If you’re not making any progress on your reading list, read more using the best apps and technology.

Maybe you’ve been following along with our reading series. Maybe you’ve gone through all the benefits of reading and maybe you’ve even signed up for our reading challenge. But maybe you’re struggling to get those books read because you can’t find the time or you can’t get to the library or buying books isn’t in your budget right now. And maybe it’s making you not want to read.

That’s not cool. Not cool at all.

Fortunately for you, there’s a ton of apps that you can add right to your smartphone or tablet that give you access to all the books you can want, making it easier for you to find and take your books with you. Best of all? Most of them are free!

Here are some of my favorites:

Kindle. If you want the benefits of a Kindle without buying one (or if you’re like me, you want one but don’t want another device to keep track of), all you have to do is download the app to your phone or tablet. It’s free and you get most the perks of owning a Kindle (for instance, you can’t access the Kindle lending library or Amazon store directly from the app. At least I can’t. If you know how to do this, please share your tricks.)

Flipster. This is a free library app for magazines. It’s great if you want to read magazines but don’t want to commit to any subscriptions. You can’t get all the magazines but you can get a lot and there’s a ton of variety. All you need is a library card.

Overdrive. Another free library app but this one is for books. You can access your library’s entire eBook catalog (pro tip: sometimes the wait for an eBook, especially a new or popular book, is shorter) and not only that, you can add books from places like Project Gutenberg (more about that in a minute) and you can read books directly on the app. Again, all you need is a library card. P.S., you can also get audiobooks via Overdrive.

Project Gutenberg. An online database of free eBooks that have expired US copyright protections. That means not only can you read them for free, you can use the material in them as you see fit. A word of caution: double check to make sure the book you’re reading has an expired copyright as there are some with protections.

BookBub. A daily deals site exclusively for eBooks. Books range from obscure to popular, there’s a range of genres, and there are often free books available.

Serial Reader. Not to be confused with the incredible podcast, Serial Reader is an app that helps you read classics in 20 minutes a day. It’s perfect for people who want to dive into classic literature but don’t have a ton of time each day.

Litsy. A hybrid of Instagram and Goodreads, and it’s exclusively devoted to bookish things so if you find yourself scrolling through IG just for book pictures or reviews, or for ideas on what books to read, get on Litsy stat.

NetGalley. THE source for ARCs. They’re free, they’re eBooks, and the only thing you need to do is review the book somewhere. You won’t always get all the books you request but you will get most of them. The best part is finding ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) of books by popular authors and getting to read them before all your friends.

iBooks. If you have an iPhone, you don’t even need anything else because you have a bookstore and reading app built into your phone! If you use your library app or Overdrive or any of the other ones listed, you can have the book delivered right to your phone in ePub format for easy iPhone reading.

Google Play Books. Similar to iBooks but I’m not sure if it comes as a default on Androids. If not, you can simply download it and access the millions of books in the Google library.

For those who like audiobooks, there’s Audible. However, it’s not included on the list because not only is there a membership fee, you have to pay for the audiobooks. Same for Kindle Unlimited. You pay a monthly fee ($9.99) but unlike Audible, you can download and read all the books you want without an additional cost.

Now that you have your books literally at your fingertips, it’s up to you to carve out the time to use them. My favorite tip? Every time you feel the urge to open Facebook, open your reading app instead. Before you know it, you’ll be through one book and onto the next!

What apps do you use to keep up with your reading? If you use any of the above, which are your favorites?

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Who’s in charge? Your devices, or you? It’s time to show your technology who’s boss.

My name is John and I’m a tech junkie.

Sure, I rationalize my tech-addiction by telling myself that I can stop whenever I want. I tell others that, as a predominantly online entrepreneur, I must constantly be connected to be effective. The fact is, I get anxious when I’m not close to my phone or computer.

I tell others that, as a predominantly online entrepreneur, I must constantly be connected to be effective. The fact is, I get anxious when I’m not close to my phone or computer.

The fact is, I get anxious when I’m not close to my phone or computer.

Because I’m predominantly an online entrepreneur, my tech addiction is worse. It’s so easy to justify wasted hours online.

When I go to Twitter or Facebook to do my job, I can easily get sucked into the vortex of social media. A half hour passes before I realize I wasted a bunch of time seeing the awesome lives my friends, colleagues, and family memebrs curate for the world. The line between social media work and social media play is easily blurred.

I know I’m not alone.

Medical terms that were non-existent even five years ago are ubiquitous today. There’s tech neck, phantom vibration syndrome, smartphone stress, and cell phone sickness — just to name a few.

Many of us admit our addiction, but most don’t do anything about it. We often laugh it off.

How do you know if technology is running (and ruining) your life?

When you can’t do dinner without looking at your phone.

When TV trays first came into America’s stores in 1953 and Swanson took TV dinners to the masses a year later, no one predicted that nightly family dinners would become a thing of the past.

Gone are regular human interaction, conversation, and debate. Maybe this is why the arts of conversation and sane debate are lost.

If a meal without technology feels like a “last meal,” you may have a problem.

When you say, “You do it, too!”

A favorite argument of tech addicts is, “You do it, too!”

This is called infraction equivalence. While it may be true that the accuser is also the accused, the opposite is likely true. It’s easy for us to see the bad behavior in others and not in ourselves.

John 8675309 says, “First remove the computer out of your own eye, then you can see clearly to remove the cell phone out of your brother’s eye.”

When you look at your phone before you look at your partner in the morning.

If you must satiate your tech fix before your caffeine fix, you may want to rethink your relation with information. A lot can happen in the world when you’re “lights-out,” but it’s not important enough to rob you of the few remaining intimate or quiet hours of your day.

When you call in sick because 15 seconds isn’t long enough to make better decisions.

Binge watching got even easier when streaming services began automatically starting the next episode of my favorite shows. Before I know it, it’ll be hours past my bedtime before I say it’s time for bed.

If you justify playing hooky from work the next day because the TV makes bad decisions for you, it’s time to disconnect and make adult decisions on your own.

When it doesn’t happen if you don’t post it.

The Information Age technically didn’t start until about 1990. The TMI Age started in 2004 with Facebook, followed then by Snapchat, Instagram and too many social networks for any sane person to keep up with.

If you can’t do or think something without posting it online, you could be part of the problem. Do yourself (and the world) a favor and just live some experiences and keep some thoughts to yourself.

When you haven’t talked to your friend in months, but you know everything about them.

Technology is bringing us both closer together and farther apart. If you know every detail of your friend’s life, but haven’t talked with or been with them in years, you’re missing out on a major part of the human experience. You know, those human-to-human experiences.

Call your friend instead of texting. Spend time with your friend face-to-face rather than over Facetime.

When you can’t go a day without taking a picture.

There was a time when every aspect of our lives wasn’t photographed and the world existed just fine. In fact, pictures were novelties and expensive. If you can’t live your life without looking through a lens, you’re missing what exists in the periphery.

We benefit more from being in the moment than merely photographing it.

When you miss bills, but don’t miss video game releases.

When technology becomes more important than your responsibilities, you may have a problem. If you know the release dates of your favorite game better than your children’s birthdays, or if you can list the name of reality stars but not our presidents, it’s time to put the joystick down.

Virtual reality is fun, but you know what’s also fun? Reality.

When you ask your partner to cut back on necessities, but you can’t cut back on NFL Ticket or Amazon Prime.

The above was about giving up responsibilities for the sake of technology. When you migrate from giving up responsibilities to giving up necessities, you’ve reached a whole new level of tech addiction. This is exacerbated when you ask others to sacrifice and don’t make equitable sacrifices for yourself.

Successful people do more of what adds value to their lives and less of what doesn’t. Technology does add value when used appropriately. But it can also devalue and ruin our lives if we let it take over.

Let technology be the tool rather than you.

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It’s the end of an era. Now you have to decide how to respond on social media.

Breaking up used to be so much simpler.

While the heartbreak never changes, the fallout of a nasty separation didn’t used to be so toxic. When relationships fell apart, it was entirely possible to move on without frequent reminders of what you once had.

Those days are loooooooooooong gone.

With the relatively recent rise of social media as a primary form of communication, the private has become public. Breakups are now events witnessed by everyone in your news feed, and any semblance of a dignified separation can be shattered by a single insensitive comment on Instagram.

So how can you move on without embarrassing yourself or your ex on the internet? How do you navigate the waters of breakup etiquette in this new digital landscape?

Avoid vaguebooking.

It’s tempting to spill your guts on social media after you’ve been dumped. Usually, that takes the form of an indirect, passive-aggressive message about loss, love, and life. But don’t think vagueness is fooling anyone. All your friends know who those Taylor Swift lyrics are referring to.

It will make you look desperate and pathetic if you publicize you broken heart all over the internet. Solution? Buy a journal and write in it every time you’re tempted to go public with those feelings.

Journal therapy can decrease anxiety, depression, and grief, so it can likely help you mend. Schedule a daily time to write down your thoughts, or keep a notebook around you when you’re tempted to write a melodramatic novel on Facebook.

Don’t delete your photos.

If you’ve spent enough time with someone, you likely have proof of your relationship all over Facebook. You may be tempted to remove all that evidence — especially if you’re angry about being dumped.

Don’t do that.

At some point, when you feel less bitter, you may want to look at those photos and even remember them fondly. No one stays a jilted lover forever, and you may be grateful for your past relationships when you see where they’ve led you.

Plus, deleting photos shows you’re not prepared to handle the breakup in a mature way. If you’ve tagged other people besides your ex in the photos, they may be bummed to find out their memories are gone too.

Abstain from social media altogether.

How to Handle Breakup on Social Media

Spending time on social media is not the answer any time you’re feeling emotional. Studies indicate that social media use can cause people to crave attention and seek it in unhealthy ways.

Try detaching from your phone and temporarily deleting your social apps. Seeing happy couples on Instagram might fuel jealousy. Finding out your ex has already moved on through Facebook is even worse.

You don’t have to give up your phone. You can use apps like Duolingo to brush up on your Spanish or Headspace to practice meditating. New habits will help you move on, and focusing on personal improvement can help you come out the other side a better person.

If you’re having trouble staying away, use extensions such as StayFocusd or Simple Blocker to limit how much time you can spend on social media. Other apps like BreakFree Cell Phone Addiction will send an alert when you’ve been on your phone too long.

Ignore your ex.

Everyone loves to Facebook and Instagram stalk, and there’s no better subject than a recent ex. When you start stalking, it can be impossible to stop. If your ex is active on social, you’ll likely find photos of them having fun, enjoying their new single status or, even worse, dating someone else.

I used to spend hours looking up ex-boyfriends on social after getting dumped. Trust me: I wish I could take back that time. I would have found out when they’d moved on anyway, and I could have been doing something healthy or productive instead.

Looking up your ex on social is an exercise in masochism. It won’t help you move on.

Looking up your ex on social is an exercise in masochism. It won't help you move on.Click To Tweet

Delete personal comments off your page.

Everyone has a nosy aunt who loves to comment on any and every event in their life. It may not even occur to her that when she posts, “Sorry to hear you and Adam broke up!” everyone — including Adam — can see it.

If you see comments like that, delete them and message that individual privately. They may not realize what they’re doing and assume it’s like sending you a personal email. Be polite, but firmly explain why it’s not appropriate to make those statements on a public forum.

We’re all trying to navigate the new media landscape the best we can, but it can be hard for some people to discern what’s appropriate and what’s not. Setting clear boundaries for what you allow for discussion publicly makes it easier for everyone involved.

If you’ve broken up with someone recently, how did you deal with it on social media?

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Does your phone run your life? Peel it off of your face and start engaging in the world around you.

Everywhere I go, I have my phone.

When I don’t have my phone I feel stressed. What if I miss something?

I like to point to the time I missed a call from my son to pick him up due to illness as the reason I’m obsessed with keeping my phone nearby. But let’s be honest: most of us are just addicted.

What you do — and seeing who acknowledges you — on social media is addictive. When you see the likes, the messages, the replies, and all the signs that someone sees what you’re doing (and perhaps approves?), the rewards centers in your brain trigger. In fact, your addiction to your mobile phone is probably due, in part, to the fact that you can enjoy a reward whenever you want just by checking your social media.

And it really can be addicting, with the brain patterns of compulsive social media use remarkably similar to the brain patterns of drug addicts.

It’s not just about the addiction, though. I noticed that I experience life better when I’m not totally attached to my phone. Moving away from the phone as my default allows me to experience life more fully.

Now that I’m making a conscious effort to step away from the phone, including time to unplug on the weekends and evenings and to put my phone in DND mode at night (with the exceptions of my parents, my son, and my ex), my life has improved dramatically.

Here are 5 good reasons to unplug at least some of the time:

1. Boost your creativity.

When you’re constantly consuming media, you aren’t creating anything. And you don’t have to be creative all the time. I specialize in writing uncreative non-fiction. My attempts at fiction suck. But I still take time to try my hand at creative efforts, including music and sad attempts at fiction. I’ve even started adult coloring. And I never really liked coloring. I also crochet, and I’m useless at anything more complicated than a scarf. But I find these efforts oddly satisfying.

Creativity is a process. Our creative “muscles” can strengthen or weaken. When all you do is consume, consume, consume, your creative muscles atrophy. If you want to be more creative, put the phone down, and work on something else. You might be surprised at how the time flies, and at how you are less bored than you could have imagined.

2. Feel better about yourself.

Constantly checking your phone and being on Facebook can actually make you feel bad about yourself, and trigger feelings of envy. The problem is that you compare yourself with how others present themselves online.

Spend some time away from your phone and put things into perspective. Recognize that there are some pretty great things about your life. It’s hard to do that when you’re obsessed with everyone else’s life.

3. Stillness is good for you.

5 Reasons to Stop Letting Your Phone Ruin Your Life

Even if you aren’t using your phone for Facebook all the time, it can still cause problems. Are you constantly playing games? Do you check your phone, even if you don’t have messages?

In a world where distraction and stimulation are all around, stillness is falling by the wayside. However, stillness can be beneficial. Do you ever just sit, without the need to accomplish anything? We consider boredom as the worst thing ever, but the truth is that our bodies need to recharge.

Put the phone away and sit in stillness. Meditation can help with this. You can even benefit from better sleep if you stop playing games or checking your email or reading on your phone or doing whatever it is you do before bed.

Stop letting your phone control your life, take in a little extra stillness, and unplug a couple hours before bed, and you might be surprised at how much you better you feel about everything in your life.

Take back control of your time.

Who’s in charge? You, or your phone? Be honest. Do you have to answer every text immediately. Do you feel frazzled because there’s always a notification for a new email calling off your attention?

You don’t have to let your phone manage your life. You don’t have to answer every call or text immediately. Turn off the push notifications on your phone. That way, you won’t be distracted by feeling that you have all these things to do because Instagram or Facebook or your email are always intruding on your time.

Just turning off my push notifications changed how I feel about things. My son has his own text and phone alert tones and if I’m in the middle of something, I ignore the phone unless it’s my son. It was hard at first, but I find it empowering now.

Today, we expect instant responses from everyone, and we think we have to respond instantly as well. That’s just not true. You can control your time. You don’t have to let your phone run everything.

Experience life.

When I attended my son’s first fencing tournament, I was so engrossed that I didn’t take a single picture. At first, I felt bad, but then I realized that I had paid better attention to him because I wasn’t fumbling around with my phone.

I don’t record recital performances, either.

The truth is that life doesn’t look the same when viewed through the phone. The phone gets in the way. I like taking pictures. I like having them. But I try to get it out of the way at the beginning of any event so that I can fully experience it going forward.

There’s a lot going on around you, and amazing people to connect with. But when you let your phone run your life, whether you are constantly checking for messages or trying to accomplish something in Bejeweled, you really are missing out.

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Take any relationship to the next level by ditching the device and communicating deeply instead.

We need other people in our lives. Your crew is a big part of your emotional health. If your device is getting all the attention you should be giving to your friends and family or if you feel like you have a lot of acquaintances but no real friends, you might want to think about how you can create closer ties with the people in your life.

Our social interactions make us happier, and developing deep, meaningful relationships with people lead to feeling support and even greater happiness. This doesn’t mean that you need to try to become besties with everyone you meet. But you can work to create deeper relationships with a few people you really enjoy being around. (As an introvert, I am more comfortable when I limit the number of deep friendships I have.)

Reduce textual intimacy.

Your first step is to stop using text as much and actually connect in person — or at least via voice. I love texting as much as the next person. It’s easy and you can avoid a person or put them off. Plus, you can respond slower, reviewing your words before firing off.

While all of this is great, the reality is that texting has made it easier to avoid people and their emotions. Want to break up with someone? Send a text and block their number. You can avoid the emotional consequences. Telling your bestie something difficult? Texting means you may have the guts to say something hurtful that you would never say to someone’s face.

Rather than relying on texting (or Facebook messaging) to keep in touch, make sure to spend some time talking on the phone, using Skype, or seeing each other in person. Textual relations might be easier to manage, but that distance means that you could be missing out on something harder, but worth it.

Listen.

No More Textual Relations: Develop Meaningful Connections: Listen

One of the issues with our soundbite culture is that we’re always looking for the next quip. On top of that, we often want our turn to talk. My 13-year-old son can barely contain himself when he has something to say, and that means he’s often busy trying to figure out what he will say next, without really listening to me.

Listening is one of the keys to meaningful relationships. It forces you to pay attention to the other person and usually results in boosting your empathy. Your buddy will appreciate your effort to listen, and you’ll have a willing ear for your own issues. Just the act of sharing these thoughts can help you develop meaningful relationships that go below the surface.

Laugh.

Laughter really is the best medicine. When you can laugh with (not at) someone, you are more likely to build stronger ties. Research indicates that laughter can foster an emotional connection and enhance positive feelings. If you can find some common things to laugh about, you are likely to have deeper relationships.

Don’t be so judgy.

We all have our unique quirks. If you’re constantly judging others for their issues, no one will want to hang with you. Plus, you’ll have a harder time seeing others’ good qualities. You can’t really understand someone and get to know him or her when you are too busy passing judgment.

Follow up with potential besties.

No More Textual Relations: Develop Meaningful Connections: Follow Up

It can feel vulnerable to put yourself out there and make a move. Whether you are inviting a friend to the movies, asking your brother to hang out with you, or trying to get with someone, following up can feel like defeat. You don’t want to look desperate.

If you like someone, and you want to be friends or more, put it on the line. Follow up. You’ll show your interest, and it might be the beginning of something really cool. Waiting and making excuses only means that you miss out on the potential for meaningful relationships.

Like yourself.

Before you can have a meaningful relationship with anyone, from your mom to your bae, you need to like yourself. Take the time to get to know who you are, and learn to feel confident in that. When you like yourself, you are less likely to use passive-aggressive tactics on others.

Deeper, happier relationships require effort and time. Put down the phone, make eye contact, and watch your relationships mature beyond textual intimacy.

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Your boss sees the photo of you partying too hard. Or she sees you rant about your job. You’re done.

The words you say, the pictures you post, and the memes you share have consequences.

Don’t be the guy or girl who gets fired or expelled for a stupid mistake you make on social media. You’ll just be next on the long list of people who didn’t realize that trouble awaits behind every ill-conceived post.

It is so easy for everything you do and say to be shared with the world. Forever. Permanently. There’s no going back to having private lives, now, so you just have to deal with it.

Remember when you thought Facebook was a safe place for you to just be yourself without parents, teachers, and bosses seeing what you’re up to? Well, social media sites are universal now. Everyone can see everything.

Even if you think your privacy settings prevent people from seeing what you’re up to, the real truth is that it doesn’t take much for anything you share in the strictest of confidence to be made public.

Here’s what happened to famous people who didn’t realize this. (Hint: they weren’t famous first.)

Craig Keefe, Justine Saccor, Ashley Payne

These folks became infamous after their incidents.

Craig Keefe

Craig Keefe was a nursing student at Central Lakes College in Minnesota when he used Facebook to make “private” derogatory comments about his classmates. The school nevertheless discovered the comments. Because that behavior violated the school’s code of professional conduct outlines in the student handbook, the student was expelled.

Keefe believed he had protection under the First Amendment to publish whatever he pleased as long as his comments didn’t slander anyone, but that was not upheld in court.

Justine Sacco

Justine Sacco made a bad decision when she, the lead public relations employee at an advertising company, posted a remark that could be considered racist on Twitter right before her airplane took off. Sacco may or may not have thought her “joke” was racist, but when her flight landed and internet service returned to her phone, she discovered she was fired for quipping about being safe from contracting AIDS in Africa because she was white.

As someone who worked in public relations, she should have known better. Good news for Justine. After only seven months of unemployment, she found another job in communications, working for the fantasy sports company facing legal troubles, FanDuel, according to Sacco’s LinkedIn profile.

Ashley Payne

Ashley Payne did nothing more than post a photo on Facebook holding a couple of drinks. Payne was a teacher, and even if she kept her profile private, a parent spotted the photograph, taken and posted several years prior, and informed the school’s administration.

She was asked to resign immediately, losing her job for a photograph that depicted nothing illegal. Even if she hadn’t touched alcohol since that photograph, because someone could find it, she had to face consequences.

You may think none of this is “fair.” Here’s what you can do.

Don’t use social media to complain about your job or school. If your boss hasn’t found you on Facebook yet, she will. And hiding posts from people isn’t the perfect solution because any vindictive “friend” can take a screenshot and make your post public.

Realize the public doesn’t have your “context.” If you joke about racism often, and your friends encourage you for some reason, don’t expect that anyone outside of your group will also consider your thoughts appealing. There are laws to protect employees from being fired for illegitimate reasons, but if your conduct in public reflects poorly on the company, you’ll quickly find yourself unemployed.

Remember you represent every group you’re a part of. When your actions become a news story, whether globally, nationally, or just within a group larger than your closest friends, you become a scapegoat for everything people don’t like.

If you’re a student at Yale making an insensitive comment about privilege, you now represent all Yale students to someone who’s not. You represent the Ivy League to anyone outside of that community. You also represent all college students to someone of a different age or life path. To someone outside the United States, you now represent all Americans.

It’s worse when you’re a member of a minority, especially if you are part of a group that isn’t well understood by others. If your skin color is dark, every mistake you make is seen as a failing of all those who share that skin color. If your sexual orientation or identity is not normative, despite diversity within your group, your attitudes could come to represent the entire group for those on the outside.

Does it matter what other people think of you, even if they’re ignorant? Yes. Once your behavior hits the news, your identity from an external perspective will be reduced to any identifying group that you could represent, regardless of the depth of your character. And sometimes you need to be respected by those people as an individual, and a capable, responsible person.

Yes, these consequences can stifle free expression throughout society. The world has opened up, and what used to be private communication now has the potential to get you in trouble. If you freak out when your boss finds your Twitter account or when your students find the Facebook account you use with your middle name instead of your last name, you may want to change some of your online behavior.

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You spend more time with your eyes on your phone than on the people you love. Save your relationships for living creatures.

I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her. The anticipation lasted months, and finally, she was on her way. Now, I had to be patient, and that was the difficult part. Her timing was unpredictable, through no fault of her own.

Not knowing the precise time she’d show up at my door, I was practically quivering. This was to be our first encounter, and all I could do was wait. My last one was no longer satisfying me, so I couldn’t wait for the future to arrive.

The doorbell rang, and I rushed to greet her. Grabbing her, I tossed her into my apartment, while being careful not to inflict any damage. With the door closed behind us, she was finally all mine.

I grinned.

I opened her right there in the living room, and finally held her in my arms. She was beautiful, and she would be constantly with me from that moment forward. My hands would remain on her throughout most of the day, every day. Every night she would be beside me.

And that’s how my Samsung Nexus 6P and I became an inseparable couple.

My girlfriend’s not happy about this new relationship. “Nexy” does get in the way. Often.

But my human companion has her own device she fondles as well, so this is a two-sided problem. Here’s what we’re going to do about it.

My partner noticed recently that when I’m writing or reading, my hands are usually on my device. Even if I’m not actively looking at the phone, I’ve got it in my hands, or it’s in my pocket. It’s touching me every waking hour of my life.

Maybe it’s the tactile warmth of active electronics that activated the pleasure receptors in my brain, or maybe it’s the security of holding onto something, anything. I am sure the manufacturers know all about the physical connection between a man or woman and his or her device, because they keep designing phones that are sleeker, more comfortable to touch, and more beautiful at which to longingly stare.

It’s almost as if they’re trying to sell even more of these devices. Don’t fall for that trick. Any relationship is sure to cost you money, but woo your lover, not your phone.

You have a stronger connection with your phone than you do with your partner because you see it more, touch it more, and interact with it more. Some devices even talk back to you with a “personality” all their own. (Siri’s creepy, right?)

So let’s get back to the point where our hours of staring, our longing gazes are for our intended, not our internet. Welcome to your new cellular plan.

Set aside time each day for purposeful disconnection. Thirty minutes a day away from the Internet is a good start until you alleviate the separation anxiety and don’t freak out from being out of touch for a very small time frame.

In this time, do something that doesn’t require technology on your part. Read a book! Write a story. Draw a picture. Think about your life.

Increase your separation time gradually. Eventually, see if you can go half your waking hours without your phone. Suddenly, the world is new! Nature once again exists, you can observe it with your eyes in person, and you can enjoy it.

Go see your friends. Socialization happens when everyone is actively involved in connecting — also known as talking and listening — with each other. Observe your friends. Count how many times each caresses his or her phone-companion.

Get some. Can you put the phone down long enough to have some extended physical and emotional time with your lover or anyone else? Forget the fact that you’re only together because you were both bored on your phones using Tinder. See if you can take your relationship to the next level — the “we don’t have to spend our limited time together sitting on the couch looking at nothing but our phones” level.

Look at each other! Touch each other! It’s so much more exciting than the boring comfort of holding your own device. Now you can explore each others’ devices.

If you know what I mean.

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