Digital wellbeing guru at Google Pixel 3, Rose La Prairie shares her top tips for making smarter use of your smartphone at home.

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“As technology becomes increasingly woven into our day-to-day lives, making sure it’s improving life - instead of distracting from it - is more important than ever.” 

We sat down with Rose, head of Android’s digital wellbeing efforts at Google Pixel 3 to find out her top tips for learning to how to switch off that Android phone and feel better for it.

Understand your tech habits

"The first place to start is understanding how you use technology, and deciding if the balance works for you.

Look for the Digital Wellbeing section in your Android phone’s Settings menu (requires Android 9 or higher).

Here, you’ll see a breakdown of your digital habits – how many times per day you unlock your phone, how many notifications you receive, and how much time you spend on apps.

Think about the behaviours you’d like to change, and the new habits you want to create."

The myth of multitasking

"We all like to think that we can juggle several things at once, but scientists have long concluded that the concept of multi-tasking is a myth – in reality, it just means doing several things slightly less well than if you concentrated on one thing at a time!

Help yourself to achieve deep focus in whatever task or activity you’re doing by turning off all but the most essential notifications on your Android phone – Do Not Disturb mode enables you to block calls, messages and app interruptions in a single setting."

Be present in the moment

"Technology can sometimes make it hard to give someone your full attention, so here’s a quick and easy way of switching off distractions and being present in the moment.

With this gesture, you can simply turn your phone face-down to turn on Do Not Disturb.

Perfect for family dinners or work meetings, it means that only the most import ant calls or messages make it through, so you can fully relax."

Keep it simple

"If barely a minute goes by without your phone buzzing, beeping or vibrating, think about adjusting your notifications to reduce interruptions and distraction. 

Take a look at all the apps you have installed on your phone: delete the ones you don’t use, or which aren’t useful; review and adjust the notification settings on the apps you do need, so you’re using them more intelligently; and tidy up your homescreen to put your most important apps front and centre and encourage good habits – you’re never going to learn that new language this year if your Spanish app is buried in a folder somewhere!"

Make better use of your screen time

We’ve all got at least one app that we reflexively reach for when we’ve got a moment or two of downtime. It might be helpful to be mindful of the amount of time you can spend on that app.

Use our app timer on your Android phone to set a daily “browsing allowance” for each app; when you reach your time limit, the app is paused for the rest of the day.

Get a good night’s sleep

"Help get yourself into the right mood for a restful evening by setting up Wind Down on your Android phone.

Wind Down reminds you to switch off at night, setting a schedule to fade your screen to “grayscale” while Do Not Disturb silences notifications for a good night’s sleep.

You can also set a schedule for Night Light which helps to reduce blue light (which can negatively impact melatonin, the hormone that helps you feel drowsy) by switching your phone display into amber."

Have you any tips on learning to switch off at home? Tweet us @goodhomesmag or post a comment on our Facebook page.

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