I know, I know... you don’t need yet another person telling you that you’re spending too much time on your phone. So with this post, I hope to instead share some nicer and more productive ways to use yours.
These six alternatives to mindless scrolling will also benefit your well-being, so there's that.
1. Multipurpose Wellness Apps
Divert some of your social media time to take care of your health and well-being when you use your phone to track your sleep, create personalized workout plans, get nutrition advice, and more.
Some wellness apps are overhyped and don’t have the best features, but a few stand-outs such Argus, Calm, MyFitnessPal, and Fooducate are multipurpose and can help you track a wide range of wellness data plus offer actionable guidance.
2. Connect Online and IRL
When you're over spammy Facebook groups, hop onto platforms built for forming connections online and then taking those connections into the real world. One app I’m enjoying now is the Geneva app where I'm in a Founder's group that meets weekly on Zoom and IRL for networking and brand launches.
Other platforms such as Slack and LinkedIn have groups like these that meet regularly in person:
Career and industry networks
Wellness and yoga communities
NextDoor is another option if you own a dog or share other interests with your neighbors. In some instances, you will have to take the lead to create offline events and Zoom meeting opportunities, but your shared interests are all you need to forge deeper connections with the help of your phone.
3. Get Organized
Instead of mindlessly scrolling Instagram again, go through your photos and delete the ones you don’t need. The 45 pictures you took while trying to take a photo of your breakfast, can be reduced to one or two, no?
You can also use your free time to clean out your email, do some unsubs, and organize the emails you want to keep by moving them to sub-folders that will put your medical communications, receipts, and other important emails at your fingertips when you need them.
4. Get Creative
From cooking to coloring there are many ways to get creative with your phone. KitchenStories is a great app that gives you step-by-step recipes along with videos and images. And if you love creativity as I do, Color Therapy and other creative apps are a good way to build those skills or just help yourself relax, not just mindlessly pass the time.
5. Get Down to Business
Use your phone to organize your thoughts and to regularly jot down ideas in a Notes app. Other apps such as Slack, can help you connect to your work colleagues and you should definitely be using more of your free time to stay in touch with business contacts, publish blog posts, and get more active on LinkedIn.
6. Improve Yourself with Podcasts & Audiobooks
One of the healthy things about audiobooks and podcasts is that you can take your eyes off your screen to enjoy them! (Btw, if you're not already doing it, you should be managing your screen time to prevent digital eye strain and the adverse effects too much screen time can have on our brains!) But maybe the best benefit of listening to podcasts and audiobooks is the flexibility and ease of learning they provide.
One of my favorite podcasts, The Hidden Brain, has taught me so much in the 2 years that I’ve been listening to it. Other podcasts give me a dose of humor or feed my intellect.
The point is to intentionally choose what you listen to, and in that way, your phone doesn't own you but serves you.
Our phones don't have to be a source of negative health consequences. By habitually using it for healthier things, we can make our phone time a good use of our me-time.