On September 30th, I announced on my Facebook and Twitter that I’d be going offline for a week. The next morning, I uninstalled all social media apps from my phone. After coming back to my apartment, I booted up my computer – but instead of logging into YouTube and a dozen other sites and doing a round in each of them, I simply checked my e-mails and paid my rent. Then I closed the browser, set up my recording equipment and opened up my DAW.
It was a very unusual Monday. In fact, the whole week was unusual. What in the world would drive me to disconnect for 7 days? Below are three questions to which I’ve hopefully answered in enough detail to explain that decision and how I spent that unusual week in my life.
Why did I go offline for a week?
To put it as simply as possible, I was spending too much time on the computer, especially browsing the Internet and playing video games. My smartphone was also becoming a similar distraction. It was slowly getting to the point where I barely even spent any time working on my personal projects.
How did I spend my time then?
Since I’d essentially forbidden myself from procrastinating, whatever time I spent on the computer I forced myself to spend productively. And oh boy, was I productive – more so than in several years. I tracked all of the guitars for Phoenix in three days and had enough time to start tracking the vocals as well.
And if I couldn’t think of ways to spend my screen time productively, I shut down the computer and did something else. Usually, it resulted in me either practicing or going for a long walk. The walks I took were roughly twice as long as usual at best. I even went swimming on Friday, and that if anything is an extremely rare occurrence.
What did I learn during my time offline?
The thing that my experience during my time offline taught me is that I’d let myself become too attached to social media and video games. Detaching from them was very liberating, and denying myself any chances to procrastinate worked wonders in making me spend my spare time in new ways.