Friday, May 7, 2010

Get More Done. Get Offline.

Sometimes when I’m really feeling like I’m just not getting anything done, I leave the house and go to a coffee shop, park or library to work. Anywhere, really, where I CAN’T get online. It’s not that easy nowadays—especially in a big city like New York, even hotel lobbies and sandwich shops have wireless access. Sometimes I run around the city to find a place with no access as desperately as I do to find it when I’m on vacation somewhere else.

Getting offline is a very important part of my method when I play catch-up. Do you have any idea how much time we waste Facebookcrastinating (i.e., procrastinating on Facebook), writing long, non-urgent messages to childhood friends, poking around on other people’s blogs and incessantly checking our emails? And it’s not enough for me to just consciously forbid myself to get online. I’m compulsive. I can’t help it. So I have to find a place where I really can’t get online if I really need to be productive. And sometimes finding an Internet dead zone when you want one can be as hard as finding access when you need it.

Now I don’t have to leave the house to go somewhere there’s no Internet access. I’ve discovered Mac Freedom. It’s an extremely useful program that will block your Internet access completely for a set amount of time, up to eight hours. Mac Freedom won’t respond to pleads, bribery, or tantrums—no Internet til it says you can. One time I even got desperate and forced the program to quit, and it still wouldn’t let me get online. Now that’s resolution. And there’s a version for both Mac and PC users, so anyone can use it.

When I use this program, my productivity shoots through the roof. I get ahead on my blog posting. I finish edits and marketing projects I’ve been putting off. And I get time to work on my novel, too. It’s 100% worth the price—which is not saying much, because it’s free.

So what do you do when the chips are down and you need to increase your productivity?


Unknown said...

I like this idea, but a lot of my work requires me to be online for research. Maybe I could try to research ahead of time and then write without going online.

Unknown said...

Wow, that's like having a Mom looking over your shoulder! I wonder if they have a PC version?

I've gone to the park with the laptop. No WiFi under the horse chestnut, I tell you!