Technology is brilliant, but we sometimes need to dial it down so it doesn’t take over. After all, the best technology is designed to help us, not distract us from all the other things we want to do.
If your devices are playing too big a role in your life, have a look at our top tips for enjoying a mindful, intentional relationship with technology – one that leaves room for all the other things in life.
Being more focused
Our first tip is to look at where you’re spending most of your tech time – whether that’s social media, gaming, or streaming videos – and then put some simple measures in place to make sure you’re making the most of it.
Follow our tips below to help you move towards a healthier balance between your online and offline lives.
- Create boundaries
Losing too much time to your phone or tablet? Daily timers let you set your own limits for certain sites and apps, which can help you focus on optimising the time you do spend on them. No more mindless scrolling!
- Adjust your screen
A screen full of apps and notifications can be distracting. Making some simple changes can help you be more purposeful when using your device. For example, you might choose to remove particular apps from your home screen, go greyscale so your apps look less appealing, or remove the notification dots that alert you to unread messages and updates.
- Take control of your inbox
There are lots of tools that can give you more control over your email habits. From categorising and prioritising your messages to scheduling the emails you send, you never need to feel overwhelmed by your inbox again.
- Focus your search
If you sometimes lose hours searching for something online, you might want to try typing or speaking into the search bar instead. It’s a small change but it can help you to be more intentional about the apps you open.
- Sometimes you can’t do everything
Multitasking isn’t always the answer. Sometimes you need to focus on getting that one thing done. If that sounds familiar, you might want to try reducing the number of screens around you to improve your focus.
Unplugging more often
This tip is all about recognising the value of time out. All the tools in the world won’t maximise your digital wellbeing if you don’t find time to switch off.
- Wind down for a better night’s sleep
We’ve all done it: staying awake later than we meant to because we’re busy on our phone or tablet. Instead of losing sleep, why not make your phone a helpful part of your bedtime routine?
- Step away from work
It’s hard to switch off from work when you’re always connected. Make the most of leisure and family time with Do Not Disturb functionality, or turn off your work profile so that only personal apps will run.
- Use your smart speaker
We all need time out. It’s easy to create moments away from your device with voice-powered Do Not Disturb mode, or by activating Downtime on your Google Home devices.
- Go device-free
It might sound like the ultimate sacrifice, but creating device-free zones and times can be incredibly liberating and help you find time for other things.
Our third tip is to keep it simple. Find out how to remove unnecessary extras and live in the moment.
- Manage your apps and notifications
Did you know you can pause distracting apps when you need to focus? Try temporarily hiding certain notifications, or banish them all from your screen. With Gmail, you can even limit the number of email alerts you receive so you’ll only be notified when it’s essential.
- Pay attention
Go on, give people your full attention. Flip to Shhh with Google Pixel and easily turn on Do Not Disturb just by flipping your phone face down.
- Stay heads up
Ticking those everyday tasks off your to do list needn’t mean hours lost to your screen. Use a virtual assistant to get things done without clocking up screen time.
- Out of sight, out of mind
Keeping your phone out of sight can improve your concentration and ability to retain information, as well as helping reduce stress. It seems too simple not to give it a try.
Finding balance as a family
This one’s about the people who matter. Do you want to be more mindful of your whole family’s tech habits? Perhaps you want your children to be confident online explorers but are also wondering how to talk to them about staying safer online.
- Play together
From Google Earth to YouTube Kids, there’s so much out there to explore. Try setting time aside each week to use technology with your kids, find out what interests them, and learn and play together.
- Explore offline too
One of the best things about technology is how it can spark ideas for offline experiences. Whether it’s a map that takes you on a family walk, a recipe you can make together or a fun video to teach you a new skill, make the most of opportunities to explore offline together.