This post was created in partnership with Google Home
One of my ongoing struggles is to not spend my whole day with my nose buried in my phone.
And, based on the number of articles I see about how screens are ruining our relationships, depleting our attention span, and basically ruining the world, I know it’s not just me.
I have a couple of things that help me combat constant use – I charge my phone at night on my bathroom counter so it’s not the first thing I see when I wake up, I keep it in my office during the morning while we’re doing homeschool so I’m not tempted to pick it up every ten seconds, and we don’t bring them to the table when we’re eating meals as a family.
But surprisingly, the thing that has recently cut down significantly on the time I spend on my phone is another piece of technology.
We got a Google Home a couple of weeks ago and it’s amazing how much less time I’m wasting on my phone.
My problem with my phone is not so much that I’m always pulling it out from habit or boredom, although there is certainly some of that.
It’s more that I pull it out for a perfectly legitimate reason like checking the weather or wondering how far away a restaurant is or looking up a definition during homeschool or pulling up some music for a family dance party, and then, as if by dark magic, I get sucked into making the rounds through all my apps, checking my email, my social media platforms, and on and on.
I’m sure you know how it is.
Worse, usually I forget entirely what I actually opened my phone to do and then I’m scrolling through something mindless until the girls say, “Weren’t you going to turn on some music so we could have a dance party?”
Now, with the Google Home set up in our family room (which, conveniently, is also basically the same room as our kitchen and breakfast nook, and the space we spend 90% of our time in), my reasons for pulling out my phone have dropped significantly.
Time for a dance party? (Let the record show that, at our house, it’s ALWAYS time for a dance party). Music is playing in 5 seconds.
Wondering about the weather tomorrow? Now I don’t get dragged into a 15 minute time suck.
It’s also crazy convenient that you don’t need any hands to use it, since 90% of the time, I’m holding a book, a baby, or a spatula.
I love that, when I’m in the middle of cooking, I can just call out, “Okay Google, add eggs to my shopping list.” Or, if Bart uses up something when I’m not around, he can add it too, so it’s all ready for me when I make my menu and grocery list on Sunday nights.
For homeschool, it’s insanely nice to be able to quickly answer a question without dragging out my phone or computer to find out what year Julius Caesar died.
Or when we’re all on the couch reading a book and Ella asks what a word means and I know how to use it in a sentence but not exactly how to define it, I can quickly just ask Google to tell me. Without getting off the couch.
Plus, it’s just darn good entertainment, too. The other night, we spend nearly all of dinner getting Google to make animal noises for us. Bears do not sound at all the way I imagined them sounding.
And it was SO easy to set up. Seriously, I plugged it in, downloaded the app, and signed into my Google account. Done.
I hate anything that takes a bunch of finicky little steps and unplugging and replugging and reading hard-to-follow instructions. This was nothing like that. We were dancing to Moana songs within five minutes.
It’s been such a fun addition to our home, with more music and less distractions, and I couldn’t love it more.
Plus, it’s so darn pretty – it fits seamlessly into my decor (you can even get it in different colors, like purple and teal and copper and black or white), and the spinny colored lights warm my heart. It’s kind of like Christmas every time they spin on.
And it makes me feel like such a more engaged and present parent to be able to leave my phone in my office all morning long.
Photos by Grace + Vine