Try this productivity filter
Instagram announced Wednesday that its users under 25 spend an average of more than 32 minutes a day using the app. The 25-and-up crowd shows only slightly more restraint, spending more than 24 minutes a day. Those are stellar stats for Instagram — the company chalks some of the success up to its Snapchat ripoff, Stories, which debuted one year ago — but depressing news for humanity.
People who spend time double-tapping friends’ baby photos, perusing potential brunch filters or creeping on exes’ vacation snaps are likely on Instagram for three basic reasons, according to productivity expert Penny Zenker: they’re bored, they want to be inspired or they want to connect.
But there’s no need to trap yourself in that perpetual state of app-based agony. Here are five alternatives — each doable within 32 minutes, give or take — that will make you less bored, more inspired and better connected.
Get lost in a podcast. Fine, you don’t really “do” podcasts. But plenty are worth your half hour: Keep up with the week’s wild news cycle with the New York Times’ “The Daily.” Laugh with bonus episodes of “2 Dope Queens,” a standup show hosted by “Daily Show” alumna Jessica Williams and comedian Phoebe Robinson. Learn from “Stuff You Should Know” why we can’t find Amelia Earhart and whether victims of decapitation stay conscious.
Listen to 1/106th of “Infinite Jest” on Audible. You were never going to slog through the late David Foster Wallace’s magnum opus — few souls have — so you may as well have it read to you. The unabridged audiobook runs 56 hours and 19 minutes, which is a total breeze after you divide it into 105.6 segments of 32 minutes each.
Chip away at a book. Of course, you should actually read, too. We suggest the riveting Watergate chronicle “All the President’s Men” by crack reporting duo Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein — 45 years after the break-in that ultimately brought down a president. The 368-page paperback takes the average reader about five hours and 12 minutes, per the site How Long to Read, which you can wrap in fewer than 10 sittings. Trust us: It’s better than the movie.
Whip up a 30-minute meal. Super nachos, bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles, linguini with clam sauce — Rachael Ray and her Food Network field guides are here to keep you off the ’gram.
Meditate. The scientific benefits of meditation are well-documented and plentiful, and probably the polar opposite of what you’ll find on Instagram: increased focus, lower anxiety and reduced blood pressure, to name a few. Bliss out with guided meditation tracks from the apps Headspace (free for basics) or Buddhify ($4.99 for iOS, $2.99 for Android). If you doze off, that’s OK: A 32-minute power nap has its own perks.
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