Smartphones and their ilk are often blamed for making us dumber and shortening our attention spans. It’s easy to get distracted by those bleeping, vibrating and blinking screens, but the technology itself isn’t to blame for any procrastination it unwittingly causes. Mobile technology has made advances in all areas of daily living and industry, and when used correctly, it’s a tool that can improve your life for the better. Today’s smartphones, specifically, are powerful minicomputers, and there are so many brilliant ways that you can put them to good use. So, the next time you find yourself mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, take a second to remind yourself of some of those ways.

Become a Better Driver

While we would never advocate using your smartphone when driving, there are quite a few useful driving apps out there that can help you become a better driver before you switch on the engine, including:

  • SafeDrive – Once installed on your smartphone, this neat little app rewards you for driving safely and ignoring your phone. When you hit 6mph, the app pretty much locks your phone — the only way you can get into it is by pressing the “Release” button (or switching off the engine) — and give you points for every journey you make keeping it locked. You can spend these points in the SafeDrive Marketplace. Of course, if you press the Release button during a journey, any points you’ve accrued up until then are wiped out.
  • DriveWell – Want to improve your driving skills? DriveWell is the app that you need to install. This free app (iOS and Android) measures and monitors all aspects of your driving, including hard brakes, sharp cornering, acceleration and speeding. It will even record the number of times you interact with your phone when driving, generating a personalized “safety score,” which uploads to a leader board that you can share with colleagues, friends and family.

Game on the Go

You may already play games like Candy Crush, Tetris or Angry Birds on your smartphone, but did you know you could play some exciting casino games on the go, too? There are some remarkable gaming apps available for both iOS and Android such as roulette apps from top online platforms, which pay out real money prizes. You can even play card games like poker on your smartphone as well as some fascinating variations on slots and fruit machine games.

If casino gaming isn’t your thing, or you want to branch out, don’t worry, you can still get in on the mobile gaming action by streaming and playing video game apps on your mobile device. More and more console-quality games release into the mobile sphere all the time, which have nothing to do with collecting jewels and everything to do with providing a high-quality gaming experience on the small screen. Fortnite, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds Mobile, Minecraft and the ubiquitous Pokémon GO are some of the top video games that you can download as apps for both iOS and Android devices.

Get Productive

Far from decreasing your productivity levels, with only a couple of clicks in the App Store or Google Play, you can transform your smartphone into your productivity’s best friend! Take a look at your home screen right now. If it’s filled with the usual social media suspects (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, et al.), make some space for some genius apps that help you get more stuff done and even learn something new in the process. Installing Circa keeps you up-to-date about current events, Todoist is probably the best free organization and to-do list app on the market right now, Trello helps you manage everything from family projects to business assignments, and Duolingo assists you in brushing up on your foreign language skills.

If you use an Android smartphone, there’s a neat hack you can try that helps you speed through your voicemails (iOS users can try it too, but they’ll have to download the Google Voice app first). Once activated, Google Voice transcribes all your voicemails and converts them into Gmail or texts automatically, making it much easier to prioritize and manage them.

If you’re an iPhone user who’s a committed text and walker and nobody is ever going to be able to encourage you to do otherwise, Type n Walk is a nifty app that utilizes the front-facing camera on your smartphone to give you a view of the street ahead as you type. No more excuses for bumping into your fellow pedestrians from now on!