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List of Google’s 14 Digital Wellbeing tips

Technology companies say they want their technology to improve your life, rather than distract from it.

To this end, Google has put together a self-diagnostic quiz and set of personalised digital wellbeing tips to find the right balance of technology in your life that feels right for you.

Here’s the self-diagnostic test to check your digital wellbeing…

  • How often do you experience the following? (Never, rarely, sometimes, often)
    1. “I tend to lose track of time when I’m on my phone”
    2. “I feel the need to check my phone right away if it vibrates or makes a sound”
    3. “I get distracted by my phone when I’m with friends or family”
    4. “I spend more time on social media than I’d like”
    5. “I’ll stay on my phone instead of going to sleep when I intend to”
    6. “I feel like I’m missing something important at work if I don’t check my phone”
    7. “If I have a question I reach for my phone for an immediate answer”
    8. “I feel overwhelmed by the amount of unread emails I have”

Answer sometimes or often to any of these questions, then there are practical things you can do, according to Google to manage your digital wellbeing.

14 Digital Wellbeing tips

  1. Understand how you’re using your device. Getting a better, more detailed understanding of your tech use is the first step toward improving your overall digital wellbeing. You can use digital wellbeing and screentime apps to understand how you spend time with your device. This tip is useful if you tend to lose track of time when I’m on your device (Q1)
  2. Manage your apps and notifications to reduce distractions. Pausing apps and customizing when and how you get notifications can help keep your attention on your tasks. Features such as ‘focus’ mode on devices can help. This tip is helpful if you feel the need to check your device right away if it vibrates or makes a sound (Q2)
  3. Minimise your device use when with others. Give your full attention to the people you spend time with and maximize the quality of your in-person connections. Features such as “do not disturb: can help here. This tip is helpful if you find you get distracted by your device with you’re with friends of family (Q3)
  4. Create boundaries for yourself. Setting limits for certain apps and sites can keep you from scrolling the day away. You can set time limits with certain apps and app groups, as well as reminders to take breaks, and you can turn of autoplay and/or endless scrolling. This tip is useful if you find your spend more time on social media than you’d like (Q4)
  5. Wind down for a better night’s sleep. Creating space from your device at night can help you feel more relaxed and help you sleep better. Use features such as bedtime mode/wind down mode to help you set up a healthy pre-sleep routine. This tip is helpful if you stay on your device instead of going to sleep when you intend to (Q5)
  6. Step away from work when you want to. Creating space from work-related notifications can help you recharge while away from the office. Use do not disturb and out of office features, and turn off your work profile/apps. This tip helps if you feel you may miss something important at work if you don’t check your device (when you’re not at work) (Q6)
  7. Put your smart speaker to good use. Use your smart speaker and voice Assistant to create moments away from your device. Ask your assistant to turn on Do Not Disturb/downtime mode. This can be useful if you tend to reach for your device whenever you have a question (Q7)
  8. Master your inbox. Email at your fingertips can enable connection and productivity. Make your inbox work even harder for you with tools that give you greater control over when and how you email. For example, use priority/VIP inboxes to declutter your inbox, and use email scheduling. This helps if you feel overwhelmed by the amount of unread emails you have (Q8)
  9. Make some simple adjustments to your screen. Making changes to your screen can help you be even more purposeful when using your device. Simplify and declutter your Home Screen, organise your apps, use greyscale, and remove notifications
  10. Use the search bar to navigate your device. Navigating your phone by typing or speaking into the search bar can help you be more intentional about the apps you open.
  11. Try single-tasking. Multitasking can sometimes be counterproductive to getting anything done. To improve your focus, try reducing the number of screens around you, prioritizing just the one that helps you achieve a single task at a time.
  12. Stay heads up. Use the Google Assistant to complete everyday tasks without getting pulled into your screen. Send text messages, make phone calls, queue up your favorite music, and more.
  13. Put your phone out of sight and out of mind. It seems simple, but according to Adam Gazzaley M.D. Ph.D., just keeping your phone out of your line of sight can improve your concentration, your ability to retain information, and help reduce stress.
  14. Talk about technology with your family. To help you tackle the tough questions, Google has created a downloadable family guide to spark productive conversations and identify healthy habits that work for your whole family. These conversations focus on deciding when and how to use devices, using social media meaningfully and responsibly, making gaming a positive experience, and balance offline and online activities.
Written by
Dr Paul Marsden
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Digital wellbeing covers the latest scientific research on the impact of digital technology on human wellbeing. Curated by psychologist Dr. Paul Marsden (@marsattacks). Sponsored by WPP agency SYZYGY.