Our phone home screens are easily customisable, and how we choose to organise them tells a lot about who we are. Like our work desks, our phone layouts reflect certain parts of our personalities.
Many psychological studies have been carried out to analyse how different workers organise their work spaces and what it says about their personalities; type A or type B, aesthete or utilitarian, neat or clustered. These personalities directly affect how we approach productivity at work or how we should.
In her book titled Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style, Carson Tate explains that workers are more productive if they align their cognitive styles to their work strategies. This means allocating efforts in ways that suit their strengths and preferences.
These cognitive styles, according to Carson Tate, are habitual patterns of perceiving, processing and managing information that guide our behaviour.
And since our phones are extensions of ourselves, these patterns are evident in the way we use them in both our personal and work lives.
What does your home screen say about your productivity style?
Based on Carson Tate’s analysis, there are four types of productivity styles directly affected by personality types; prioritiser, planner, arranger and visualiser. We’ll examine each of them based on their characteristics and how they reflect on our phone home screens.
Carson Tate describes a prioritiser as someone who “prefers logical, analytical, critical, fact-based and realistic thinking”. A prioritiser prefers to have information presented in a form that is brief, precise, clear, and technically accurate.
Like their office environment which is usually businesslike, clean and functional, prioritisers also keep their phone screens clean, orderly and minimalist. A prioritser’s phone home screen typically consists exclusively of apps they use frequently.
1. You've got 99 folders, but you never check them
“I put things in folders because I have a lot of apps. When they're not in folders, I have, like, seven to eight pages of apps and I can never remember what page Grindr is on when I need it. However, I leave apps like Message, Calendar and Clock because I use those a lot a lot and it would take forever to get to them if they were in folders.”
2. Your phone is your oasis
My wallpaper was taken from my vacation on Cape Cod to remind me of how relaxed I was once upon a time. As much as I love apps, I hate spending more than a few seconds trying to find and open it. On my home screen I have only the ones I use most frequently so when I unlock I can get right into it without having to search. If I want to use any of the apps on the second screen I just swipe down and search instead of going through all the folders.” — Amber, 25
3. You zero out every single notification, no matter what
“My email inbox and social apps are generally zeroed out by the end of the night. I even go into Snapchat and click through all of the snaps just so get rid of the standing notifications.” — Alexandra, 26
What this says about you: You double- and triple-check that all the lights and oven burners are off before you leave the house. And then you still worry about it.
4. You color-code for organization
“I find the color-coded apps easier to look at, and often you can't see the full name of the app on the home screen, so people often navigate by icon anyway. The color is the most scannable way to identify an app — especially since the current fashion is trending towards brighter, simpler icons. I also enjoyed coming up with the emoji labels. Some are themed (sports, train schedules) and some are simply colors (green, orange). I also don't have any apps that are not immediately visible; i.e., each folder has a ceiling of nine apps. So a 10th orange app will have to earn a spot on the home screen or result in deleting an orange app I don't use that often.” — David, 39