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Let’s face it: our phone is a big part of our lives. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels a slight panic when my phone’s battery is at 1% and a charger isn’t in the immediate vicinity. I’m just that attached to it, just like most people nowadays. In fact, a new study has revealed that young adults use their phones an average of five hours a day. That might not sound like much, but it’s actually about one-third of a person’s waking hours.

We’re not expecting young people to leave their phones at home, we’re not even expecting them to cut down on usage (that’d be crazy!), but here are three productive ways you can use your phone.

1. Learn a new language or brush up on an old one

Most people approach language learning with dread and I don’t blame them. Learning a new language is daunting and used to entail hours of sitting in a classroom. But with technology, we can now learn simply by using our smartphones.

Scientific studies have revealed that speaking two or more language has the potential to improve one’s cognitive abilities. It can also really spruce up your resume. Here are a few more benefits of language learning:

  • Improves memory – The brain is like a muscle – the more you use it, the stronger it becomes. Learning a new language will involve memorization of new words which helps strengthen that muscle, improving a person’s cognitive abilities especially memory.
  • Enhances multitasking abilities – Bilingualism or multilingualism can improve a person’s multitasking abilities. This is due to the fact that bilinguals are juggling two languages mentally whenever they communicate.
  • Improves problem-solving skills – Bilingualism has a significant impact on a person’s problem-solving abilities. In fact, language learning is viewed by a lot of educators as a special case of problem-solving in which learners are intelligently exploring a hypothetical search space.
  • Improves communication skills – Learning a new language will also help you understand your own. It will make you focus on the mechanics of your first language i.e. its grammatical rules and syntactic constructions.

I recommend these apps for getting started on your quest for language learning.

  • DuoLingo includes a language-learning website and app. It currently offers 81 different language courses across 37 languages.
  • Memrise uses flashcards as memory aids. It specializes in language but also offers content on a wide range of other subjects. Currently, Memrise has more than 150 language courses across 25 languages.
  • Busuu offers lessons on 12 languages. Learners can select one or more of the offered languages and work through the self-paced lessons.

girl on her phone in what's hopefully a productive way
2. Listen to a podcast and learn something new

Podcasts are audio recordings of a person sharing their thoughts or a conversation between a host and a guest speaker. They are most popular for consuming content on-the-go since you can listen to them on any portable device. It is a great way to stay informed and educated in your areas of interest while doing other things optimizing your use of time.

Check out the top three most popular podcast series of 2018:

  • Serial is a multi-awarded, investigative journalism podcast hosted by Sarah Koenig. It follows the story of a young man potentially wrongly convicted of murder over the course of one season.
  • Slow Burn is a narrative podcast that premiered on November 28, 2017, and quickly became a top show on Apple Podcast. The first season discussed the Watergate scandal and the second discussed the Impeachment of Bill Clinton.
  • In the Dark is another investigative journalism podcast from APM Reports. Season one focused on the kidnapping and murder of Jacob Wetterling and the season two explored the case of Curtis Flowers.

You can also use podcasts to further improve your productivity! I recommend listening to the following podcasts if you want to do so with these:

  • The Mission Daily is a podcast dedicated to accelerated learning and helping you become healthier, wealthier, and wiser. The world is moving faster than ever and the only way to adapt to this is to learn as quickly as we can.
  • The Accidental Creative podcast shares how to develop smart everyday practices that help you stay prolific, brilliant, and healthy in life and work.
  • Smart Passive Income is hosted by entrepreneur and blogger Pat Flynn. He shares blogging strategies, income sources, and marketing tips so you can be ahead of the curve with your online business or blog.

And, of course, if you’re looking to relax through some guided meditation podcasts, look no further than our very own BOLDFISH Mind.

3. Start a new book

Reading is good for you. It improves concentration, memory, and vocabulary. However, carrying a physical book around isn’t always ideal. With eBooks, all your reading material is conveniently in the palm of your hand.

  • Get Free eBooks – Google has been scanning books from public libraries for several years now which means that you have access to an entire library of classic literature that you can read on any portable device. Go to Google Books at books.google.com and search for any book or topic.

Another way to access eBooks for free is through the Google Play store. The Top Free in Books is a browsing category. You will find a list of the week’s most popular downloads which includes public domain books and promotional books that copyright owners want to give away without charge.  

With all of these options, know now that just because you can’t stay away from your phone, doesn’t mean you can’t be productive.

Related Articles On BOLDFISH

Productive Ways to Use Your Phone for Work

Digital Wellness For Dummies

Is Mobile Phone Obsession the New Smoking

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