10 PRODUCTIVE THINGS TO DO ON YOUR PHONE INSTEAD OF SOCIAL MEDIA
These days we rely on our phones for so much. To take photos, connect us with friends, inform us about the world and to play games on plus so much more. Instead of wasting time, here are 10 productive things to do on your phone instead of social media.
HOW TO USE YOUR PHONE INTENTIONALLY
I went to the shops without my phone this week. In my haste to get out of the door and run my errands, I completely forgot to grab my phone and didn’t realise until I’d parked the car and bought my carpark ticket. I felt both naked and liberated!
These days, we’re so used to having our phones with us all the time.
We use them as alarm clocks, cameras, personal PAs, note takers, calendars. Not to mention as our window on the world when we can check our emails, catch up on the news, what’s going on in our friends’ social lives and anything else we might be interested in via the internet at the click of a button.
Even though we lay the blame for too much screen time, scrolling and wasted time (not to mention increased rates of anxiety and depression) on our phones and, particularly on social media, they CAN be a powerful tool to help make life simpler and easier.
In this article I’m sharing some productive things to do on your phone instead of social media. Little ideas to help you use your phone intentionally and mindfully.
A WORD ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA
Although it may sound like it, I’m not having a dig at social media here. I use it for my blog, my work and my personal life and it has some great benefits to inform, inspire and connect us.
I do believe social media has its place but when we let it overstep the mark, it becomes more of a negative influence than positive. If you enjoy browsing your social media feeds, don’t stop. Just perhaps be more intentional and mindful of what you consume and how much.
Read these thoughts on minimalism and social media and how to use social media mindfully.
Perhaps this article will offer you some productive alternative uses for your phone…
PRODUCTIVE THINGS TO DO ON YOUR PHONE INSTEAD OF SOCIAL MEDIA
Here are 10 productive things to do on your phone instead of social media.
1. Check your calendar
Make a note of any important events, celebrations and appointments you might having coming up. Do you need to buy anything for them or arrange transport or childcare?
I use Google Calendar set up on my phone to record every single appointment. This includes after school clubs, playdates, dentist and doctor appointments, school holidays, work commitments and more. If I need to do something or be somewhere, then I put the date in the calendar immediately.
My husband and I both use Google Calendar as our main calendar and we have shared access so that he and I can both make and see each other’s appointments and entries. That way I know when he’s free and vice versa so we don’t accidentally double-book ourselves.
I also set alerts on the calendar so I get a reminder when I need to be somewhere. You can set the alert to go off say half an hour, or an hour, before the actual appointment. Always handy if you’ve completely forgotten about the appointment and you need time to prepare and/or get there.
I use the alerts and alarm not just to get me up in the morning but throughout the day as well to remind me to do things. For example, a reminder for the girls to do their piano practice or for me to take the dog for a walk. It’s just one less thing I have to remember!
Don’t set too many though or you’ll end up switching them all off because they get annoying, but they’re good for the things you need to do daily but forget or put off without a reminder.
2. Book and order your online grocery shopping
Save time going shopping by getting your groceries delivered to your door at a time that’s convenient to you. Plan your meals, make a list of what ingredients you need to buy and place your online grocery order. I have an app on my phone for my favourite supermarket so this makes it quicker and easier to use than going via their website.
I have a reminder set up on my calendar every week to book a delivery slot for the following week. This way I can make sure that there are delivery slots available when I know I’m going to be home.
3. Catch up on the news
I like to stay informed but not be overinformed. I’m wary of what time of day I read the news and try to avoid it last thing at night when bad news weighs heavy on my mind and hinders good sleep. Sometimes I read the whole news, sometimes I just stick to the headlines.
4. Check your bank balance and pay bills
I have my banking app on my phone so I can regularly check on income and expenditure, check for direct debits going out and any subscriptions that I don’t need any more. I can also set up new payments, check standing orders and pay bills. This is really important to help you save time and effort, simplify your finances and keep track of your spending.
5. Check your emails
I have separate email accounts for my work and personal life but I can access what I need to via my phone. This means that I can check, read and action anything whenever I need to without waiting until I’m at my laptop. This helps me be more efficient and productive.
That being said, I try not to check my emails many times during the day. However tempting it might be to assess what’s in my inbox, I don’t want my day and time be dictated to by the content of my emails. Checking them once or twice a day is enough to keep my inbox manageable without ruling my life and affecting my productivity!
6. Listen to podcasts or audiobooks
I’m a great fan of listenting to inspiring podcasts particularly when I’m out on a walk or making dinner. Although multi-tasking isn’t a skill I recommend you master as it confuses and drains our brain, I think listening to something upbeat and educational whilst you do mundane or quiet tasks is a good way to multi-task!
7. Learn or try something new
YouTube, Pinterest or the internet in general is a fantastic source of information where you can learn about anything under the sun. It might be a new language, a new recipe or a new tip for growing tomato plants. Personally I love watching documentaries about nature! I also use the guided meditations on the Calm and Headspace apps and I love Blinkist (again I’m not an affiliate for any of these apps but I love them) to help me devour great books in record time.
Once again, I’m not an affiliate and this isn’t an ad but I love the Trello ap on my phone.
Trello is a fantastic piece of software that helps you keep track of your life and get organised. You can set up an account, accessible on your pc and any other devices you own and through an app on your phone.
Using a system of virtual boards you can create a series of to do lists and ongoing projects, set up calendar alerts for reminders and due dates, attach notes, documents and downloads.
You can also share boards between multiple users so you can share your to do lists with others.
It is very customisable, easy to use and very flexible. I have boards set up at work which I use and share with my employees. I have personal boards set up for myself and another board that I share with my husband so we can create, view and amend any joint tasks.
Trello helps me organise my life at work, my blogging life and my family life. I’m really busy but Trello helps me through it! I also use Trello personally to set out goals and targets for myself and hold myself accountable.
No matter where you are, as long as you have the app on your phone, you can see what you need to do and when. For more information go to www.trello.com.
9. Make notes and write lists
Unless I’ve got my bag with me, I rarely have a notepad and pen with me. But, I always have my phone so I use the Notes A LOT! It comes in handy for a variety of uses including:
- Shopping lists – when we run out of something I put it down in my Notes. When I do the weekly shop I always look at my Notes to see if I’ve written anything down to buy or if I pop to the shops I take a quick look at the Notes to see if I can pick something up whilst I’m out
- Things I’ve forgotten to do – but need to jot down if they randomly pop into my head
- Brainstorming titles and content for blog posts!
- My goals and targets – change over time so helpful to make a note when I change direction
- On my bedside table – in case I remember something in the middle of the night and don’t want to forget it by morning. A little side note of caution here: If you’re going to be tempted to use your phone in the night for checking emails or Instagram, use a notebook and pen instead of your phone. Keep your phone out of reach!
Anything and everything that I can get out of my head and onto a list. This way I won’t forget it, I can free up my brain to think of other things and I can refer back to what I’ve written if I need to.
You can create different notes for different things, save and organise them into folders on your different accounts or on your phone. You can send them on by email and text and print them out. Very flexible, easy and quick to use.
10. Connect with others
Last, but not least, you can use your phone for the purpose it was intended – to speak to and connect with loved ones. We often use texts and other messaging platforms to connect with our family and friends but these don’t have the same meaningful connection as chatting during a phone conversation. See if you can spend a few minutes this week (really) connecting with a loved one.
MORE TIPS TO HELP YOU USE YOUR PHONE INTENTIONALLY
In this article I shared a few productive things to do on your phone instead of social media but there are other ways that you can use your phone intentionally.
1. Be aware of how long you spend on your phone
Check your screen time usage for the day or week if you can. Keep a note of how it varies over time. Are there some days that you use it more, or some times of day? Is there anything else that you could or should be doing with that time instead? Sometimes it’s scary to see how many minutes or hours we spend on our phone during the day. Aside from doing productive things on your phone, are you spending your phone time wisely?
2. Use natural limits to curb your phone time
I like to check social media whilst I’m waiting to collect my kids from school. I know I have a limited amount of time whilst I wait for them and it’s a small window of a few minutes with a definite cut-off point. When the kids come out of school, I stop my scrolling and put my phone away.
3. Designate screen-free zones and times in your home
This applies to kids and adults alike! We have a no-phone policy at the table whilst we’re eating. Or it could be before a certain time in the morning or after a certain time in the evening. Make up your rules but stick to them.
4. Put your phone away out of reach
It’s easy to reach for our phones when we’re bored or through habit. Keep your phone in a set place in your home instead of in your pocket or next to you. This way it’s more effort to just grab your phone and you might find you end up doing something else instead!
5. Set your intention before you pick up your phone
Before you pick up your phone, set your intention and stick to it. Five or ten minutes to check puppy videos on Instagram to have a laugh and switch your brain off for a short while? Search for a new podcast to listen to whilst you’re making dinner? Check the news headlines whilst you eat your lunch? Place your grocery order for tomorrow’s food delivery… and then put your phone down and do something else. Be clear in your mind what your objective is when you pick up your phone and stick to achieving just that! I think it gets easier with practice.
MORE ARTICLES TO BE HELP YOU BE MORE PRODUCTIVE
Here are some more articles and resources to help you be more productive and stop wasting time.
- 10 Productive Things to Do in An Hour at Home to Help You Stress Less
- Is Your Silent To Do List Stealing Your Time and Energy?
- Minimalism and Time Management: How The Minimalist Lifestyle Can Improve Your Productivity
- 7 Ways To Be Intentional With Your Time
- How To Be More Productive At Home and In Life
- Take Control of Your Day: 5 Simple Steps
SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS!
Do you find yourself reaching for your phone out of habit? Do you spend too much time on social media? Do you have any other ideas for productive things to do on your phone? I’d love to get your ideas and thoughts too! Leave a comment at the end of the article if you have any suggestions or phone productivity tips!
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