How do I make productive use of my smart phone and internet without making it a reason for the waste of time?

Recently, I’ve come to the conclusion that we are going to be on our phones all the time no matter what anyone says.

I will do it.

You will do it.

We all will do it.

And you know what? That’s okay.

Smartphone technology is amazing and I love it.

BUT, we can ultimately choose to use this time on our phones productively or unproductively.

It all depends on the apps that we keep and use frequently.

Five years ago, the apps I spent the most time on were Facebook and Words with Friends. I have since deleted both of them because I decided they were not a good use of my time.


I’ll now describe the apps I spend the most time on now and why they are a much better use of my time.

Upword notes (iTunes):

This is my to-do list and note-taking app. It’s the one app I have open at all tims when my phone is on and it takes up prime real estate on my iPhone (bottom left main bar).

This is deliberate.

I want this app to be as accessible as possible because I actually want to be obsessively checking this app.

The reason for this is that I write down my most important to-dos in this app daily.

I also keep notes on my goals and highest life priorities by category. I revisit these notes and to-dos several times a day crossing things off when they get done.

This app helps me stay on track when I would otherwise get derailed by life.

It’s the most important app on my phone.

Quora (iTunesGoogle Play):

I spend a lot of time on Quora because I want to build a writing habit.

Writing daily at the same time and place on my laptop has helped this habit, but writing on the Quora app in my free time has solidified it.

My writing output has increased significantly since I stopped limiting myself to writing on my laptop.

Now, I can write on my phone when I have some free time, but don’t have my laptop with me.

I’ve also been able to produce more answers, which has helped my writing gain more visibility.

Canva (iTunesGoogle Play):

Canva is a graphic design app I use to create my Instagram posts.

This is another app I used to use on my computer only, but once I started getting familiar with the iPhone app, I realized it was very useful.

Now, I can create designs that look just as good on my phone and they sync to my account so that I can continue working on my laptop.

Note: any content creation app that syncs between mobile and computer is huge for your productivity. It means you have no excuse to work on your content. You can do it anytime and anywhere.

Over (iTunes) and Wordrabbit (iTunes):

These are two apps that I use to create t-shirt designs for my Merch by Amazon side hustle.

Again, instead of doing mindless stuff and wasting time on my phone, I’m using my phone and down time to be creative and make money.

Instagram (iTunesGoogle Play):

Yeah, I know this is a social media app like Facebook, which can be a huge time suck if you are using it to consume content.

But I use it to create content.

I post my writing from Quora and my t-shirt designs on my Instagram pages.

I also spend a lot of time researching hashtags to give my posts more reach and gain more followers.

Note: I do have a personal Instagram account which I use to post normal pics and view my friends and family’s posts, but I spend very little time on this account compared to my writing and design IG accounts.

Kindle (iTunesGoogle Play):

Sometimes when I have downtime and I’m not in the mood to create content, I just read books on my Kindle app.

I also like that I can easily highlight passages and export them to notes to review later.

Even if I only spend a few minutes a day on this app, it adds up to a book or two a month.

Podcasts (iTunes)/Audible (iTunesGoogle Play):

I spend at least 90 minutes a day on these apps because I’m in the car for about an hour a day at least during my commute and I walk for 30–45 minutes a day.

I love to consume podcasts and audiobooks while I’m walking or driving because it puts driving time to good use and increases the benefit of the time I spend walking.



You don’t have to use your smartphone as an excuse to be unproductive.

Just change the apps you use and you can turn it into a powerful productivity machine instead.

Featured image by Jonas Svidras.

First published on Quora.



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