“Time is what we want most but what we use worst.”

~ William Penn

Right now because of self-isolation (which is so important for all of us to do), you likely find yourself with a lot of time on your hands and a very abnormal schedule. How’s that going? As you shift to working from home and continue to process everything that’s happening, how you use your time is not just about being more productive. Right now it’s also about being more present.


Whether you’re hunkering down alone or with others, embrace mindfulness to the moments so you can pass time meaningfully with people and projects that matter. One way to do this is to be aware of how much time you spend with your face in your phone.

Watch the video below for a fun work-life productivity hack I learned from my Google Home. It will help you put your phone down and pick your head up.

Hey, Michelle Cederberg here. Still self isolating, trying to get some work done, but also trying to have some fun so I don’t go stir crazy. So, I thought that I would combine both of those things this week and share a little bit of the fun that I’ve been having with these devices, but also a very worthwhile work-life productivity hack that I have discovered because of them. When I was researching the book that I have coming out this fall, (which is all about how to work better and smarter), I realized that I could be more productive with my time if I picked up my smartphone a little less often, because every time I do, I find what I was looking for, and then I get sucked into the vortex. You know what I’m talking about.

So, I decided to invest in a Google Home so that I could scroll less and talk more. I use the device in my home, but it could probably work in your workplace as well. I thought I would share a bit of information about these things and I thought I would ask Google to help.

Michelle: Hey Google, how are you today?
Google Home: Awesome, thanks. How can I help?

Michelle: Hey Google, what are you good for?
Google Home: I’m pretty versatile. I can help you set a timer or do a search for you. How can I help?

Michelle: She’s pretty good at helping for those kinds of things, and that’s one of the reasons why I wanted to get the device. I can ask her what the weather is, or where the closest post office is. I can ask her how many grams there are in a pound, and it stops me from picking up my phone to find the answer. If I’m in the kitchen or if I’m having dinner with my husband and we have a query that we want to solve, normally I’d pick up the phone, I’d look for the answer, and then invariably I’d get sucked in to Facebook or Instagram, or I would check an email that I’d seen come in, or I’d respond to a text that did not need a response to right now. Our phones are distraction devices and if we can put them down more often, we will create better use of our time.

Michelle: Hey Google, what else can you do?
Google Home: Check these out. You can say, “What’s Apple’s stock price?” Or, “Dim the lights.”

Michelle: The dim the lights feature is an interesting one. I don’t have it hooked up to my lights yet, but I do have it hooked up to our Nest so I can ask it to change the temperature in our house. I can also ask her to play a podcast while I’m cooking dinner. I can ask her to add something to my calendar, which then syncs with my device. I can ask her to create a grocery list, which syncs with the app then I can open it up in the grocery store and it’s all there. I can ask her to call my mom. I can ask her to play the news, which I do every single morning, and since it’s pretty depressing news these days, when I’m done I usually say:

“Hey Google, tell me a joke.”
Google Home: How do you get over a fear of elevators? Just take some steps to avoid them.

Michelle: Take some steps to avoid them. That’s also a wellness tip that I approve of.

Hey, Google, you’re awesome.
Google Home: I was about to say that about you.

Michelle: Thanks!

So, I know that some people can be worried about these devices because they could be listening in. And I’m not sure if that’s the case or not. I’m going to trust that I’m going to be okay, but let’s ask Google.

Hey Google, are you spying on me?
Google Home: That’s definitely not a thing I do. The information you share with me makes me a more personal assistant, but you can control what’s shared and adjust what data is stored under ‘Your Data’ in the assistant.

Michelle: Thank you. She does get quite personal and she does know my name.

Hey Google. What’s my name?
Google Home: Your name is Michelle.

Michelle: I’d like to say she’s smart, but she is artificial intelligence. Now there are multiple kinds of devices that you can get, the two main being Google and Amazon’s Alexa. They’re all quite good. I chose Google because it’s compatible with the devices we have in our own home.

Let’s see; Hey Google, what do you think of Alexa?
Google Home: Alexa’s blue light is so cool. It reminds me of northern lights.

Michelle: Sometimes it’s just fun to hear what her answers are going to be. How about this? Hey Google, what’s the meaning of life?
Google Home: Better minds than mine are working on that.

Michelle: Well, I hope so. So I also have Google Mini here. It’s a smaller device that’s a little bit cheaper, but it does essentially the same things. I have this one in our bedroom and it’s replaced our alarm clock now. The great thing about that is there’s no blue light coming off of my little Sony alarm clock that I used to have in there. I can ask Google to play pink noise before bed, which is said to improve sleep and memory. I can ask it to play music in the morning or the news. And not only is the alarm clock no longer in the bedroom, but the phone isn’t either. So if I need anything, I can ask Google. So that’s fun.

Hey Google, what’s another interesting thing that you do?
Google Home: You got it. How about lucky trivia or I can tell you a joke or spin the wheel. What’s your pick?

Michelle: Hey Google, spin the wheel.
Google Home: Fun fact coming your way: “Marta Vieira Da Silva holds the record for most goals in a FIFA World Cup by either a male or female soccer player. She played on a boys team in her native Brazil until she was scouted for a women’s team at age 14 and in 2002, joined the Brazilian women’s national team. She’s been named FIFA’s player of the year five years in a row.”

Michelle: It’s so random, but perhaps because there’s no sports on television right now, you can play fun facts with your voice assistant. Hey Google, who’s the best?
Google Home: My sources confirm it’s you.

Michelle: I didn’t ask her to say that. Hey Google, thanks for your help.
Google Home: I try my best.

So, there you have it. I don’t know how you feel about these devices in your home, but I’m telling you since we put them into ours, we’re having a lot of fun with them, and we’re also finding good uses for them all the time. We’re definitely picking up the phone a lot less, especially at the end of the workday when we want to focus on time together with less distractions. The phone will go on to charge, and we will have the voice assistant here to answer those questions we ponder as we enjoy downtime during the evening.

Do you have a voice assistant device in your home? If you do, what do you do with it that helps you with better productivity and use of your time? Share your answer in the comments, and share this message with somebody who might need to put their phone down a little bit.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my social channels below, and remember, you’ve got one chance to do this great life, I say Dare To Live it Big and dare to do it with less hands on devices, and more talk-time to a voice assistant or better yet, the people around you.

Michelle Cederberg, CSP, MKin, BA Psyc

Empowering today’s dreamers, leaders and go-getters to create the life and career they want.


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