Forget Good Housekeeping for a moment. Let's do some Digital Housekeeping.

According to the mobile intelligence app developer Delvv, most of us are putting up with some annoying problems on our phones and tablets. We ignore them in hopes that they will go away. They won't. In fact, the company found that about 85% of us put up with 20 or more notifications per day. That's crazy!

Raefer Gabriel, the CEO at Delvv, told me a few good tips to start the year. He explained them so succinctly, I'm just quoting his tips verbatim.

1. Practice the two-screen rule

"If you can't fit all your needed apps on two screens, you probably have too many apps. First, put the apps you launch most frequently on the home screen. Next, wherever possible, delete bloatware, the unwanted apps that came pre-installed on your phone (e.g. Apple Keynote, Motorola Connect or anything else that you'll never use and hasn't been locked in place by the manufacturer). Finally, place less frequently used, but still valuable, apps in folders.  Limit yourself to two screens at all times."

2. Go on a notification diet

"If an app is constantly nudging and annoying you, ask yourself: what's the worst thing that could happen if I don't get these notification? If the consequences are minimal, shut the app up. Keep in mind that a lot of mobile apps only make money if they can get you to spend time in the app. While you probably want to know right away about new text messages, IMs and maybe emails, other notifications are not necessarily for your benefit, and both iOS and Android allow you to deactivate notifications app-by-app."

3. Organize emails on your computer

"There are tons of different email organization schemes, but they all have one thing in common: they take longer on a mobile phone. For example, let's say you prefer to leave to-do items in your inbox and move all complete items to folders. Doing this on a 5.5 x 2.5-inch screen isn't efficient. In a desktop email client like Outlook, you can quickly organize your emails by sender and drag them to the appropriate folder, or even better, setup and manage filters and rules."

4. Plug the holes

"The way Alice got lost in a rabbit hole, smartphone users seem to get lost in endless 'click holes.' Our phones train us to hop from app to app, website to website, binging on content that we don't really need. Plug the click hole by purging the apps that reinforce this behavior. For example, let's say you're a news junkie. Instead of collecting news apps, pick one news aggregator or two to three apps that fill all your needs. If shopping is your click hole, do likewise--limit your shopping apps to three max."

5. Marry your smartphones, computers and tablets

"If you have to email something to yourself, or manually re-enter data on your computer, you're doing something wrong. By syncing browsers, to-do lists, calendars and cloud storage across all your devices, you can save yourself the hassle of re-finding, re-entering and reorganizing data."

Published on: Jan 25, 2016