Dear reader: I’ve partnered with Google in their Digital Wellbeing initiative and I’m excited to share this content with you! Full disclosure, I am a part of the Forward Influence Network and this is a sponsored content post that I’m being compensated for. However, all the words, perspectives, thoughts, and tips are my own. Thank you for reading!
We are a technology-driven culture. Every day we’re inundated with new ideas, apps, notifications, updates—sometimes it can feel overwhelming! And honestly, sometimes this can seem negative, too. But as someone who’s professional and creative career has been built on the internet, I know (and also appreciate) the value of social media, phones, and the web.
It’s all about finding a healthy balance.
As long as we’re engaging productively, minimizing distractions, and finding ways to become more present and invested in one another off-screen, then technology is (and always will be) a good thing.
That’s why I’m excited about Google’s Digital Wellbeing initiative. As a writer, online coach, and bonus mom to my boyfriend’s son (who’s growing up in this highly digital world), it’s important for me to remember and share tips for healthy technology use.
Here are a few ideas:
1. Manage your apps to reduce unnecessary distractions.
How many times have you been in the middle of something (creative, professional, academic, or even a conversation) and completely lost your train of thought because a news update came in? Or a DM? Or a Facebook mention?
For me, it’s sadly too many times to count.
With Google’s Digital Wellbeing, you can pause apps with the touch of a button. You can also control your notifications, giving you the option to ‘Snooze’ your different apps for different timeframes (which is perfect for when you only have a certain block of time to get something done). There’s also the option to combine notifications so that you’ll get a single alert each day with all relevant updates rather than a new notification for each comment, post, like, etc.
For someone like me, this is invaluable. When I’m sharing content across multiple platforms, I tend to jump back and forth rather than focusing on what I really care about. When I can control my notifications and even set appropriate times for them to appear—I’m no longer a slave to my phone or desktop. (And that’s huge.)
2. Use ‘Wind Down’ to help you establish a healthy sleeping routine.
It’s no secret that when we sleep better, we’re able to focus and become more present.
Something I personally struggle with is actually shutting off my phone at the end of the day. Sometimes I like to mindlessly scroll at bedtime for a ‘relaxing’ activity—but in reality, I’m just keeping myself from falling asleep earlier.
Google’s new ‘Wind Down’ feature creates an evening routine for you. Within the timeframes you set, your phone will turn greyscale (for less blue light!) and you can even implement ‘Do Not Disturb’ so you’re not focused on anything but getting a good night’s sleep.
3. Create and set ‘screen-free’ times.
As a bonus mom, this has become even more important to me. Prior to having my boyfriend’s son in my life, I was all about squeezing as much work as I could into a day. Now my priorities have shifted in a more healthy direction, and I’d rather become more present than be controlled by my work, my phone, or my social apps.
Google came out with a ‘dashboard’ that’s perfect for not only monitoring how much/how often we’re using different apps, but it also helps set ‘screen-free’ times for Austin (my boyfriend’s son) and for myself, too.
Something I really love is family dinners—this is the time to invest in conversation, sit and eat distraction-free, and become more present in what one another has to say. The limits and controls through the dashboard have really helped to shift our mealtimes to something that’s more authentic and honestly, less rushed.
4. Put a pause on everything.
Do you ever just want to pause the world? Pause the emails, the messages, the updates? Same. One of the coolest features of Google’s digital wellbeing program is the option to pause your internet through Google Wifi.
Sometimes I just need that extra nudge to really unplug—this WiFi pause has forced me to disconnect, to become more present, and to focus on what’s tangible and physically in front of me. (It’s also given my dog more walks than he’s ever had. 😂 🐕)
My challenge to you is to try it, even for a short time. It’s amazing what other things you might be missing when you’re unconsciously ruled by distractions and updates.
When we become more present, everything changes
Honestly, technology is a beautiful thing (even if it gets a bad rap). When we’re connected appropriately and able to disengage when necessary it becomes an addition to our lives, and not a crutch.
PS: To share this image + post on social media, use the graphic to the left!
PPS: If you want to learn more about Google’s Digital Wellbeing, or browse through the tools and features yourself, click here: wellbeing.google.
Featured Image Credit: TONL