Android iPhone and iPad Productivity

10 Productive Ways to Kill Time With Your Smartphone

Dan Helyer 08-06-2020

Boredom often strips your mind of all the possible ways you could spend your time. When you’re bored, it’s easy to do nothing. But you usually come out of that slump full of regrets over such a waste of time.

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If you find yourself bored with your phone around, there are many productive ways to spend your time. Even if you’re still bored after working through these tasks, you’ll at least have something to show for your effort. And since these are general tips, they’re applicable to both iPhone and Android users.

1. Clear Out Your Email Inbox

Spark email app with seven unread notifications

It’s common to let unimportant emails pile up, unread, in your inbox. The danger of this is that you might miss an important email when it does come in, as it gets lost in a high number of unread messages. You might also find that the stack of unread messages weighs on your subconscious; it’s yet another task you need to get around to sooner or later.

The good news is that it usually only takes five minutes to scan your unread emails and put them where they belong: archive, trash, or spam. You should also take this opportunity to unsubscribe to any newsletters you don’t want to receive anymore. That way, you’re less likely to find yourself buried under junk emails in the future.

2. Organize Your Apps

If you’re someone who likes to try out a lot of new apps, your phone might be cluttered with all the ones you don’t use anymore. When you find yourself with time to spare, review your Home screen and delete any apps you no longer need.

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You could also rearrange your iPhone apps 5 Handy Tips for Organizing Your iPhone and iPad Apps More Effectively Wading through an endless sea of icons, looking for an app? There's a better way; organize your iPhone or iPad apps. Read More to make your favorite ones more accessible. An organized Home screen makes it easier to find apps when you’re looking for them.

3. Check Your Notifications

Notification Center showing Clear All button

Almost every app on your phone begs for your attention through notifications. If you don’t dismiss them, these notifications stack up in the Notification Center, making you less likely to notice the important ones.

Swipe down from the top of the screen to access your Notification Center. Tap on a notification to open the relevant app or swipe it left and tap Clear to dismiss it. Tap and hold the X button and choose Clear All Notifications to dismiss them all at once.

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4. Update Your To-Do List

There are a lot of great to-do list apps 8 To-Do List Apps That Sync Across All Your Devices Choose one of these excellent to-do apps if you want to have your tasks and checklists synced on all your devices. Read More , but all of them get cluttered if you don’t spend time updating your tasks. Make sure you tick off any items you’ve already completed, change the deadline for ones you need to delay, and delete the jobs you don’t need to do anymore.

Another productive way to spend time on your device is to empty your head of everything you need to do and put it into a to-do list. That way you can’t forget them. Be sure to assign deadlines or reminders for any time-sensitive tasks.

5. Sort Through Your Photos

Photos app on Years view

One of the luxuries of a smartphone is that you’ve always got a camera on you to snap new pictures. The downside is that this can result in a bloated library filled with countless similar photos from when you were too eager with the shutter button.

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There’s nothing better to do when you’re bored on your phone than sorting through your photo library. Take a little time to delete pictures you don’t need, edit the ones that need a touch-up, highlight your favorites, and create albums for different memories. We’ve looked at how to organize iPhone photos How to Organize Your Photos on iPhone Looking to improve your photo organization on iPhone? Here are the best ways to manage your iPhone pictures without much hassle. Read More if you need some tips.

6. Spend Some Time Meditating

Choosing to do nothing can be a very productive way to spend your time, if you choose to do so deliberately. Try downloading one of the best meditation apps for your phone The 5 Best Meditation Apps for Relaxing and Sleeping We round up the best meditation apps to help you relax, get better sleep, and take a moment for yourself. Read More and spend five minutes clearing your mind.

This might not seem useful at first. But the clarity and peace of mind you get from meditating can spur you on to greater productivity throughout the rest of the day. If you keep up the habit, you should find yourself better able to deal with stress throughout your day-to-day life.

7. Write a Grocery List

Grocery List in Reminders app on iPhone

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One of the best ways to save money from week to week is by writing a grocery list based on the meals you plan to eat. That way, you won’t need to head to the store for last-minute ingredients and you shouldn’t find yourself throwing out food you didn’t get around to eating.

Use the Notes app to plan out breakfast, lunch, and dinner for each day in the next week. Then write a grocery list with all the ingredients you need for those meals. Your next shopping trip will be a breeze with this preparation behind you.

8. Learn a Language or Study

One of the most productive ways to spend time on your device is by learning a new skill. There are countless language-learning apps The 8 Best Language Learning Apps That Really Work Want to learn a language free? These are the best free language learning apps that will have you speaking a new language before you know it. Read More that you can download for free. Otherwise, take a look on YouTube, Skillshare, or even wikiHow to teach yourself something new.

You could learn essential skills for work, get started with a new hobby, or begin working toward that second language on your bucket list. Whatever you choose to learn, there are plenty of ways to study it using nothing but your phone and an internet connection.

9. Manage Your Contacts

New Contact page on iPhone

People change their contact details all the time: they move to a new address, change their number, update their email addresses, and even marry into new last names. If you’re bored, open the Contacts app on your device and make sure everyone’s details are up to date.

It’s common to find you’ve got duplicate entries for the same people or multiple different phone numbers in a single contact card. You’re also likely to find one-time contacts that you don’t need anymore, such as taxi drivers or hotels.

10. Write a Diary or Journal Entry

Keeping a diary or a journal is good for your mental health and a fantastic way to organize your thoughts. It doesn’t matter whether you write a five-page essay about your day or a five-word partial sentence capturing half a thought in your head. Spending some effort to write is always a useful way to spend time.

You can keep a digital diary or journal in the default Notes app or download a dedicated app for this purpose instead. There are plenty of journaling apps to choose from, and many of them tag your posts with locations, activities, and even music.

There Are Unproductive Ways to Your Spend Time, Too

Each of the tasks above offers a useful and productive way to spend time on your iPhone or Android phone, but they might not stop you from feeling bored. Sometimes when you’re bored, being productive is the exact opposite of what you want.

If that’s the case, there are plenty of mindless activities you can do on your device as well. Check out this list of fun activities to do online Top 8 Things to Do When You're Bored Online Trying to kill time but can't find anything that'll hold your attention? Here are some fun things to do online when bored. Read More . Most of them aren’t productive, but all of them are available on your phone, and they might offer a fun way to pass the time.

Related topics: Android, iPhone, Organization Software, Productivity Tips, Time Management.

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