75 Awesome Things to Do Instead of Being on Your Phone

Things to do instead of being on your phone

In 2019, I was freshly relocated and facing big life changes – choosing a career path while urgently needing to settle down. I coped by endlessly scrolling my phone – a mindless escape from mounting pressures.

The shock came when I realized the sheer amount of time spent on social media and YouTube. I could have used that time to improve productivity, learn new skills, or even advance in my career. 

This wake-up call demanded change. I chose action over aimlessness and transformed wasted time into growth. 

What about you? Are you spending too much time on your phone? Small changes can lead to big growth.

In this blog post, I’m excited to share 75 awesome things to do instead of being on your phone. Ditch your phone and Be Present!


Our obsession with phones can seriously damage our health and steal precious time we could use to nourish our body, mind, and spirit. Just one hour less of daily phone use can boost well-being.

Instead of losing hours to mindless scrolling, I invite you to:

  • Break free from your phone and get creative – write, craft, paint, take photos!

  • Pamper yourself with relaxing self-care – try yoga, mindfulness, and spa baths.

  • Go on adventures – hike nature trails, explore museums, and travel.

  • Energize your body – walk, run, dance, swim, climb!

  • Feed your mind – learn skills and languages, and take a class.

  • Connect with others – volunteer, join a club, have a phone-free date.

  • Enjoy simple pleasures – baking, gardening, stargazing, playing games.

  • Add joy to your day – sing, craft gifts, play with pets.

  • Prepare for rest – read, journal, wind down.

This blog post shares 75+ satisfying ways to spend less time on your phone and more time nurturing yourself and enjoying life.

Being glued to the phone: Why is it a problem?

The negative effects of phone addiction

The grip phones have on us is more than a modern inconvenience—it’s a growing concern with tangible repercussions. Phone addiction isn’t just about being overly attached to our devices; it’s a condition that impacts our bodies and minds.

Physical Downsides

  1. Eye Strain: Prolonged exposure to phone screens can lead to digital eye strain with symptoms like dry eyes, irritation, and blurred vision, commonly known as digital eye strain.

  2. Sleep Disruption: The blue light from phone screens is notorious for disrupting our natural sleep cycles by suppressing melatonin production, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

  3. Poor Posture: ‘Text neck’ is the pain and damage caused to the neck and spine from looking down at your phone too often.

  4. Distracted Driving: Cell phones are a leading cause of driver distraction. The National Traffic Safety Administration reports phone use contributes to 12% of all U.S. car accidents.

  5. Transmission of Germs: According to Sani Professional, your phone can be a hotbed for germs, with studies showing it can carry ten times more bacteria than most toilet seats.

Psychological Consequences

Psychological Consequences of Phone Addiction
  1. Addiction: The need to continually check your device can turn compulsive, mirroring addiction patterns.

  2. Anxiety and Depression: A study by the American Psychological Association links high screen time usage with increased rates of anxiety and depression, particularly among young adults.

  3. Stress: The pressure to always be available and responsive on social media platforms can lead to chronic stress and burnout.

  4. Relationship Problems: Excessive cell phone and social media use, including playing games like Candy Crush, can lead to the neglect of offline relationships.

  5. OCD and ADHD Symptoms: Overuse of smartphones has been linked to symptoms characteristic of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

A 2021 study by the Pew Research Centre found that younger adults, lower-income Americans, and those with less formal education are particularly dependent on smartphones for online access, suggesting that phone use could amplify existing social and economic disparities​.

In terms of sheer volume, the statistics are staggering. Reviews.org reports that the average American’s screen time has jumped to 4 hours and 25 minutes daily, up from less than 3 hours just a year prior. That’s over 127 hours a month spent on mobile devices—time that could be redirected towards more enriching activities aligned with one’s life priorities, like being present with loved ones, picking up a new hobby, or even making new friends.

So, when you catch yourself mindlessly scrolling, ask yourself: Are you in control of your digital consumption, or is it controlling you?

Science-backed Perks of Digital Detox

Science proven benefits of digital detox

Before exploring the plethora of activities you can indulge in instead of being on your phone, let’s review the research-proven upsides of a digital cleanse.

A 2023 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology revealed compelling reasons to cut back on cell phone usage:

  1. Improved Well-being: Reducing daily smartphone use even by an hour can significantly boost your mental health and life satisfaction.

  2. Long-term Positive Effects: Both complete abstinence and moderate reduction in phone use show lasting benefits for up to four months.

  3. Increased Physical Activity: Participants in the study who reduced their screen time engaged in more physical activities, contributing to overall better health. Trading phones for fitness is a clear win!

  4. Decrease in Smoking Behavior: Interestingly, the study found that reducing phone use also correlated with a decrease in the number of daily cigarettes.

  5. Enhanced Life Balance: Being selective with phone use helps you be more focused and intentional with time. It also promotes a healthier balance between online and offline life.

  6. Reduction in Anxiety and Depression: Less time spent on smartphones is associated with fewer depressive and anxiety symptoms.

  7. Sustainable Habit Change: Unlike the challenging nature of complete abstinence, reducing phone use is a more manageable and sustainable approach.

This research clearly demonstrates the multifaceted upsides of moderating phone use.

The takeaway? Limiting cell phone use has science-backed benefits for mental health, activity levels, life balance, and much more!

How to break the endless scrolling habit?

How to stop scrolling and break phone addiction?

One truth about our phones is that they’re incredibly multifunctional, seamlessly integrating into every aspect of our lives – weather, alarms, boredom fillers. Yet, this ease of access doesn’t have to lead to overuse. It can instead be a catalyst for change.

Inspired by James Clear’s insights in “Atomic Habits”, I learned the power of increasing friction to break a habit. A simple but effective trick I use is putting my phone on “Do Not Disturb” and in a drawer during my deep work sessions. Out of sight, really is out of mind! No notifications, no urge to check.

Other effective friction strategies – app blockers or playful bets with friends—if you reach for your phone during a set period of time, you owe a friend some cash. These methods make reaching for your phone less habitual and more deliberate.

Now, here’s some inspiration from the research to help get you motivated:

Remember that study I mentioned earlier by the Journal of Experimental Psychology? Their findings indicated that just an hour less of phone usage daily resulted in long-term lowered phone use and offered long-lasting benefits of improved mental wellness and life satisfaction.

The study proved that unlike the challenging approach of total abstinence, reducing phone use is a more manageable and sustainable change for most people.

As Stephen Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, wisely said, “The key is not spending time, but investing it.”

What follows in this blog post is my own list of suggested things to do instead of being on your phone. I hope you’ll find these tips helpful for breaking the constant scrolling habit and rediscovering fulfillment beyond the screen.

Productive things to do instead of screen time

Productive things to do instead of being on your phone
  1. Learn a new skill: Dive into knitting, coding, or picking up a new language. Learn a new productivity skill to shine at work. The possibilities are endless when you ditch the mindless scrolling.

  2. Write a to-do list: Plan for success.

  3. Complete a task from your to-do list. It is a TO DO list, after all!

  4. Organize your workspace: A tidy desk equals a tidy mind.

  5. Become a better version of yourself: Learn how to improve productivity
  6. Work on your note-taking technique or review your notes.

Well-being and self-care activities instead of mindless scrolling

  1. Practice mindfulness: Be present in the moment.

  2. Start a fitness challenge: Push your limits.

  3. Take a long, relaxing bath: Soak your stress away.

  4. Start a gratitude list: Count your blessings.

  5. Create a vision board: Visualize your future achievements.

Fun things to do instead of scrolling

  1. Host a themed movie night: Popcorn and pajamas?

  2. Plan a treasure hunt: Adventure awaits in your backyard.

  3. Go window shopping.
  4. Brainstorm an epic prank to play on your best friends.

  5. Make a new friend.

Creative activities to avoid reaching out for a phone

  1. DIY home decor project: Add a personal touch to your space.

  2. Learn photography: Capture life’s moments.

  3. Try aesthetic note-taking: Doodling and coloring engage your brain for improved retention, boost learning, and make studying more fun.
  4. Write a blog post: Share your thoughts with the world.

  5. Compose a song or a poem: Express your inner melody.

  6. Craft homemade gifts: Personalized and thoughtful.

At Home things to do instead of being on your phone

  1. Bake something sweet: Who doesn’t love homemade cookies?

  2. Tend to your vegetable garden or houseplants.

  3. Rearrange your furniture: A fresh layout can revitalize your home.

  4. Do a puzzle.

  5. Have a movie marathon: Classics, thrillers, rom-coms? You choose.

Outdoor activities to replace mindless scrolling

Outdoor things to do instead of being on your phone
  1. Go hiking on a nature trail: Embrace the great outdoors.

  2. Have a picnic: Pack some snacks and enjoy the fresh air.

  3. Ice skating or roller skating: Glide your worries away.

  4. Go for a bike ride: Get your heart rate up.

  5. Visit a local farmers market: Support locals and eat fresh.

Social activities to stay connected without your phone

  1. Volunteer in your community: Give back and feel good.

  2. Join a book club: Read more and make new friends.

  3. Plan a game night: Bring snacks and your favorite board game.

  4. Throw an epic dinner party! Cook, chat, and laugh the night away.

  5. Have a phone-free date: Connect deeply with your loved one.

Get active instead of reaching out for your phone

  1. Join a sports league: Ball game, anyone?

  2. Go swimming: Dive in for a refreshing workout.

  3. Take a dance class: Salsa, hip-hop, or ballet.

  4. Play tennis: Serve up some fun.

  5. Try bouldering or rock climbing: Reach new heights.

Learn instead of spending time mindlessly on your phone

  1. Enroll in an online course: Expand your knowledge and skills.

  2. Learn a new language: Hola, Bonjour, こんにちは!

  3. Attend a workshop or seminar: Grow personally and professionally.

  4. Read educational blogs: Stay updated and informed.

  5. Watch a documentary: Learn a fact or two about real life!

  6. Learn to leverage AI tools to optimize your learning and productivity.

Try new things instead of being on your phone

  1. Go to a new restaurant: Taste a new flavor.

  2. Visit a museum: Travel through time.

  3. Stand on your head. Well, try it! (carefully, of course!)

  4. Explore a new cuisine: Treat your taste buds to something exotic.

  5. Start a bucket list: Dream big and plan your adventures.

Chores to complete instead of being on your phone

Chores to do instead of being on your phone
  1. Wash the car: Take pride in your ride.

  2. Organize your digital files: Clean up your virtual space.

  3. Organize your closet: Declutter and maybe find some hidden treasures.

  4. Sew or mend clothes: Extend their life.

  5. Clean the windows: Let the sunshine in.

Play instead of being on your phone

  1. Play catch: Grab a ball and a friend for some simple fun.

  2. Have a scavenger hunt: Creative fun for kids and adults alike.

  3. Build a fort: Channel your inner child.

  4. Play charades: Laugh out loud with this classic game.

  5. Fly a kite: Let your spirit soar with the wind.

Relaxing things to do instead of being on your phone

  1. Take a nap or get an early night: Recharge your batteries.

  2. Do some coloring: Relax and be artistic.

  3. Listen to music or a podcast: Discover your next favorite song.

  4. Stargaze: Marvel at the beauty of the night sky.

  5. Practice deep breathing: Calm your mind and body.

Morning activities to replace staring at your phone

  1. Exercise: Start your day energized.

  2. Make a hearty breakfast: Fuel up for the day.

  3. Plan your day: Set goals and intentions.

  4. Write morning pages: Clear your mind with stream-of-consciousness writing.

  5. Watch the sunrise: Embrace a new day’s beauty.

Before-bed activities to do instead of scrolling

Before-bed activities to do instead of being on your phone
  1. Read a book: Wind down with a good story or learning.

  2. Plan the next day’s outfit: A small but satisfying task.

  3. Do some gentle yoga or stretching: Prepare your body for rest.

  4. Reflect on your day: Contemplate and grow.

  5. Write in a journal: Unwind your thoughts before bed.

Embrace Life Beyond the Screen

In this journey of discovering 75 awesome activities, we’ve seen how reducing phone use, even by an hour a day, can significantly enhance your mental health and overall well-being. Whether engaging in self-care, pursuing new hobbies, or being more present in our daily lives, the benefits of cutting down screen time are vast and varied.

Remember, these activities are more than mere pastimes; they’re gateways to enriched experiences. Mixing and matching them can amplify the fun. Take bouldering with friends, for instance—combining a great workout with a vibrant social scene. Blending healthy things with meaningful connections has become a personal favorite of mine.

Real life is unfolding around us, away from our digital screens. Let’s seize it, embrace new experiences, and rediscover the joy of living in the moment.

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