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As you may have heard, I unplugged on Friday, restricting my access to all things internet-related.
The point of the whole day was to see how much more challenging (or refreshing) a day without the internet would be for the average office employee.
For me, a regular Friday would have involved a lot of email catching up, surfing the internet for softer stories for the next week… you know, generally a more laid-back day.
So to be honest, I thought I was going to be super productive on Friday without all the distractions.
However, for the first half of the day, it was the exact opposite. As soon as I stepped into the office, I was disorientated; my morning routine for the past few years had been disrupted. I couldn’t get onto my email, nor could I sign into Skype, check the wires for stories or even get onto Facebook for a bit of morning R&R.
I’m not going to give you a blow by blow of my day, because it mostly involves me constantly resisting the urge to Google something up or struggling to stay away from my email inbox, but I will tell you I must have spent about an hour at my desk in the morning, making more to-do lists but not actually getting anything done.
Let’s face it, who wants to write a 2,000 word feature or analyse a 30-page survey at 10 in the morning on a Friday? Not me.
But as the clock edged closer towards midday, I decided to man up and get down to work. By the time we were getting ready for lunch, I had transcribed an interview and proofread pages for the upcoming magazine.
Unfortunately, that surge in productivity didn’t last long. By 5pm, I hadn’t crossed anything else off my to-do list. I was drained from transcribing and writing up the interview, and the lack of access to the internet meant no quick breaks to look at cat videos (we all do it) or reading a bit of feel-good news.
Of course, there were other minor inconveniences I had to put up with, such as writing sticky notes and leaving them on people’s desks rather than IM-ing them. Basically, things I’ve come to take for granted.
But one of the biggest things I did find really annoying was the number of times I was interrupted by people coming over to my desk, or calling my line to tell me something.
Yes, I probably would have been interrupted the same number of times had I been online, but at least I’d have the option to ignore the message or notification until I had time to respond to them. Nonetheless, it did mean more human interaction – and I got real laughs rather than “LOLs”.
For those of you planning to spend a day or more unplugged, I’d suggest making sure you have a proper list of things to do to keep you occupied. Unplugging could be refreshing and beneficial if you set your mind to it and stand steadfast to accomplishing your offline goals.
Working was definitely harder with the constant nagging feeling I was overlooking a potentially important email, but knowing I wasn’t multi-tasking was what set things back a few notches.
I’d definitely recommend you give it a go – if only for a change in pace. Will I do it again though? Probably not.