Apps to Help You Maximise Your Downtime and Minimise Loss of Brain Cells

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The mark of a busy person is the inability to decide what to do with their downtime due to the infrequency of its occurrence. I myself feel like I waste precious time tapping away at variously-sized screens looking up pointless, mind-numbing videos, laughing at the latest red-hot memes, or casually stalking other people's fast-paced lifestyles. Don't get me wrong — the digital age has done wonders for my adventurous soul and curious mind, but I catch myself being entertained by veritable stupidity on a daily basis. If you find yourself in a similar situation to me and can't seem to detach from the world we live in via phones, I've got a few suggestions to optimise your time!

 

The Apps:

(Best read singing Mambo No. 5 in your head)

(NB: Difference in App Stores may incur different charges but all should be available for Apple and Android)

 

Monument Valley

Not just a game, but also a veritable artwork. At its core, Monument Valley is a game based on strategy and drawing on the connections between evolving characters. Deeper than that, it becomes a melodic soundscape full of flexible architecture and wondrous geometry. It appeases the sense of sight so profoundly that you find yourself flying through levels within no time, and even rewinding to replay your favourites. Well done ustwo games for tangibly designing my dreams.

 

Good On You

Kill two birds with one stone with this brilliantly effective ethical fashion guide. This app allows you to browse their pre-organised categories of clothing and accessories or, if you have some favourite shops, you can search according to brand, all in an effort to create a comprehensive app that helps inform conscious consumerism. With a few clicks, you can have a positive impact on the environment, on animals and toward our fellow humans. There are also handy blog entries on the home page that are informative, interesting reads for those trying to live a more ethical lifestyle.

 

har.mo.ny

An A-Type's dream. Visual stunning and extremely colourful. This face-paced puzzle app will have you concentrating in small doses, trying to adjust multiple squares into perfectly symmetrical rows.

 

Yoga Studio

So perhaps this app isn’t the most accessible on your morning commute, but it does lend itself to the busier person looking to be constructive with their limited time. This easy-to-navigate app has various classes to suit your skill set as a Yoga Practitioner, as well as categorising the routines according to certain positions or aspects you wish to improve upon. The instructions themselves come in both visual and textual forms to cater for every type of learner, and it helps you track your practice as you progress further through hours of yoga. If you are like me and have no patience for traditional modes of exercise, you may just find this to be the perfect fit.

 

Coffitivity

Possibly the most trivial addition on the list. Simply put, if you are the type of person who enjoys discovering new coffee venues or is addicted to all things caffeine related, this is the app for you. Mimic the ambience by switching through different sound settings. Close your eyes on the train and take a sip of that instant brew out of your reusable coffee mug, thinking of barista-made goodness. My suggestion? Put it on while studying, it’ll make you feel like you are far away from the stresses of essay writing.

(Editor's Note: Not trivial at all! According to ~science~, 70 decibels is the prime level of noise to work productively in — which just so happens to be around the same noise level as a coffee shop!)

 

Paper by Fifty Three

Release your inner artist on the afternoon commute home. The three sections, Sketches, Paper Tools and Project, allow you to practice using the different mediums as well as create your own vision of art. The auto-save setting allows you to leave your masterpiece and come back whenever the feeling strikes!

 

Smiling Mind

A little bit of self-love goes a long way and this app makes it happen through an important medium. Centred on what is known as “mindfulness meditation”, this Aussie non-for-profit endeavours to teach people pre-emptive skills in order to individually control their mental health. One of their primary visions is to see “mindfulness meditation” on the Australian National Curriculum. There are so many different programs catered to different age groups, contexts, social situations and time frames. A personal favourite is the “Workplace” program, which consists of seven modules aiming to dramatically reduce work-induced stress through various meditative exercises. Don’t forget your mental health people — it's just as important as your physicality (if not more so)!

 

Google Arts and Culture

A recent trend in app downloads (well, at least with my colleagues at the Powerhouse Museum). Its primary appeal is cemented in the “Search with your Selfie” activity in which you take a live selfie and, using facial recognition technology, they calculate a close match of a face within a painting on their database. It is such a silly exercise but can provide you with a fit of giggles. Another favourite feature it has is the “Nearby” setting, where it using your location services to provide a shortlist of art exhibitions close by — perfect for days off or date ideas. Hours of browsing for the arty types.

 

Hopefully the use of these apps result in a happier, more engaged YOU! Let us know your favourites in the comments.

 

Caitlin Lawler

Sydney, NSW, 2000

Caitlin is an undergraduate Ancient History student and recent coffee person. When free time is available, she usually stresses about being spontaneous, tries to buy up all the versions of A Little Prince and engages in deep laughter. She fancies herself as an archaeologist-in-training and can't wait to travel the globe.