We can all be guilty of spending too much time scrolling mindlessly through our smartphones. Read here to get ideas on ten productive things to do instead.
As the lines between free time, work, side-gigs, and hobbies become blurred, it can be difficult to separate ourselves from our devices. While it might not be easy to reduce the amount of time that we spend in front of a screen for work, we can find ways to pull ourselves out of the endless scrolling that so often sucks us in during our free time. Finding productive things to do instead of staring at your phone is a great way to increase your well-being while also supporting the environment. We’ll share ten ideas to help you find inspiration outside of the metaverse.
Why Reduce Screen Time?
According to a Statista survey conducted in February 2021, nearly half of smartphone users said they spend an average of four to five hours on their smartphones per day. If the staggering amount of time we spend on our devices isn’t enough to inspire you to decrease your phone use, let’s turn to energy consumption.
Many of us likely don’t think about how much energy our smartphones consume because they have become so indispensable to our lives that they are almost an extension of ourselves. But the fact is, globally, with the increasing prevalence of smartphones and reliance upon remote networks, smartphone energy consumption is unprecedented.
Basic phone usage such as sending messages and talking on the phone may not be very energy-intensive, but of course, smartphones are capable of much more than that. For example, the amount of energy it takes for one person to stream a video for one hour a week on a yearly basis consumes more energy than two new refrigerators in the same amount of time.
This list refers to what productive things you can do instead of using your phone, however, our definition of being productive is doing something that makes you feel happier, healthier, and more energized. Make time for something that you enjoy by taking a break from your phone each day.
If you’re still not convinced, try reading 5 Reasons Why You Should Turn Off Your Phone.
1. Try a New Recipe
If you like to eat, cooking is a fun, delicious, and productive way to spend your time. Find a recipe that you’ve always wanted to try and head to your local farmer’s market to buy fresh ingredients. Put on some music, grab a loved one, and take the time to enjoy preparing your meal.
Need some inspiration? Start here:
- Lentil-Walnut Vegan Roast
- Vegan Mushroom Risotto
- Briam: Recipe for Traditional Greek Roasted Vegetables
- Vegan Buddha Bowls
Of course, cooking also takes up energy, but by being mindful, there are ways that you can reduce your consumption like only preheating the oven when it is absolutely necessary. Or, especially in the summertime when it is already warm outside, try making recipes that include mostly fresh ingredients, like salads, sandwiches, or gazpacho.
2. Productive Things to Do: Read a Book
Instead of scrolling through Instagram, try reading that book that has been sitting next to your bed for months. Whether fiction or non-fiction, reading is always enriching. If you don’t have any books queued up, visit your local library or bookstore for recommendations. If you’re an outdoor person, take a look at our favorite 21 books about nature, or the 8 best books about climate change.
Meditation costs nothing, can be done anywhere, and can take as little or as long as you want. There are also many health benefits to meditation ranging from better mood to decreased stress. Meditation can be done in any way that suits your preferences, whether you want to sit and meditate quietly in your room, use a guided meditation, or do a walking meditation.
Get started today with the Tummo Meditation Technique.
4. Get Organized
Getting organized can be a form of mindfulness in itself and can be the first step to getting more things done in your day. Organizing or cleaning up can look like tidying up one room or section of your home, organizing your workspace, or any other area of your life that can naturally get a bit chaotic.
Another productive activity you can do instead of being on your phone is exercise. This can take many forms too, whether you enjoy yoga, biking, running, going to the gym, playing your favorite sport, or some other form of physical activity, there’s something out there for everyone. Exercise leads to better health, increased energy, a mood boost, and it can be a way to relieve stress.
5. Productive Things to Do: Do Something Creative
Let your creative juices flow by doing something you like. This can be anything from drawing and painting, knitting or sewing, to decorating your room. You don’t even have to be an artist to start doing more creative things, but setting some time aside to create something can help our minds feel inspired, and you might even surprise yourself with the outcome.
7. Go On A Walk
Going for a walk is a beneficial activity you can incorporate into your daily life in exchange for decreased time on your smartphone. This is also a good option if you don’t have quite enough time to exercise or if you’re feeling tired. You can go for a walk in your city or neighborhood, or if you’re lucky enough to live close to nature or a park, go for a walk somewhere green and with lots of plants. This can even be a form of nature therapy.
8. Productive Things to Do: Learn a New Language
Consider the average amount of time you spend on your smart phone, computer, or tablet per day. For most people this is at least several hours. Now consider if you took even 30 minutes to one hour of that time and applied it to learning a new language each day. You could see improvements and learn an invaluable skill if you stick with it.
Journaling is productive for the soul. Journaling is well known for being able to increase gratitude, help with reflection, and inspire creativity. Just doing a little bit each day can greatly improve your mood in the long run.
If you need help getting started, check out our article on 12 Different Types of Journals for Staying Mindful.
If you have the time and energy, a great way to give back and get involved is through volunteering. You can do this at places like animal shelters, community gardens, homeless shelters, and other organizations local to you. Just think of what your interests are, whether you want to be outside, help with animals, cook something, help with painting, or something else.
Use the skills you already have to help out in your community or learn something new at the same time. Volunteering doesn’t have to happen every day or even every week for that matter, but it can get you away from your smartphone for some time so you can feel more productive and balanced in your life.
- Self-Improvement: Why We All Need a Break from Self-Optimization
- Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: Living in the Present
- How to Improve Concentration: 10 Ways to Focus Better
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