Recently I’ve been stranded in a variety of locations without an internet connection. There have been several engagements I needed to attend but there was ample time lost for the work I needed to do. When I was heading to these events I dutifully packed my computer, a pair of headphones, a number of writing utensils, some loose leaf paper and a couple thumb drives (for backup on-the-go). With this limited list of items I could fill the hours of waiting for the events to begin (we were getting there very early) with meaninful and productive work… or so I thought.
I never realized how lost I feel without an internet connection until I was forced to try to do all of my work without one. I save a lot of things online. I bookmark web pages in my browser. I check spelling, cite sources, and quote great thinkers. All of this required an internet connection. Losing my access to the store of information on the web left me thinking about what I actually needed to do and how I might be able to do it effectively. How could I write that paper without checking that article? How could I continue without that one quote? Where would I be without the thoughts of others? The answer was surprising.
I got a lot of work done. My focus couldn’t be on the infinite number of quotes, sources, and citation I could find on the internet. I was forced to focus on what I was able to write without these sources instead. My lack of internet connection gave me a couple of solid hours of writing. I just skipped past the things that would require me to look something up and moved onto the areas where I didn’t need anything of that nature. The output was surprising. I was shocked to see how much I could actually get accomplished without my notes, without my sources, and without the internet. I was so surprised that I’ve decided to make this a daily occurence. A decision to disconnect. A time to write and a time to research. I will try to keep these separate and I think you might want to do it too.