fully in the moment, which I’ve been trying to do more when I’m with other people.

I think the best thing about Wednesday was this dog patiently waiting for her owner to come back. I was waiting for a smoothie I’d just ordered and this little thing was so cute. Dogs are the best.

June 27

Thursday we were supposed to play kickball, but we had a huge thunderstorm roll in. It rained most of the day so the game was canceled.

I was using kick ball as my 30 minutes of activity this day and with the lightning I didn’t think I was going to get any walking in. Luckily at work we have a great indoor desk treadmill you can use so I hopped on it for a half hour after lunch. Too bad indoor walking doesn’t help open portkeys in Wizards Unite.

I came home and made my favorite five layer dip and vegged out on the couch to catch up on Big Little Lies.

June 28

After work on Friday we went to finally see Toy Story 4. People were describing it as the sequel we didn’t know we needed. I disagree. It was a good film, but completely unneccessary. Also, *spoiler* that goodbye between Woody and Buzz was a letdown.

I took this photo in between advertisements before the movie started. I remember when I worked at a movie theater when I was 16-17 we had this really annoying thing before the trailers started called Movie Tunes. I hated it because to someone who worked there I heard all the same 25 songs they played over and over. Now though, I would prefer Movie Tunes to all these advertisements for Gieco and spoilers to upcoming films. It’s a constant loop that never stops playing. Bring back the music.

Now that June is essentially over, thanks for sticking with A Photo A Day for TWO months instead of just the one. I’m honestly not sure what I’m doing for July on here. It’s been kind of a weird few months for me. I’m hoping some time in nature this weekend will help bring me out of a funk and back to you all next week with something different and exciting.