What do we do when we have 10 minutes spare? Or when we’re waiting for a friend, or a train, or our coffee? Or when we’re in an awkward situation?
We go on our phones. And do what? Mind-numbingly brain-dead tasks I’m sure. Scroll through Facebook, seeing a hundred videos of rubbish memes and recipes. Swipe through snapchat, looking at everybody’s carefully curated story, made to make you have a severe case of FOMO. Flip through Instagram, gazing at an endless feed of coffees, avocado and OOTD’s.
But think about it. Think about how many 10 minutes you get in a day. Probably around 7-8 if you’re like me, always over-ready or arriving somewhere way too early. Those ten minutes amount to over an hour every day. Over an hour of wasted on un-productive brainless activities. And I’m not saying don’t go on your phone – the iPhone is a great tool that has expanded our world in incredible ways. The trick, though, is to use your phone smartly. Use those 15 minutes to do something quick and productive, something that keeps you learning, revising and your brain working.
And with an app store boasting over 2 million apps, there are so many ways to do this. I’m going to share a few of my favourites with you and how I use them to gain over an hour of extra productivity a day, through cumulative ’10 minutes.’
? Apple News – free
This is my go-to for the general news when I have a few minutes spare. It allows me to select the papers that I want to see news from, my top area of interest and collates them into small articles, that I can swipe through and read when I have a spare moment. I have selected a few main papers, such as the guardian, telegraph, economist, FT, BBC etc, and in fairly prominent areas, such the economy, politics, law/judiciary, environment and technology. I’ve also selected to allow push notification from the Telegraph, so whenever there is a new article that is either breaking news or that the app thinks I may like, it’ll pop it into my notification centre, where I can easily access it in my ten minutes.
What’s also great is that depending on what types of articles you read, and from what source, the app can begin to learn what you like to read, and curate the stories more personally for you.
? Flipboard – free
This is also a really fantastic news app, and can also make a great alternative to Apple News. I, however, use it in conjunction with Apple News and use it in a slightly different. Flipboard allows you to select topics/companies, that you’d like to follow and pulls news from all over the internet into the corresponding folder, regarding those topics/companies. I use for the latter, having it deliver me the latest news of certain companies that I’m interested and that are relevant to my commercial awareness. For example, I have folders following companies of personal interest, like Apple and Starbucks, but I also have folders set to follow legal firms.
??? LinkedIn – free
On the topic of news, LinkedIn is also a fantastic news source, and a greatly productive way to pass ten to fifteen minutes. It gives you the ability to follow companies and firms, who are always posting stories about their latest news, cases, deals and opinions on other events in the news. There are always articles waiting in your feed, that you can read through when you have a little time to spare, whilst also learning about a firm that you are interested – it could come in very handy when writing applications or when being interviewed.
? Quizlet – free
Think flashcards for your phone. This is one of the better-known apps and for good reason. I absolutely love it. Personally, I mainly use it for cases, using the standard flashcard flip feature, but it offers a multitude of different ways to learn the information on your cards. What makes this even better though, is that people can make their flashcard sets public, meaning that you don’t have to spend all evening making virtual EU law case card, because someone else will have already done it for you. It’s a great and fun way to test and consolidate your knowledge wherever you, even if you only have, say, two minutes spare.
? Duolingo – free
Duolingo is something I’ve kind of dipped in and out off, but is nonetheless a super productive way to spend ten minutes. Duolingo allows you to start learning a new language, through interactive and fun learning and tests. The choice of languages in incredible and there’s definitely something for everyone. The best part is, though, that the activities are not long, nor too hard, but challenging enough to keep you engaged and keep your brain working. Also, if you don’t fancy learning starting a new topic, you can use two or three minutes to use a fun game and test yourself on something you’ve already covered. Whilst Duolingo won’t give you a recognized certificate in another language, it can give you a working proficiency, and if you can demonstrate this to an employer, or even just use when needed, it can be a major asset in your belt when it comes to securing a training contract. Alternatively, Duolingo could cover the groundwork for you to then decide to take a recognized qualification in whichever language you chose to learn. This app also has ‘streaks’, except this is a streak of your ability to retain and converse in a new language, rather than a streak of your ability to send a blank snapchat with the word ‘streaks’ in the middle. Why pay £130 for University language classes, on top of the 9k, when this app lets you learn them for free
?? Peak – free + optional memberships: 34.99 1 year
Peak Brain Training has to be one of my favourite apps of all time, and I definitely think it has made a difference to me, my mind and my learning. It gives you a range of games and tasks to work on different aspects of your brain, such as memory, retention, problem-solving etc, and just overall works to ensure your brain is functioning a full performance. In turn, this just allows you to work and understand your course way more easily and do away with any moments of apathy or procrastination.
To unlock a plethora of more games and training features you can pay £34.99 for one year, which I did without hesitation, and I think that it is definitely worth it.
? Audible – Basic Plan: £7.99 p/m
Finding time to read can be difficult, though not impossible when studying law. But beyond this, even if you find the time, the question arises of if you even want to. You’ve probably spent your day reading articles and journals and textbooks and cases – and the last thing you want to do it look at more words. But that shouldn’t mean that you stop enjoying both the entertainment value and knowledge that books can offer you. Another problem with books is that you need a space to read, time to commit to a chapter, and the added weight of carrying a book around with you. Audible is a great platform that solves all of these in one simple solution: audiobooks. Easy to take around on your phone with you, you can listen to them anywhere at any time. Whether it’s when walking to uni, on the bus or waiting for a lecture to begin, it offers and quick and seamless way enjoy books, with the ability to simply pause and then pick up again where you left off. I’ve been loving it so much recently – I usually put it on when I’m cleaning my room or when I’m cooking, allowing me to listen to something different to whatever I read in the evening when I stop working. Their pricing structure is also really great too, starting at £7.99 for 1 audiobook a month. I’ve personally opted for the £69.99 annual subscription that allows me 12 books in a year and works out £25 cheaper than the monthly price.
? 2048 – free
Finally, I thought I’d throw this one in here as a more fun option. More a game than an education/productivity app, it still requires you to use your Brain. It’s a maths based app, and even if you hate maths, like myself, I can assure you that you will find this incredibly addicting. I don’t really know how to describe, but the aim is to combine two of the same number and keep doing to get to the number 2048 – of course it’s not straightforwards; you’re working in grid with other numbers, but it can be done – and trust me when I say you’ll sit there for hours until you’ve done it.