Bet you didn’t realise 1/3 of under-30s spend over three hours a day on social media. Yes, that’s right, a third of us now spend 1/8th of our life on Facebook, SnapChat, Twitter, Instagram and the rest. Just imagine what we could achieve if we dedicated at least some of that time to slightly more constructive gadget-powered activities.
With so many language apps available, and many of them free, there’s no excuse. Duolingo, Michel Thomas, Smigin, Rosetta Stone, Memrise… download one of these bad boys and you’ll be bilingual in no time, or at least in time for next summer’s trip. If that seems too much like school, you could always learn to speak Spanish like a drug lord, using dialogue from the Netflix series Narcos, courtesy of language app Babbel. Let’s go, amigos.
Become a wine buff
If you’ve drunk enough of it over the years to know you love the stuff, but you don’t really know your Liebfraumilch from your Châteauneuf-du-Pape, help is at hand. Download Hello Vino and access tons of interesting wine facts to impress your fellow oenophiles. Or take a snap of any bottle you happen to have in your house and Vivino will give you the vineyard information, customer reviews and ideal food pairings. Cheers!
Tackle War & Peace
If you haven’t read a book since the Internet began, there are plenty of great apps like Kindle and Good Reads to reawaken the bookworm within. If you don’t like reading, you can always listen instead. Audiobooks has thousands of audio books to download and keep you company on your daily commute.
Become a domestic god[dess]
When the delivery guy hands over your food and says, “See you tomorrow” it’s time to learn to cook. Let’s start with the basics: Boiled Egg Timer is an app that helps you cook the perfect egg, based on its size and how well done you want it to be. When you’ve mastered that, move on to The Photo Cookbook, another app perfect for the novice cook. With clear, simple recipes and step-by-step to-scale photos, you’ll never have to wonder whose thumb a ‘thumb-sized piece of ginger’ refers to again.
Sort your life out
If you’re allergic to exercise then there are apps out there to help. Pact is particularly clever, using real money as a motivator. Set your fitness goals, stick to them and you get a cash reward. Fail and you have to pay out to more dedicated members who stuck to their goals. If you’re serious about running or cycling then Strava allows you to track your performance, set goals and see daily progress. If you’re less serious try Zombies Run, an immersive audio app that turns running into such a terrifying game, you won’t even notice that you’re exercising.
Find your inner peace
Ever get trolley rage in the supermarket? If so, you should probably download Headspace, a meditation app that promises to improve your mood and stress levels in just 10 minutes a day. If you’re one of those distractible types who vows to get on with work/dinner/cleaning as soon as you’ve checked your social feeds, only to find an hour has passed, check out HVRGLX. All you have to do is set how long you’d like to focus for and your screen will go blank. When the time is up, an alert will tell you when you can use your phone again.
Learn to code
Become a pub quiz genius
This sounds like hard work, but there are some great podcasts out there to make you instantly smarter. For wordsmiths, The Allusionist is a fascinating fortnightly podcast about language and etymology. Stuff You Missed in History Class offers exactly what it promises, covering pretty much everything that’s happened in the world, ever. Planet Money will help you understand those tricky and topical economic issues such as Brexit, while The Middle East Week podcast will help you get to grips with some of the world’s most controversial issues.
So there you have it. Use your smartphone or tablet wisely and you’ll be a bilingual, well-balanced, totally ripped, intellectual oenophile in no time.