Get Off Your Phone: 10 Productive Things You Can Do

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On average, people 18 and older check their cell phones 344 times a day, that’s every 4 minutes, a survey from reported earlier this year. And, 47% of participants said they were addicted to their cell phones and 74% felt uneasy leaving their phone at home.

For many it’s hard to break the screen time habit.  If this applies to you, now with longer days and warmer weather, it’s a good time to put down that phone and increase your productivity.

Here’s 10 tips on what you can do:

1. Explore nature: Take a walk outside by yourself or with a friend. There are 139 parks in Connecticut to explore this summer, according to the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP). If waterfalls are more your thing, find a list of the best 18 waterfalls in CT here.

2. Take up cycling: Since the COVID-19 pandemic, cycling has become a popular form of exercise. The surge in bicycle sales is known as the “bike boom,” where $4.1 billion worth of bikes (excluding e-bikes) were sold in the U.S. between January and October 2020, according to the Verge, a website that reports trends. For an additional at-home workout option, several households bought stationary bikes, popularizing brands such as Peloton.

3. Take up reading or start a book club with friends: During the COVID-19 shutdown, people turned to reading as a hobby. Book sales increased from 757.9 million books in 2020 to 825.7 million in 2021, according to Publishers Weekly. This summer you could pick up a book at your public library, local bookstore, or thrift store. Try starting a book club with others as a way to reconnect with old friends.

4. Spend a day shopping local: As stores continue to reopen since the pandemic, there is a greater push to shop local than ever before. Stores that stayed in business over the past two years are turning to the community residents for support. In Connecticut alone, there are 332,805 small businesses, according to Gaebler, an entrepreneur news website. As a summer day activity, you could spend time shopping at your town’s small businesses.

5. Cook a meal for family: Cooking became popular as boredom during quarantine forced people to be creative. With more time on their hands, people cooked more complex meals for themselves or others. According to The Washington Post, “Cooking for others — whether a simple weeknight dinner or a party– is a powerful wellness-booster because it is a fundamentally altruistic act.” Homeowners experimented with air fryers for healthier options as sales reached over 25 million between January 2020 and December 2021, according to Yahoo. Cooking can be a fun activity by yourself or with others, as well as a chance to explore new techniques.

6. Declutter your closet: Closet clean-outs are necessary, especially at the start of a new season. An average American will throw away 81 pounds of clothing yearly, contributing to municipal solid waste, according to The Saturday Evening Post. Instead of throwing out clothes, donate to Goodwill, consignment stores or local donation centers. For teens and young adults, Plato’s Closet is a great way to exchange old clothes for cash on the spot. Also, look on social media for clothing swap events happening in your community.

7. Deep clean your space: Since the pandemic, people are more aware of cleanliness than ever before. Make sure to take time out of your day to clean highly touched areas in your home such as a computer keyboard. According to Forbes Magazine, there are 3,000 bacteria per square inch on a keyboard. For those working at-home, having a clean desk will promote productivity throughout the day.

8. Practice self-care: Self-care is now a common practice, as people finding way to better themselves. A OnePoll study found that 47% of their participants said an at-home spa was their most common self-care ritual. It is important to take time out of your day and do something for yourself.

9. Empty out your car: Cleaning out your car is an activity that is oftentimes overlooked. Carrying extra weight can cause additional strain to your car, according to Popular Mechanics. By removing heavy items, you can also save on miles per gallon, which can ultimately save you money with today’s high gas prices.

10. Drink water: Now with warmer days ahead, drinking water is even more important. Proper hydration is key as health experts recommend eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day, also referred to as “the 8×8 rule.” This is equal to half a gallon of water, per Healthline Media.

Colleen Lucey, a junior at the University of Connecticut, writes about the most pressing health, wellness and safety issues affecting people ages 18-40. To reach her, email


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