Last week I had a crazy idea. What if I switched off my usual things, like Reddit, email, Campfire, IM and all the other stuff that, as it seemed to me, wastes my time? At least for one week. Sounds easy, right?
I thought I’d get a big boost in productivity, or at least, I won’t be distracted by all the crazy stuff happening in the world. With this in mind, I removed a couple of shortcuts I had, closed my Mail, and dropped Bloglines from being my home page.
On the first day of the experiment, it was OK for couple hours. Then I started feeling myself like a junkie who needs a fix. And mind you, productive I was not. I was always thinking about the news, my email box, and my work contacts. But fortunately, I had a good idea of what I needed to do for my working project, and I was pretty confident that without distractions I’d do better, so I decided to continue.
The next couple days I did better, and at some moments I was extremely productive (maybe that was just my new huge Cinema Display though :), but overall I still had the feeling like something was not done. Thinking about my IM was inescapable. I started coming up with lots of reasons why someone would try to contact me about something urgent, even though I sent emails to all my recent contacts that I won’t be available for a week.
Then I almost forgot about it. Somehow it all went away and I was just working, without thinking of anything else. It was nice, I needed some concentration to rethink something that went wrong (I made a mistake in software design), and it really worked out very well.
The week is over, and now I feel that it was a pretty good one. Although it was full of anxiety, I’ve managed to do something that’s not always easy — admitting my mistake and reworking some complex stuff.
Although it was productive, I wouldn’t do anything like this for a long time to come. I can live without social sites and news, but living without IM and email adds more anxiety than it is worth for boosting productivity. I guess, I’m too addicted already to get out of this hole called the Information Society.