Using Phone Wallpapers for Thought-Management

Adesh Fr
5 min readNov 15, 2021
Photo by Terje Sollie from Pexels

I was scrolling through the photos in my phone when I noticed something — Four years ago, for the first time I had edited a photo with Goals written on the header; in my own handwriting.

In fact, all I had done was use the vignette tool to make the center of the page which contained things I wanted or had to do, look brighter.

Here’s that image (I seriously am not ashamed to share it):

The significance of this is that — it was the first time I had used a photo of a self-written-text as my wallpaper in order to remind myself what I was about and what I was to do.

That particular photo is followed in my phone by other photos, among which there are a lot more photos with similar design: A page of a diary vignetted.

I guess that marked the beginning of a habit that still persists in me — Designing and using wallpapers for my thought-management. It has now been more than four years. I have had some solid experience on it. It is the reason why I wanted to talk about it.

Phone-Wallpapering has been regular for me now. In fact it has been so natural that — whenever I have a new idea, new structure or a new paradigm, I immediately either design them in a paper and take a photo or I use a photo editing app. It has proved to be very useful. I like to call it: Mind-supplement-in-abstracto.

Phones are without a doubt the most useful and personal technological devices. Our learning, work, communication and entertainment takes place mostly in them. We spend almost all of our time with them (around).

They now play a role no other technology ever has.

This possibly makes the phone screen the most viewed thing in our normal day, both in terms of frequency and duration.

Into the inner phone experience, the wallpaper or the background is the most general component. It is like a base in which everything is built and exists. Apps come and go, change places. But the background remains!

This type of presence of the phone-background and our high-phone-usage makes the background an ideal thing to replicate what we would like to have in the background of our minds.

Thoughts come and go. But the goal/mission/vision remains!

This is why I used the term: Thought-Management. It is about using the phone wallpaper to manage our thoughts in the way they ought to be managed. In a way they will be managed!

Almost everyone who uses a phone selects or keeps that wallpaper which is firstly, supposed to inspire or remind the person of what s/he is all about, and then provide aesthetic value. This need not be said. It is done for symbolism. Everyone does it naturally. But what I am trying to put across is that, our thoughts are not as simple as that. Therefore, this task of wallpapering has to be taken more seriously and methodically.

Our minds are not so naive that — we tell it this is what I am and it abides! It doesn’t work that way. It likes to counter-reason, it likes to explore, it likes to confuse! Providing it with only one vision and trying to discipline it on it is devoiding it of its natural faculties. Not that the mind will agree! It will only be harmful to us as an individualistic whole.

One way to control or manage it is by using the phone-wallpaper more effectively for reasons mentioned above.

The wallpaper has to be designed in such a manner that it addresses all aspects of our life and mind. The wallpaper has to address the confusions too.

One of the most popular results to come up when we search for phone wallpapers is of the night sky with stars, constellations and all that. The reason for their popularity is because, one they are aesthetically pleasing and two, because they provide context of what and where we are in this cosmos and what magic is/awaits us.

Such wallpapers provide inspiration and context. But they won’t be able to address all of our questions and doubts. For instance, when a part of us is concerned with our current income and expenditure, such lofty inspiration can hardly be of use. What use of the information that we are here in this vast unknown, smaller than a speck of dust, when we are concerned about the next meal!

Yes, I know they are supposed to provide metaphysical/spiritual base. But, we are talking about a space which we probably view the most during the course of our day. It surely has to do more than that!

If our human-mind was to merely focus on a singular thing, there wouldn’t be the need for thoughts and thinking.

I consider thoughts to be useful not something to suppress or extinguish — as others like to believe. Thoughts can and should be managed if we want to go to territories never gone before.

My pursuit is to open them up. To revolutionize human thinking.

If we want wallpapers to be our Mind-supplement we have to dig and design deeper.

We have to move beyond symbolism.

Here we are talking about using wallpapers to address all these things, therefore our wallpapers need to communicate to our mind all the things that we want to have communicated. A night sky wallpaper in the background with the current goals written could be a good solution. This way our mind will notice the cosmic/metaphysical context along with the financial/moral —just the way we want it!

What we can do is draw diagrams, make bullet lists — whatever we do to organize our mind — and set it as the wallpaper of our phone.

I have discovered space-effectiveness.Which is the art of placing certain components at certain parts of the wallpaper for the best effect. I also have my ideas about image placing, text placing, color-usage and all that. But I will talk about all that later.

My idea with this was to roughly talk about phone-wallpapering. I would love to hear how you use your wallpaper as I have no idea how others have been doing it!