A smartphone is a supercomputer in your pocket. It’s one of the most incredible inventions in world history. Yet we take them for granted.
This article aims to show you how to most effectively to maximize your phone’s potential. It speaks about smartphones in general, most smartphones are similar enough not to be discussed separately in this context.
Mindset: Your Phone as a Tool for Growth
See your smartphone as a tool for personal growth rather as simply a device to call people up. Most people don’t fully appreciate what their phone can do. In fact our phone is an incredibly sophisticated device which can help you learn, achieve and do more.
Regarding the phone as a powerful tool is the mental shift needed to maximize the benefit you derive from it.
Leverage Dead Time
Dead time is when you can’t do anything else but wait.
- While on a long car/train/coach/plane journey
- Waiting at the bus stop
- Waiting for a package to be delivered
- In a queue
- While waiting for the kettle to boil
Although each segment of dead time may only be a few moments, that time adds up over a long period. Once you start leveraging dead time with your phone, you can acquire skills rapidly.
Learn a Language
Did you know Duolingo is free? Sure there’s a premium version, but the basic package is just an app you download onto your phone. It has simple flashcard style exercises broken up into thematic chunks (shop, food, travel etc). It’s built around a linear progression through levels. You’re also requested to repeat levels after a certain amount of time has elapsed or if you make mistakes.
There are some sound effects but they are not loud or annoying and the app reads out the words to you. Now you can be learning a language during your dead time. A few minutes a day will soon start to see your skill level increase.
Adding an extra language to your resume immediately adds credibility and prestige to your reputation. It also lets you speak to many more people, access more opportunities, discover a whole other world and blows open your perspective.
Not to mention it’s an incredible confidence boost.
Listen to Lectures
Academic lectures are now available for free online. You can take thousands of courses, from the world’s top lecturers, for free, from the device in your pocket. It’s true that you won’t get accreditation for those courses. But if your interest is in knowledge and self-development, rather than pedestrian credentialism, you should absolutely be taking at least one course at any given time.
Check out Open Culture’s list of 1,300 courses from accredited universities available for free online right now.
Your smartphone is basically a robot personal assistant that lives in your pocket. If you don’t trust Google Calendar (although they probably know everything about you already), start using one of the many other calendar apps and reminder functions to store your appointments, set reminders and task lists and track progress towards your goals. This is even more effective for the naturally disorganized, since multiple alarms and reminder notifications can prevent you from forgetting and missing appointments.
Track Your Spending
Getting a handle on your finances is one of the most important things you can do in life, mostly because a lack of money will absolutely cripple you if you allow that state to continue for too long. Download a spending tracking app like Spendee to keep your household budget in order. For more advanced financiers, you can download apps to track your investments, or even to invest for you. One such app, Acorns, lets you invest your spare change left over after every transaction.
If you want to read ebooks properly you should probably get a kindle. But your average smartphone can download, save and display ebooks just as effectively. Furthermore, many of the great classics of world literature are available for free online if you know where to look.
Soldiering through some of the greatest written works in history is a great use of the dead time you have waiting in line at Walmart.
These uses of your smartphone can set you apart from your peers and help you build skills and abilities to move forwards towards your goals.