Focus your time with tech

Explore the six tips below to learn how to get the most out of technology by being more focused when you use it.

Much of people’s daily lives involve smartphones. Adam Gazzaley M.D. Ph.D. and Alexandra Samuel Ph.D. propose ways to become more aware of our time spent on screens.

  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.

    • Android

      Learn more about your time spent in apps.

      The dashboard gives you a complete picture of how you use your phone. See your daily screen time, how many notifications you get, and how often you unlock your phone.

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      A Google phone screen showing that the user has been on their phone for 3hr and 22min and the various apps that they've spent their time on.
    • YouTube

      See how much you watch.

      Discover how much time you’ve spent watching YouTube videos today, yesterday, and over the past week.

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      A Google phone screen showing in a seven day chart the amount of time the user has spent on YouTube and specifically the amount of time they've spent that day which is 41 minutes.
  2. Create boundaries for yourself

    Setting limits for certain apps can keep you from scrolling the day away.

    • Android

      Manage your time spent in apps.

      If you want to limit the time you spend using certain apps, you can set daily app timers. When the timer runs out, the app is paused for the rest of the day.

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      A Google phone screen that shows the App Timer getting moved from 1hr 30mins to 1hr and 40mins.
    • YouTube

      Remind yourself to take a break.

      Schedule custom breathers as often as you want, pausing what you’re currently watching and encouraging you to step away.

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      A Google phone screen that shows an illustrated monkey sipping from a cup and the question "Time to take a break? You've been watching for 1 hour."
    • YouTube

      Take control of your video experience.

      Autoplay control lets you decide whether you want the next video to start playing automatically.

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      A Google phone screen that shows Autoplay in the on mode and a thumbnail for the YouTube video "The Making of Home Alone Again with the Google Assistant."
  3. Make some simple adjustments to your screen

    Making changes to your screen can help you be even more purposeful when using your device.

    • Simplify your Home screen.

      Removing distracting apps on your Home screen can make it easier to stay focused on the task at hand.

      A Google phone screen showing a screen that only has tools, and no apps, on the home screen.
    • Organize your apps.

      Having screens full of apps can be a distraction in itself. Try cutting down the number of pages of apps, and put specific apps that frequently distract you into a folder on the second page.

      A Google phone screen showing a limited number of apps on a homescreen and apps embedded within folders.
    • Go Grayscale.

      Grayscale turns your screen black and white, making your apps less engaging when you’re trying to focus.

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      A Google phone screen that shows the Grayscale being turned on from the Quick Settings.
    • Remove the notification dots from your apps.

      To reduce the urge to check email or social media when you don’t intend to, remove the indicators on the app reminding you of unread messages or updates.

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      A Google phone screen that shows the "Allow notification dots" being turned off.
  4. Master your inbox

    Email at your fingertips can enable connection and productivity. Make your inbox work even harder for you with new tools that give you greater control over when and how you email.

  5. 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.

    A search bar that shows Google Assistant taking a user to gmail via voice request.
  6. 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.

    A young man on a couch surrounded by green plants is single-tasking by  only working a tablet while a black and white cat looks on.

More tips

Explore more ways to fine-tune your tech habits