No Internet, No Problem
Today’s post is short and sweet, but it’s about a productivity hack that has drastically helped me in a short amount of time, and is something you can easily implement immediately. The best part? It’s only 3 steps that take a total of 15 seconds. Are you ready?
Step 1: Click the WiFi icon on your computer and select “Off”
Step 2: Slide your phone’s dashboard up and turn on Airplane Mode
Step 2.5: If you’re a world traveler living on Airplane Mode with WiFi on, turn the WiFi off
Step 3: Crank shit out.
At this point you’re probably saying one of two things:
- How am I going to get any work done without the internet?
- Obviously that’s going to help, thanks for the bright idea Sherlock.
Let’s tackle number 2 first. If you’ve heard this before and are already using this method, then props to you, keep crushing it and you can probably skip the next 3 or 4 paragraphs. If you’re like me and had heard this before but never actually implemented this, or you’ve tried it but never really stuck with it, just give it an honest try the next time you need to knock out some work. And I don’t mean put your phone 20 feet away from you and only respond to the “important messages” or turn it on airplane mode and reward yourself after you finish a task with “3 minutes” of phone time or YouTube videos that turn into 12 because you need to watch that photography tutorial on something you want to try at your next shoot. Commit to completely disconnecting for 2 or 3 hours and focus on your work.
So now we’re back to the first natural response; “How am I going to get any work done without the internet?”
This is a perfectly legitimate question, especially if your work involves researching topics that you don’t know anything about yet, but I promise it can be done. Much more easily with some industries than others, but it can be done.
To illustrate my point, I’ll break down why I started trying this method in the first place. I recently joined a fantastic coworking space in Bali (more to come on that in a future post) and only signed up for the entry level package. For anybody that’s unfamiliar with the model, among the various perks associated with a membership, pricing is usually based on the amount hours you can access their internet in a given month. It’s almost like a WiFi allowance. In this case, I only got 30 hours. I obviously don’t plan on being here every day, but you can imagine how quickly I could run through 30 hours. Despite needing to conserve my WiFi usage, I thought yesterday would be as good a day as any to post up for 8 hours and edit a nonprofit video for Volunteer Aid and WindAid.
Now I’m currently ramping up the video production yin to my photography yang and have already learned a lot in a short amount of time, but I still tend to defer to tutorials and probably learn 5 or 6 or 37 new techniques every time I edit a video. So how did I make this work when I not only need the internet to troubleshoot hiccups, but also stream YouTube tutorials? Simple. I turned off WiFi on all of my devices and only turned it back on when I TRULY needed it.
By doing this, a few things happened. For starters, 95% of my typical distractions were instantly eliminated and as you can imagine, I got quite a bit of work done. But what about those times when I needed to find the answers I didn’t have? By consciously choosing to not use the internet unless I absolutely had to, I was forced to really consider why I needed it and what I specifically had to look up. Once I’d figured that out, I switched on the WiFi, quickly searched for what I wanted to find, skipped around until I found the solution and then turned it off. This process created a hyper focus on finding the answer and didn’t allow me to waste time with unnecessary parts of the process.
To take it a step further, instead of always relying on tutorials, I started searching for written answers on blogs and forums so that I could open up batches of tabs from a Google search, turn off the WiFi and then read through the potential answers. This ended up saving me time because I was able to reserve the lengthy, more thorough video tutorials for when I’d exhausted the 20 second Google search options. In many ways it also made me practice being resourceful with the skills I already have instead of relying on somebody else’s answers from the web. Once I got comfortable with this process, I started applying it to texts to Shelby about coordinating lunch and emails/messages to potential clients. Even right now, I’m writing this post offline with zero distractions in half the amount of time it would normally take, and then uploading the draft when I’m online
Obviously there are times where having unlimited access to WiFi can increase your productivity, and I also recognize that not everybody has a WiFi timer counting down to remind them to get off the web, but if you can figure out a way to hold yourself accountable so that you only turn on your internet access when it’s necessary, you can greatly improve your productivity when you need to, which will ultimately allow you to spend less time working and more time enjoying the other things you love to do.