Originally posted on makeuseof.
Mindlessly scrolling through your phone is one of the most unproductive ways to use your time. Here are some productive things to do instead.
What do you do whenever you have a second of downtime? You probably pick up your phone and get lost in a scroll session. The problem is that this has become a subconscious habit that doesn’t add value to your life.
Mindlessly scrolling on your phone primarily results from a lack of intention and a specific goal. This article will explore more purposeful and productive things you can do on your phone instead.
1. Read Books
If you are a bibliophile, there are many apps that you can use to continue reading some of your favorite books even when you don’t have your physical copy with you. While on the go, you can use this as a more productive and intentional alternative to mindlessly scrolling through your phone.
To get started, download the Amazon Kindle app and sign in to your Amazon account if you have one, or create a new one. Then, start browsing for books that interest you in the app’s digital bookstore.
You might notice that you can no longer buy Kindle books via the app. However, there is a simple workaround to purchase and download Kindle ebooks on your smartphone. You can visit Amazon through your browser, buy the book you want, and add it to your Kindle Library.
2. Listen to Podcasts
Like reading, listening to podcasts is a great way to learn something new or be entertained while commuting, working out, or performing other activities where you can’t necessarily stare at your phone screen.
Although you might know Spotify as a music streaming service, it also offers a large selection of podcasts covering various topics. In fact, one might even say that Spotify has been obsessed with podcasts lately, considering the acquisitions of Gimlet and Anchor.
So, you no longer need to switch between apps to listen to your favorite tunes and hear the latest episode of your favorite podcast. You can find, follow, and download podcasts from your Spotify app.
3. Learn a New Language
Another productive way to use your smartphone is to learn a new language. Learning a foreign language has many benefits, including improved cognitive skills, better job prospects, and the ability to connect with different cultures.
There are many language-learning apps available, but starting this journey with Duolingo is the best way to master a new language using your smartphone. This gamified app makes learning fun and easy, with bite-sized lessons you can complete at your own pace. You can learn up to 30 languages on Duolingo, including Spanish, French, German, and more.
4. Learn Coding
Programming languages have become an increasingly essential skill, regardless of your profession. Even if you don’t plan on becoming a developer, learning to code will help you better understand how technology works, make you more valuable in the job market, and improve your problem-solving skills.
Its gamified approach makes the learning process fun and easy to stick with, and you can track your progress as you go. You can use this app during your spare time to build up your coding skills, or as a more structured learning tool to supplement your formal coding education.
5. Watch Documentaries
Documentaries are a great way to spark curiosity, learn something new, and be entertained simultaneously. And with CuriosityStream, you can access an extensive library of high-quality documentaries from your smartphone whenever possible.
CuriosityStream is a streaming service that offers thousands of documentaries and non-fiction titles covering various topics like science, society, history, nature, technology, and more.
Do you want to watch the rise of ancient empires, or are you more interested in learning how computers shape our modern world? No matter what you’re curious about, you’ll find a documentary to pique your interests.
6. Write Your Thoughts and Memories in Daily Journal
Journaling is a therapeutic activity that can help you better understand your thoughts and feelings, process difficult experiences, and set personal goals. It’s also a great way to reflect on your day-to-day life and track your progress over time. In fact, journaling is likely one of the best activities to help you become more intentional and productive.
Daily Journal is a journal and mood tracker app with an intuitive interface that makes it easy to get started with journaling. You can use this app to write down your thoughts, view achievements, set reminders, and track your mood over time. This app also offers password protection to keep your entries private so that you can journal with peace of mind.
7. Do Brain Exercises
You need to continuously challenge your brain to keep it active and healthy. Your brain is like a muscle that needs to be worked out regularly through cognitive exercises. Sadly, over-relying on technology, like your handheld companion, can result in a decline in cognitive abilities, also known as digital amnesia.
Fortunately, you can use the same technology in your favor by doing brain exercises with apps like Elevate. This app offers a personalized training program to improve your cognitive skills, including memory, math, focus, and more.
When you open the app for the first time, you’ll have to complete a test to determine your cognitive abilities. The app then uses your results to create a custom training program targeting your weaknesses. Elevate is free to download, but you’ll need a subscription to unlock all its features.
Start Using Your Smartphone More Productively and Intentionally
Once you make it a habit to use your phone with a specific goal in mind, you’ll be surprised at how much more productive you can be. Although we often blame technology for causing distraction and reducing productivity, it really boils down to how you use it.
With the right goals and tools to support them, your smartphone can be a powerful asset that helps you stay productive and achieve more.