I recently spoke about the importance of a good internet connection for people who work online. The article was born out of my frustration of using sub-par connections when travelling.
It really can be difficult to work normally without an internet connection. I found it particularly frustrating initially however I have since learned to adapt a bit better.
Firstly, I’ve learned that being offline doesn’t mean that you should stop working altogether. There are still productive things you can do (though if you’re tired and find yourself with no internet connection, why not take a nap?).
The main benefit of being offline is that there are no distractions. There’s no emails to check, no Twitter account or Facebook accounts to spend time on, no blogs to read and comment. All of these things are worthwhile when working online however they can also be a distraction when you want to do certain things.
It’s difficult to fully understand all the distractions you have online until you don’t have a connection. I regularly stop half way through writing articles to check Twitter, respond to emails, chat to people via skype. I’m aware these are bad habits yet I continue to do them.
I’ve found myself without an internet connection for long periods of time over the last few months on long bus journeys and when too many people were accessing the hostel wi-fi.
Here are the 3 most productive things I’ve used my time for :)
1. Read A Book
I love reading. When I was a kid I used to read two or three books a week via the library close to my school. After the age of ten, I never read a book for enjoyment (reading books for school/university etc doesn’t count) however I rekindled my love of reading during my 20s.
Whilst I do read fiction from time to time (Nineteen Eighty Four is my favourite!), I primarily read non-fiction books. I love biographies, science related books about evolution and physics and marketing and productivity books. It doesn’t matter what the topic of a book is, I always seem to find something that is applicable to do online.
Last year I purchased the Keyboard Kindle. It’s the best device out there for reading books however I gave it to my girlfriend as I upgraded to the iPad 3. The benefit tablets have over e-ink devices is reading PDFs. Reading PDFs on the iPad is a joy.
Over the last few months I’ve downloaded a lot of eBooks on web development topics such as blogging, social media, entrepreneurship etc too. As I am reading the books I make a point of taking notes. On the iPad this is easy as you can quickly switch to the notes or WordPress app if you want to write down some ideas.
Sure, I can read a book at any time if I want, but would I? History has shown that even after downloading a great book I want to read, I always find something else to do online and I don’t take the time to sit down and read it. Going offline seems to give me the push I need to do just that.
2. Listen To A Podcast
Podcasts can become addictive. I regularly listen to comedians such as Joe Rogan, Ari Shaffir and Ricky Gervais. I also listen to lots of business related podcasts from marketers such as Chris Guthrie, Adsense Flippers, Pat Flynn and Yaro Starak. These podcasts always reaffirm my belief in certain tactics and challenge others. It’s surprising how many ideas can arise from listening to just one podcast episode.
You need to make sure you download all of your podcasts before you find yourself offline. I use the fantastic Podcasts app for iOS to do this as it syncs all new episodes from the podcasters I subscribe too. There’s a lot of great Android podcast apps available too and there are good desktop applications for Windows and Mac which will download episodes in advance.
3. Plan Out Some Future Posts Articles
It’s not possible to fully complete articles when you are working offline as you can’t find and insert relevant images or do the research you need to do. Many articles I write, particularly tutorials, require me to do a lot of research online and then quote or link to these articles when I give my view or explanation on the subject. Being offline makes it impossible to do that.
You can however plan out your future posts:
- Write as many article ideas as you can.
- Try and write as much as you can for each article. For example, if you are writing a technical article that needs a lot of references, why not write some drafts of the introduction and closing chapters.
- Add notes for each article about how the article will pan out. This can be as simple as writing the main points the article is going to cover so that you remind yourself to focus on them later when you complete the article
The more work you do for an article when you are offline, the less you’ll have to do with it when you get back online.
It’s good to relax if you find yourself offline by watching a movie or playing a video game. You can however still be productive offline if you want to and you’ll find if you do a lot of work when you are offline, it will free up a lot of your time later on.
How do you stay productive when you lose your internet connection?