Life in the twenty-first century has become a series of swipes, scrolls, likes, comments, searches and clicks. Technology has morphed into so much more than a mere tool. It’s our coworker, our teacher, our friend and our advice-giver. We’ll google our symptoms before calling our doctor, and we may not know where we put our car keys, but chances are that our phone is no more than an arm’s length away.

Our phone is practically another limb, and it has become instinctive to reach for our magical little rectangles in moments of boredom or restlessness. It’s not that we wouldn’t enjoy another activity, it’s just that we aren’t sure what else we should be doing. We’re out of practice. So for anyone wanting to fight the itch to swipe and scroll, 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone (Workman Publishing) may just help you kick your tech habit.

Written by Barbara Ann Kipfer, author of the wildly popular 14,000 Things to Be Happy About, 5,203 Things to Do Instead of Looking at Your Phone is a timely, pocket-size and list-oriented book full of joyful, creative and lively things to do, all accompanied by charming illustrations. Offering thousands of opportunities to connect with the world offline by doing things that are fun, silly or even productive, this book is not about avoiding your phone entirely or living in a pre-tech way — it’s about finding a balance between technology and taking the time to step away from it every so often.

Containing activity ideas suitable for all ages, situations and environments, Kipfer’s book takes the guesswork out of unplugging:

Wanting fun, screenless ideas to occupy the kids? Throw a make-your-own-sundae party, tell ghost stories while toasting marshmallows or let them jump on the bed. Needing to fill a free afternoon alone at home? Create a bed or nook for your pet, organize your underwear drawer or illustrate an old journal. Looking to feel productive? Why not change out the air filter on your air conditioner or heating unit and balance your checkbook? Still unsure how you can put a little more good out into the world? Try feeding a stranger’s parking meter or donate an ant farm to a kindergarten class.

And for any person who, be it by choice or by obligation, is truly tied to the almighty phone, this book has got creative suggestions for you too: take an online IQ test, watch a video to learn how to tie different knots or delete an app that wastes your time and brings you no joy.

This book offers a guide to using devices with intention rather than as a distraction, helping you change your relationship with technology, reduce mindless screen time and enjoy life even when your phone is tucked away. And, hey, if you’re one of those rare people that has already achieved a healthy screen/life balance, maybe you’d enjoy adopting a tree and getting to know it. But if that idea doesn’t strike your fancy, well, Kipfer has 5,202 more where that came from.

Buy this book!

About Barbara Ann Kipfer:

Barbara Ann Kipfer is the author of 14,000 Things to Be Happy About (with 1.25 million copies in print). She has written eighty other books and calendars spanning a wide variety of themes and subjects, including thesauri and dictionaries, trivia and question books, archaeology reference and happiness and spiritually.

Kipfer holds an MPhil and PhD in Linguistics, a PhD in Archaeology, an MA and PhD in Buddhist Studies, and a BS in Physical Education. She is a registered professional archaeologist; Senior Lexicographer of Zeta Global; and has worked for Google,,,, General Electric Research, IBM Research and The Chicago Tribune as a sportswriter and editor.