Limiting screen time can be a challenge, especially when we’re using the same mobile device during the day. The pandemic only exasperated this by forcing so much more of our communications to be funneled through our devices. The boundaries between our work life and personal life dissolved and have yet to fully solidify again.
Focus Mode is a relatively recent feature added to both iOS and Android that can erect virtual cubical walls between our work life and our personal life as they exist on our devices, to help promote our digital wellbeing.
On iOS, you can set up multiple focuses—Home, Work, Fitness—that allow you to focus on the things you want during designated parts of your day.
For instance, let’s say you have several apps that you use exclusively for work, you’d just have to move those to a dedicated page on your home screen. Then in Settings, select Focus, then select Work. It’ll ask which pages of your home screen you’d like to focus on and you’d select that new page you created. You can automate this mode to turn on during work hours. When this customized Focus setting is on, you won’t be able to flip to the other pages of your home screen and more importantly, you won’t receive notifications from any apps not within your Work Focus. You can then set up an inverted version of this for your Home focus, so you’re not checking Slack when you’re with your family.
The Android version works a little differently between various devices, but essentially if you go into Settings > Parental Wellbeing & Parental Controls > Focus Mode, then you’ll be able to individually select the app you want to block and the days and times you’d like them to be unavailable. Just like the iOS version, you won’t receive notifications from these apps while Focus Mode is on.
There are more advanced settings for this feature on both types of devices, with further details available online. The essence remains, you can now keep your home life and work life separate on your device. Having a clean mental break between personal and professional spaces can help stave off burnout and make you more present in both realms.