Blackberries and cell phones, email and the World Wide Web, or even computers themselves can actually hamper your productivity. Most people allow each and every email in their inbox to interrupt their day. The web also offers the definitive procrastination tool for someone ‘who just needs a break’. How much uninterrupted and focused work do you actually do on any given day of the week?
This Thanksgiving Holiday validated one of the ways I’ve approached the ‘information overload’ sort of problem – working offline. Working offline is a disciplined practice done for the explicit purpose of increasing productivity by shutting out the ‘important things’ that tend to distract us throughout the day.
As I flew out to visit some family last week, I brought my trusty memo size (3″ x 5″) notepad with me. Instead of firing up my laptop and connecting to a hotspot in the airport, I used my notepad to brainstorm and subsequently outline a number of posts and ideas I have been thinking about over the past couple of weeks. I continued that work on the airplane. Two and half hours later I had completely outlined three posts, one of which will become what I consider a very interesting and relevant series (stay tuned). In total, I got down 12 post topics, including this one.
My offline work continued last Wednesday and Friday. This time, I used my computer but disabled my Internet connection. During that time, I re-wrote nearly the entire content of my website, as I push towards the relaunch of it and my services, in conjunction with some new opportunities I am pursuing. I also wrote the first post in my new series, which I will post early next week.
Technology should be used to help us achieve our goals. It should help us to be more productive during the day. Unfortunately, many of us have become slaves to technology. Here’s a news bulletin: you can survive without checking your email every two minutes. You can survive without reading the latest news every hour on the hour. For those who utilize RSS, yes, you can even survive by not checking your feeds each day.
Try working offline – I think you’ll be surprised by not only how much you can get accomplished but by the quality of what you will produce. Happy offlining!