We’ve all been there. You show up at the post office to mail one little package, and the line is out into the lobby. You’re there on time to pick up your hot mess of a friend and she still needs 20 minutes to get ready. You pulled up to the Chick-fil-A drive-thru at lunchtime. You’re at the DMV. With nothing else on hand, if you don’t know of any other ways to productively kill time on your smartphone, you probably end up defaulting like most of society these days to just wasting that time mindlessly scrolling through social media.
Spooky season is here, so we are all on our guard around every corner for zombies and vampires. But these days you don’t have to be bitten by the undead to become one of them. If you spend most of your spare time on your phone just blankly deep-diving through Twitter feeds, you kind of are one of the undead already. But if that’s you right now, don’t worry! There are plenty of things you can do on your phone that are productive and stimulating. With our help, you won’t just kill that time anymore. You’ll SLAY IT!
Here are 11 of the best ways to productively kill time on your smartphone instead of getting on social media.
- Learn a new word and apply it
- Learn a language
- Listen to a podcast
- Catch up on the news
- Read articles from an online magazine
- Organize and optimize your apps
- Purge, sort, and edit your pictures
- Clean out your email inbox; unsubscribe from mailing lists
- Play a game that makes you smarter
- CALL YOUR MOM and catch up on texts
Let’s look at these in more detail so you can start using your smartphone more productively today!
1. Learn a new word and apply it
One of the easiest and most productive ways to kill time on your smartphone is to learn a new word and apply it. The average 20-year old American knows about 42,000 words (depending on how you count them), with a smaller, higher-performing percentage of individuals knowing about 52,000 words.
But why worry about how many words you know? There are plenty of reasons to increase and improve your vocabulary:
- it helps you process events and ideas faster,
- sharpens and simplifies your communication skills,
- opens your mind and expands abstract thinking,
- and even raises your chances of professional achievement and success.
Not ready to tackle the likes of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” to get smarter? No worries. Learning, using, and applying new vocabulary words can be super quick, easy, and fun these days, especially whenever you have a spare minute or two on your smartphone with a handy vocab-building app. So after learning a fancy new word while standing in line for coffee, instead of just ‘drinking’ your pumpkin spice latte, you can ‘imbibe’ it.
2. Learn a language
A recent study revealed that in only 5 years the demand for bilingual workers doubled, and demand has only continued to increase. So learning a new language is definitely a worthwhile pursuit.
But if you don’t have time to enroll in a formal language course, that’s okay! There are several versatile and inexpensive language-learning apps designed for language learning on the go. In the time you might spend scrolling through your ex’s Instagram, you could be laying the groundwork for learning a new language as a way to productively kill time right on your phone.
3. Listen to a podcast
If you really want to be productive while you kill time on your smartphone, start listening to a podcast. Podcasts are a great way to stay informed about current events, gain new insight into subjects you already enjoy, begin learning about a new interest, and overall just educate and entertain yourself. With a virtually endless amount of podcast topics, you’re sure to find something that interests you.
You can pick up and put down an episode of your favorite podcast whenever you have spare time, so they are super mobile-friendly. The average episode length is between just 20-40 minutes, which is a very reasonable and digestible amount of time to get an episode or two in while commuting on the bus or train, or even while on a treadmill at the gym to optimize your time while also optimizing your buns.
4. Catch up on the news
Due to the changing habits of Americans growing toward a reliance on the internet, the number of people who prefer to get their news online is increasing. Because of the growing amount of time the average person spends on social media, at least 55% of U.S. adults are claiming to get their news from these sources often, and 1 in 5 U.S. adults say they specifically get their political information primarily through social media. If you’ve been on any of the social media giants lately, you will understand why those figures are alarming and why those who rely only on social outlets to stay informed are far less likely to be informed correctly.
So, in those idle moments when you need a way to productively kill some time on your smartphone, don’t mindlessly scroll through your go-to social media news feed to see what’s up in the world. Instead, turn to one of the more reputable online news apps to catch up on current events and stay more productively and accurately informed.
5. Read articles from an online magazine
Sometimes you might want a way to productively kill time on your smartphone that engages your mind, but don’t want any heavy reading about world events. In that case, find an online lifestyle magazine to subscribe to with interesting and applicable articles that add value to your day and inspire the way you think about and do things. If you find a source you particularly enjoy, sign up for their email subscription so you never miss an article. After subscribing, new articles will be automatically delivered straight to your inbox on your phone (if that’s how you have it set up) for you to peruse whenever you have a moment or two.
6. Organize and optimize your apps
Organizing your apps can be tedious and something you rarely think to get to, even though having to swipe 4 screens over and pore through a messy sea of little icons to order an Uber to pick you up on Friday nights annoys you every time. But if you’re you’re stuck behind 15 other cars in line at the Chick-fil-A drive-thru, you might as well get something tediously productive done since you’re about to reward yourself with nuggets anyways.
Plus, if you’re trying to shift away from mindlessly killing time on social media to more productive time-killing methods on your smartphone, it’s a good idea to purge all the apps that you don’t use anymore or are time-wasters. It makes an easily accessible home page for the ones you do use so you can get to them quickly in those spare moments.
This would also be a great time to use some of the storage space you just freed up to download some productivity apps to even further optimize your life since you’re on a roll. Then, go ahead and order yourself a cookie with those nuggets and pat yourself on the back while you’re at it. You earned it.
7. Purge, sort, and edit your photos
Be honest with yourself. How many selfies with your dog or pics of yourself holding pumpkins at the pumpkin patch did you have to take to get that perfect one to post? And when was the last time you went back and deleted all of the bad ones? You don’t even have to be honest with yourself really, because the evidence is all right there in the hundreds or thousands of bad, unnecessary pictures taking up valuable space in your gallery.
One of the best ways to kill time productively on your smartphone is to clean up, sort, and organize your photo gallery. Even if it seems overwhelming, every little bit helps. You’d probably be amazed at all the pictures you could go through while you might otherwise be mindlessly deep-diving into an eternal labyrinth of ceaseless Twitter threads until the end of time.
And when you finally get your gallery more organized, you will have more time to play with some phone editing apps on the pictures you do want to keep so you can start posting pics of your lunch like a pro.
8. Clean out your email inbox; unsubscribe from mailing lists
Unless you just decide to give up entirely and never clean out your inbox, you’re going to need to get to those emails eventually. Clearing your inbox a little at a time as a way to kill time productively on your smartphone is way less daunting than having to do it all at once. This is also a great time to unsubscribe from unwanted mailing lists that just keep cluttering your inbox and perpetuating the problem. Even apps can automate some of the processes and help make this part easier for you.
So if you usually just blankly watch Snapchats of Megan taking selfies with 20 different filters while you’re waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store, do yourself a favor and start productively conquering your email inbox instead.
9. Play a game that makes you smarter
Playing mind-numbing games on your phone where all you do is smash candy to pass the time is doing you no favors. But not all games are like that. A fun way to kill time productively on your smartphone is to play any number of games that can make you smarter and are good for your brain.
10. CALL YOUR MOM and catch up on texts
This one should be a no-brainer and is definitely the best way to productively kill time on your smartphone. There is almost an infinite number of things you can do on your smartphone these days, but its most important function is its most basic one: it’s a phone. Use it to call your mom. Your grandma. Your brother. Your crazy old Aunt Linda who doesn’t have social media because she lives off the grid alone with her cats, some gnomes, and a flip phone. If you’ve got some time to kill, they’d all rather hear from you than read your comment on their Facebook page, even if it’s just for a few minutes. You can also use this time to catch up on your texts and get back to those friends you left hanging on “read” days ago.
We hope you found these ideas for ways to productively kill time on your smartphone instead of just defaulting to social media helpful, and that you will start implementing some or all of them and become more productive today!
Can’t use your smartphone productively because of an issue with your screen that needs repairs? We’d love to help! Visit us today. Still hesitant about going out to too many public places? No worries! Our mail-in repair service might be just for you.