Our smartphones have become such a huge part of our lives that we sometimes wonder how we got by without them. Apart from just talking on them, we use our smartphones to write emails, take photos, set reminders and a host of other necessary tasks. A smartphone, like no single device before it, has become an indispensable part of our lives. However, sometimes it becomes cumbersome to juggle both your desktop computer and your smartphone. Switching constantly between your computer and your smartphone can be incredibly distracting and a huge waste of time.

Not only do we have to take the time to navigate to the file or app we need, switching between our phones and our desktop PCs requires us to constantly focus and refocus. In addition to this, we get tired of tapping on a tiny keyboard or looking at a tiny screen. Touchscreens are far from perfect which can led to a lot of user frustration. We already know how to use our smartphones to replace a lot of the functionality afforded by our computers.

Integrate Your Android Phone With Your PC

However, there are times we would rather a greater integration between our PCs and our smartphones allowing us to spend more time exclusively on one platform. So, how do we import a lot of the functionality that we’ve already become accustomed to into our PCs?Here are just a few ways to accomplish this.

Google Voice – In short, Google Voice is a service that allows you to use your phone as your computer. However, it comes with a number of cool features that even some cell services do not provide. While Gmail itself allows anyone to make and receive calls, all calls emanate from a number that doesn’t belong to you and that no one will recognize. Google Voice goes the extra mile allowing you to place calls that appear as though they are coming from your very own phone number. It does this by giving you a special number which forwards your calls to other numbers. Google Voice is fully integrated into Gmail, Google+ and the Hangouts extension for Chrome. By using Google Voice, you can receive all the calls you normally do on your cell phone. However, you can answer these calls in Gmail instead.

On top of this, Google Voice also allows free texting. So you can type out your texts on your keyboard instead of the tiny one provided on your screen. Your texts are also saved and are entirely searchable. Google Voice also transcribes voicemails for you using its voice recognition capabilities. However, if you would rather just listen to the audio file, you still have that ability. Google Voice also makes it possible for you to switch phones during a call. For instance, if your phone is about to die, you can press the star (*) button and transfer the call to any of your other connected phones. Lastly, Google Voice supports both block phone numbers and forward phone calls, although there are rules associated with the latter.

Integrate and find replacements–Apps make smartphones go around and it’s why phones have become so popular in recent years. Apps allow you to take on all manner of tasks from taking notes to listen to music. Integrating your apps with their desktop components is a good way to help you pick up your phone less. There are a lot of apps that already have PC components available or are accessible through browser. Sites like Facebook, Pinterest and Spotify are well known. However, users can also integrate their smartphone apps with desktop components. For example, apps such as WhatsApp, Viber, Evernote and Dropbox all allow you to integrate your smartphone with your PC. Allowing you to use the apps in almost exactly the same way you can use them on your phone. You can also integrate useful tools such as Google Calendar and Google Docs. However, if you may have an app that you really like on your Android phone that has no PC component, don’t despair. There are tons of great programs that you can find for PC that are similar to ones that you enjoyed on Android. This vast list includes programs for note-taking and creating to-do lists.

Run Android Apps from PC–While some developers do create PC versions of much-liked apps such as WhatsApp and Viber, other developers don’t see much value in creating cross-platform apps. However, taking a break from your phone need not mean that you don’t have access to your favorite apps. Luckily for us, users can use an emulator to run apps or if you like the games on your Android device you can find a Android emulator that makes it easy to run Android games in Windows. Emulators work by mimicking the environment of a different machine. This allows apps and programs to be used as though in a native Android setting. Running an emulator is also great for using helpful Android apps that Windows does not offer. There are many emulators out there, with Bluestacks being one of the most popular. After installing Bluestacks, use the app to search for the android app or game that you wish to use on the emulator. After installing the app, it should be able to run without issue.

While smartphones can be incredibly helpful by allowing us to accomplish a large number of tasks, the downside is that they can also mercilessly tax our time. This problem is exacerbated when we need to juggle the use of both our phones and desktop computers. However, there is no reason why smartphone use need be distracting or frustrating. The good news is that there are ways for us to integrate our phones with our PCs making it easier to work exclusively on one platform. By integrating our Android phones with our computers, we can minimize disruptions and avoid distracting platform switching allowing us to concentrate more deeply and work harder.