This story was originally published and last updated .
When it comes to working from home, as so many of are learning, distractions are everywhere. Be it your kids, partner, or simply the opportunity to walk out the front door at a moment's notice, it can be hard to maintain a sense of productivity without proper discipline. Some of us simply may not find the right balance of work time, break time, and off hours to keep ourselves sane, and at that point, work can start to feel like your entire life. When the office never actually closes, you never leave. We have a few apps we think can help you manage your time better, be more productive, and also help you set reasonable boundaries when working from home.
Action Launcher developer Chris Lacy published a Digital Wellbeing competitor last year, ActionDash. While it's lacking the same tight system integration, the app has more features to offer than Google's project, and it even runs on Android versions older than 9 Pie. Over the weekend, Lacy announced that he has decided to sell ActionDash after receiving an offer from SensorTower, which will continue developing the app.
One of the most important components of our health is how we sleep. You might consider it as part of a complete, healthy lifestyle — in which case, you'd use an app like Google Fit to track that data — or you might just be focused on how your screen-based activities at bedtime affect your sleep. In that regard, Google may be deploying a two-pronged solution for you to monitor the quality of your slumber through its Digital Wellbeing app.
Our work/life balance is further out of whack these days than it's ever been. Even with the best time management skills, it's hard to maintain a separation when you're doing that work from home, and often on your personal devices. But tools like Google's Digital Wellbeing can make it a bit easier to stay focused. With it included in plenty of recent phones, do you use any of Digital Wellbeing's tools on your Android phone?
Some subtle rebranding is happening inside Google's Digital Wellbeing app, which offers ways to monitor and manage your phone use. The previously named "Wind Down" mode is being renamed to "Bedtime mode," and the change brings a few other minor tweaks with it.
Digital Wellbeing is excellent for keeping track of your smartphone usage. As well as recording how much time you spend in each app, the number of notifications you receive, and how many times you unlock your phone, the software's Wind Down feature helps ensure you get some me-time by limiting distractions and turning the display grayscale so you can focus on more important things. In the latest beta version of the app, Google is adding some flexibility by allowing you to pause Wind Down briefly.
Android's Digital Wellbeing service can be updated independently of the OS, since it's distributed through the Play Store, so Google can add new features outside of major Android releases. That has just happened, as the new 'Focus Mode' feature has finally left beta, and is heading to all Digital Wellbeing-compatible devices.
"Flip to Shhh" launched with the Pixel 3 as a way to quickly enable Do Not Disturb on your phone by simply turning it so the display was face down. Even though the feature shouldn't have required any special hardware or capabilities, Google chose to keep it exclusive to the Pixel 3 and didn't bring it to its older devices. That's changing with the latest Digital Wellbeing beta, which enables the feature on the Pixel 2.
One of the ways Digitial Wellbeing tries to curb your phone usage is through "Focus mode," a targeted and advanced do-not-disturb-like setting that stops distractions from certain apps and stops you from easily launching them. Until now, Focus mode was a manual setting, but with the latest beta of the app, it has gained an automatic schedule and a way to ask for a break.