How Always-There Entertainment Has Revolutionized Our Lives

The days of having to watch just one movie on the plane along with every other passenger or of desperate attempts to entertain children with word games and other distractions on long car drives are gone. Today, there are entertainment options for just about everyone while doing just about everything. The landscape for people on the move has changed enormously over 20 years. From working to exercising to traveling, you never have to be without a steady stream of movies, games, music and more.


Some types of work require a certain amount of cognitive attention. However, not everyone prefers absolute quiet in order to be productive, as evidenced by the large number of people who use coffee shops and other public places as a second office. With remote work on the rise, managers increasingly have little control over the environments their employees are in. While managers might not warm to the idea of ​​employees streaming a movie during business hours, some people actually are able to concentrate better with music or similar input. Even in the days before working from home or other locations was widespread, teachers who graded student papers in front of the TV or anyone who ever brought work home can attest to the power of a mild but not-too-interesting distraction to keep them on track.

However, the place where the portability factor of entertainment has been genuinely helpful is for employees whose work is generally physical and monotonous. When permitted, podcasts, music or movies can help pass the time and may even increase productivity. Even for professional drivers, these are increasingly available. Some fleet managers have offered perks such as satellite radio subscriptions to their best drivers, but as entertainment options become standard across all vehicles, they may also need to grapple with the impact on safety. One way to address this is with a broader safety, monitoring and compliance program. GPS systems offer a growing array of savings and safety enhancements and solutions that can solve challenges for managers. Employers in other industries will also need to consider that these entertainment distractions are here to stay and figure out how to integrate them into a productive workplace.


Just a decade or two ago, when you went to the gym, you were stuck with whatever channel the TV was turned to, the music piped through speakers there or your own music. The particularly ambitious might bring an audio book. Today, in addition to being able to download as many movies or TV series as you want, there is a huge amount of gamification whether you want to work out at home and work out in front of a screen or you want to hit the road. Apps have integrated workouts into many different types of games to help get you more motivated and keep you entertained at the same time.


From a trip to the grocery store to the daily commute to intercontinental flights and more, the many entertainment options available mean that you can catch up on your favorite binge-watch or mainline hours of your favorite podcast. If you are planning a road trip and grew up on Gameboys or other handheld devices, today there’s a huge array of games you can take on the road with you. And long car trips no longer have to be long torturous stretches of boredom for kids, who can watch all the movies they want in the back seat. Audio books have been with us for a long time, but now you have access to just about everything that’s been written on audio via your phone or any other internet-connected device. And e-readers mean that if you’re still an old-fashioned book lover, you can bring your whole library with you. This can be especially welcome if you’re an avid hiker or backpacker since you don’t have to worry about weight.

power down

Of course, there’s also a joy to be found in powering the devices down now and again and picking up a book, writing a letter or just being alone with your thoughts. If you feel as though you’re always harried and never have a moment to yourself, you might want to try stepping back from the constant entertainment and seeing what happens if you just let your mind wander and even get a little bored. The huge array of options will still be there for you when you’re ready, and you’ll appreciate them even more.

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