Lately, I’ve been finding myself engulfed by my phone. It’s like being caught in the ocean’s current – as soon as I think I’m free, it sucks me back out into the deep. And I know I’m not alone.
Americans today are spending an average of five hours per day on their phones. That means, if you are an average American sleeping eight hours at night, you are spending about one-third of the time you are awake on your phone! One-third!!!
Today, however, I don’t want to argue whether or not phones and the amount of time spent on them is good, bad or indifferent. I simply want to help you put down your phone a little more. Because let’s be honest, who doesn’t secretly crave a reprieve from that little screen? Who doesn’t want to be thrown a rope when they’ve been sucked back out into the deep?
So, let’s start small and explore thirty simple thirty-minute activities to help you put down your phone a little more this week.
1.) A cleaning spree
Is your house a mess? Don’t worry…so is mine! But devoting thirty minutes a day (or every other day) to general house cleaning can make a huge difference. So put down your phone, set a timer for thirty minutes, and see how much a you can get done. I think you’ll be surprised!
2.) Meet a friend for coffee
How often do we blame not spending more time with our friends on “being busy,” when the truth is we are not as busy as we are distracted? Show your friends you really care by setting aside thirty minutes of your five hours of phone time to meet them for coffee (or tea!).
3.) Take your dog for a walk
My dog hates my phone and I can’t really blame him. I mean, if I’m honest, my phone gets more attention than he does some days. So let’s unite on behalf of our furry friends and start taking our dogs on phone-free walks. They deserve it!
4.) Spend quality time with your kids
I’m not a parent, but I know this: you’ll never get to the end of your life thinking you spent too much quality time with your kids. Make it a priority! Even if it’s just a conversation about their day, it’s more meaningful to talk about it in person than to read about it on Facebook.
Thirty minutes, in my opinion, is the perfect amount of time for a workout! Any more and my brain taps out; any less and I don’t feel like I’ve really done the work. There are plenty of thirty minute workout programs you can do from the comfort of your own living room. Lately, I’ve been doing Core de Force, which was recommended to me by my fitness friend, Brittany. Check out her blog!
6.) Enjoy a hobby
When was the last time you took time to enjoy one of your hobbies? Well, now you’ve got thirty minutes! So pull out your scrapbook, sewing machine, or water colors and get to it!
7.) Volunteer your time
Offer to mow your elderly neighbor’s lawn or volunteer to help your child’s teacher one day a week after school. Yes, even thirty minutes makes a difference!
If you don’t already meditate, it may take some practice to be able to do it for a full half hour. However, it gives you something to work towards and is a much more intentional use of your time.
9.) Clean your fish tank
Let’s not forget about our aquatic friends! It’s easy to let cleaning the fish tank fall to the wayside in light of EVERYTHING ELSE we’ve got on our plates. But just think, at the end you’ll have happier, healthier fish and a home that doesn’t smell like a fish market.
10.) Write a letter to a friend or relative
Who doesn’t love receiving good old fashioned snail mail from a friend or family member? Take some time to make someone’s day and send them a hand written card or letter to let them know you care.
11.) Go for a bike ride
You may have to pull out the air pump and some WD-40, if you haven’t used your bike in a while. But that’s just another opportunity to spend thirty minutes away from your phone. Bonus!
12.) Make a home cooked meal
Rachel Ray had the right idea! You really can cook a good meal in thirty minutes with a little preparation, and you don’t even need your phone for a recipe. You can dust off an old cookbook or just get creative. (Grilled cheese and tomato soup counts!)
13.) Shred old documents
We all have that stack of mail or old tax documents we’ve been meaning to safely discard. It’s time to finally put that shredder you bought to good use. Just don’t forget to recycle the bits!
14.) Start or nurture a garden
Starting a garden doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t even need land. You can buy a few planters and start an herb or vegetable garden on your patio. Plus, taking time to nurture your garden will keep you out of the phone zone and put you back in touch with nature.
15.) Clean-out a junk drawer
Everyone has one! The catch-all drawer that is home to a broken rubber band, a few dead AA batteries and an expired coupon for Pizza Hut. Thirty minutes is plenty of time to give that drawer a good cleaning.
16.) Organize your dresser
Speaking of drawers….how about your dresser? Are there clothes you could donate? Have you forgotten about that shirt at the bottom of the stack? Maybe a good use of thirty minutes could be cleaning-out and organizing your dresser drawers.
17.) Explore a new lunch spot
Whether it’s a cafe you’ve been wanting to try or a new sandwich shop all of your friends have been raving about, why not treat yourself to a phone-free lunch somewhere new. And if you’re not comfortable eating alone without using your phone, invite a friend to join you or bring something to read.
18.) Read a book, magazine or newspaper
Speaking of reading at lunch…reading a book, magazine or newspaper is a fantastic way to engage your mind in something other than endless scrolling and tapping. You can still catch up on news and fashion trends, or finally finish that book you’ve been “reading” for a year now.
19.) Get a manicure
Ladies, are you listening? I just told you to go out and get a manicure!!!
20.) Talk with your significant other
Good communication is essential to a healthy relationship, but when is the last time the two of you actually talked without kids, TV, or phones to distract you? Give them some time and you may find your partner is way more interesting than your phone.
21.) Make a quick craft with your kids
There are so many fun craft projects you can do with your kids that don’t take a ton of time. Or, let your kids get creative. Simply set out the craft supplies (glitter, glue, construction paper, pipe cleaners, paint, etc.) and see who can come up with the most creative craft in thirty minutes.
22.) Soak up the sun
If it’s summer, go outdoors and soak up the sun. You can sit in your lawn chair and drink lemonade or you could go for a swim in the neighborhood pool. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
23.) Build a snowman
If you’re reading this and it happens to be winter, I am, first and foremost, sorry. But secondly, I’d like to point out that thirty minutes is the perfect amount of time to build a snowman!
24.) Vacuum out your car
The inside of our cars can get pretty dirty pretty quick, especially when kids or pets are involved. So why not use a little bit of your phone time to make your car sparkle like new again…or at least vacuum up the Cheerios.
25.) Watch a sunset or sunrise
There’s something about the feeling of watching a beautiful sunset or sunrise. It’s as if time slows down and speeds up simultaneously, which is the exact same feeling I get when I spend thirty minutes away from my phone. Interesting!
26.) Go out for ice cream
27.) Go to the park
Now that you have your ice cream, it’s a perfect time to head to the park. Take a stroll around the walking path, push your kids on the swings, or maybe even get in some swinging time yourself. You’re never too old for the swings!
28.) Bake a batch of cookies
Thirty minutes is plenty of time to mix up some chocolate chip cookie dough and pop a batch in the oven. Just think….in half an hour you could be eating a warm cookie right out of the oven.
29.) Play a card game or board game
You may not have time for a game of Monopoly, but one round of Candy Land with your kids or an old fashioned game of Solitaire with real playing cards is perfectly doable in thirty minutes.
30.) Go for a run
I went from hardly being able to run a mile to now having run four 5Ks and one 10K. And it all started with running thirty minutes or less a day. If you’ve been wanting to train for a race, setting down your phone and lacing up your shoes will put you one step closer to the finish line.
Now, it’s your turn! I invite you to share with us in the comments below one of your own ideas. What could you do with thirty phone-free minutes?