Phone addiction? 20 things to do instead of being on your phone

Couple smiling, enjoying meal at restaurant.

Addicted to your phone? It’s the middle of the day, you're sat on the bus (making sure to avoid the sticky chewing gum-covered seats) on the way to meet a friend, and suddenly, like magic, your hand is making a beeline for your phone... Welcome to the age of digital shenanigans, where smartphone addiction is on the rise.1 It's practically a reflex to scroll through our phones whenever there's a moment to spare, because let's face it, it seems like our whole lives are stashed in there. 

Social media, games, messages and news notifications keep popping up on our screen, and before we know it, we’ve spent hours on our phone. While there’s nothing wrong with being on your phone from time to time, it can distract you from living in the present moment, in which case putting it down can be beneficial to our wellbeing. Keep reading to learn more about phone addiction and its effects, and check out our list of things to do instead of being on your phone.

Phone addiction: Why phones are addictive

Smartphones have so much content to offer and using them can become addictive. Studies have shown that phone activity makes our brains release dopamine, which makes us feel happy and motivated, and thus more likely to want to use our phones again.2 Who doesn’t enjoy a sweet hit of dopamine, after all? 

There is, however, a difference between spending a bit of time on your phone (those cat videos on social media are very cute) and being addicted to your phone. If you suspect that you or your loved ones could have a smartphone addiction that might require medical attention, seek professional help.3 

Negative effects of spending too much time on your phone

While it’s perfectly fine to be on your phone from time to time, excessive phone use can have negative effects, in which case it’s necessary to spend less time on your phone: 

  • Straining your eyes. Looking at screens for too long can dry and strain your eyes, which can cause discomfort.4
  • Trouble falling asleep. Studies have shown that screen activity in the evening can affect quality of sleep.5
  • Not living in the moment! A phone might be a small world in itself, but it remains a virtual one. Time spent on the phone is time that is not spent enjoying what the real world has to offer. Even if the real world decides to slop huge blobs of mustard directly into your lap moments before meeting your new partner's family, it’s important that we learn how to deal with the chaos of the real world healthily. And hey, they’ll love you anyway!

Spending less time on your phone can limit these negative effects, and free up more time for you and your loved ones to have some fun and make some mess together. Read on for some tips on how to do this!

Things to do instead of being on your phone

Do you and your loved ones need a break from your screens to reconnect with the real world? Here are 20 things to do instead of being on your phones. Whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor activity, want to do something productive, or spend time with your loved ones, we’ve got what you need to spend less time on your phone and care for yourself and others!

How to spend less time on your phone: Indoor activities ideas 

Living in the moment is well and good, but sometimes we just want to stay cosy and warm in the comfort of your own four walls. Here are some (indoor) fun things to do instead of being on your phone: 

  • Read a book or watch a movie. These are great activities if you’re feeling cosy, that will allow you to keep your phone away! 
  • Get crafty! There are many fun and creative craft activities you can do, from making papier-mâché animals to pressing flowers. Grab your little one or a friend and decorate your lounge with hundreds of tiny paper clippings together! That’s what vacuums are for, right? 
  • Try a new recipe. For those who love cooking, try a new recipe today! How about these fun and easy recipes to make with the little ones? Time to use every pan and pot in the kitchen (the clean-up is totally worth it for these recipes)! 
  • Journal or meditate. Journaling and meditating are good options if you’re asking yourself what to do instead of going on your phone.

Outdoor activities ideas 

Now, if you feel more adventurous and want to leave the house to explore the world, here are outdoor activities ideas of what to do instead of being on your phone: 

  • Go for a walk or a hike. Breathe that fresh air in, and enjoy spending time in nature! We can guarantee that you won’t be missing your phone at all. Getting mucky is part of the fun – if you’re getting that fresh countryside mud all over you while jumping around in big piles of fallen leaves, you’re doing it right! All you need to do is check out how to clean your muddy boots afterwards. 
  • Go shopping. Treat yourself to a nice purchase to congratulate yourself for spending less time on your phone! 
  • Try a new café. Who knows, it might become your new favourite spot? 
  • Go to the museum. Artworks look better when you see them in person rather than through your phone’s screen!  

Get organised! Things to do to stay organised

Another thing to do instead of being on your phone is doing small things to keep your life organised and on track. The following activities are good alternatives that will allow you to spend less time on your phone: 

  • All things administrative. Take care of all the small administrative tasks that you keep postponing, such as scheduling your appointments and sorting your mail. Your future self will thank you for it!  
  • House chores. They are part of our daily lives, and it’s important to take the time to do them to make life easier for you and your loved ones. Turn on that radio, roll up your sleeves, and have a little boogie while you’re tidying up those used glasses and bottles from last night’s shindig (they’re turning up in the most random of places – who was having a drink in the shed?!) 
  • Decorate your home to make it cosier for you and loved ones. 
  • Establish a routine. Having a good routine is a great self-care tip to stay organised, and to take time to focus on yourself, without your phone to distract you!


Cleaning the house? Use Plenty Flexisheets! Winner of Product of the Year 2024, Plenty Flexisheets have more perforations, so you can choose what you use. So, whether it’s your partners ‘I love you’ pie that got down your shirt (maybe you were just really, really enjoying it), or your little one’s beautiful crayon drawings (on the cabinets), you can always have the perfect amount of kitchen roll.

Spend less time on your phone, and more time showing care to loved ones

Still wondering what to do instead of going on your phone? You could spend time with your loved ones instead!

  • Make them a care package to show that you care about them! 
  • Catch up with a friend. Make time for your friends, and try to keep your phone away when you are catching up with them. 
  • Spend time with your pets. Your furry friends also need to be reminded that you care for them and love them! Go grab them, give them a cuddle and don’t worry: being covered in strands and clumps of pet hair is just a sign of a loving companionship! 
  • Play games with the family. Who knows, they could be more fun than solitary phone games. After all, ‘the more, the merrier’!

Give back to the community

Finally, you could use the time away from your phone to give back to the community. These community activities could be fun things to do instead of being on your phone: 

  • Join a community garden. It’s a good way to get involved with the community that will for sure keep your mind off your phone! Mud, sweat and a desperate need for a cuppa? That’s all par for the course and is a sign of a job well done. 
  • Take part in a community cleanup. There’s one for all interests and personalities! 
  • Sort and donate your clothes. Donating your clothes is a fantastic way to free up a bit of space for that incredible jacket you just have to have, and help others out. 
  • Volunteer. Have you ever thought about volunteering, but never had the time for it? This might be a good moment to start! Fancy an afternoon at home with a cuppa? Find out how to volunteer from home!

Next time you and your loved ones are wondering what to do instead of going on your phone, pick the activity you like the look of most from this list – whether it’s spreading flecks of flour high and low (as well as popping a bit on your unsuspecting partner’s nose) in the kitchen while baking a cake, or keeping it lowkey and tackling a puzzle. People from all ages, whether they’re children, teenagers, adults, or elderly need to disconnect from their phones from time to time, for their wellbeing. Suggesting these alternatives is a way to show them that you care!

*Winner General Household Category (Survey of 8,000 people in UK & ROI) 


1 Subramani Parasuraman, Aaseer Thamby Sam, Stephanie Wong Kah Yee, Bobby Lau Chik Chuon, and Lee Yu Ren, Smartphone usage and increased risk of mobile phone addiction: A concurrent study

2 Harvard, “Dopamine, smartphones & you: a battle for your time”

3 Addiction Center, “Phone addiction: warning signs and treatments”

4 NHS, “Working from home and looking after your eyes”

5 Sleep Foundation, “Screen time and insomnia: what it means for teens”

Did you find this article helpful?Thanks for your feedback!