Whatever happened to spontaneity? Remember when you used to wake up and say, “What do I want to do today?” Now, we wake up and look to our phones for a directive. We check the weather app to see what we should wear, we check our email to tell us what we should do.

As designer James Victore writes in our new 99U book:

We have become so trusting of technology that we have lost faith in ourselves and our born instincts. There are still parts of life that we do not need to “better” with technology. It’s important to understand that you are smarter than your smartphone. To paraphrase, there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your Google. Mistakes are a part of life and often the path to profound new insights—so why try to remove them completely? Getting lost while driving or visiting a new city used to be an adventure and a good story. Now we just follow the GPS.

To “know thyself” is hard work. Harder still is to believe that you, with all your flaws, are enough—without checking in, tweeting an update, or sharing a photo as proof of your existence for the approval of your 719 followers. A healthy relationship with your devices is all about taking ownership of your time and making an investment in your life. I’m not calling for any radical, neo-Luddite movement here. Carving out time for yourself is as easy as doing one thing. Walk your dog. Stroll your baby. Go on a date—without your handheld holding your hand.

This is an excerpt from Manage Your Day-to-Day, the new book from 99U, with contributions from James Victore, Gretchen Rubin, Scott Belsky, Seth Godin, Stefan Sagmeister, and many more.

Illustration courtesy of James Victore.

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