Do you ever find yourself with a hole in your schedule that isn’t quite large enough to fill with something productive, so you pull out your cell phone and idly full your time by checking your Facebook feed? I hate to tell you this, but you are wasting time the wrong way.
I get it. I’m guilty of this too — whenever I find myself with unplanned extra time, I typically pull out my phone. It’s a hard habit to break, but there are far better uses of your time between tasks and appointments that four games of Bubble Shooter. According to a Nielson report in 2014, Americans over 18 use apps on their phone for an average of 43 hours and 31 minutes each month. That’s nearly two whole days, and is a lot of unproductive down time spent on things that don’t benefit your life.
Are you looking to take back those precious hours? Here are some better ways to waste time:
Get in the habit of carrying a book with youA 2001 study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that those who regularly read are 2–1/2 times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Reading not only improves knowledge, but it also can help to improve your memory, reduce stress, and give you improved focus and concentration. As Groucho Marx put it, “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.”
Carry a notebook and penDid you know that writing daily can boost your immune system? In 2013, a New Zealand study found that writing reduced stress and helped healing after monitoring a ground of individuals who underwent medically necessary biopsies. A separate study found that writing helped with asthma, AIDS, and cancer patients as well. Help your body efficiently overcome both physical and mental trauma by putting pen to paper instead of poking at your phone.
Do nothing at allSpending down time meditating benefits your body and mind in many ways. It encourages a healthy lifestyle and helps you to practice self-awareness. Another great benefit of meditation? It slows adding by creating more grey matter, or cells, in your brain. A Harvard study found that meditation also lengthens the markers on your chromosomes that show your biological age.
Fill your free time with fitnessWe have all heard that sitting is the new smoking — our idle activity is slowly killing us. Instead, get up for your few free minutes and get moving. Squats, burpees, Yoga, or a quick trip around the block can help. In fact, you can help combat the midday slump without the addictive addition of caffeine by getting your heart pumping, even for just a few minutes. Quick workouts also drastically improve your mood.
Getting unhooked from your cell phone habit will improve your memory, decrease Alzheimer’s risks, reduce stress, improve immune functions, increase lifespan, boost your energy, and make you happier. Instead of tuning in to your mobile device, tune out and take back your free time.