As I walked into the office this morning I immediately knew something was wrong. Everyone looked like lost souls in a limbo, directionless, lost. As soon as I turned on my laptop the reason became evident: we had no Internet connection.
That means no email and no web browsing. That means there is nothing for you to do. What can you possibly work on if you are not connected to the Internet? Damn you, network admin!
The fact of the matter is we’ve become so dependent on the Internet that it seems that if the network is down, we can’t do any useful work. The truth is that we can get a lot more useful work done when we’re offline. So here’s a list of 5 things you can do next time your network connection goes kabum:
Yep, that’s what I’m doing right now. I always complain that I don’t have time to write, so here’s a brilliant opportunity to take some of those ideas I saved on my notepad or on Evernote and turn them into a post. The best part: you don’t even need a laptop to write it. So, if your computer blew up too, a pen and paper will work just fine!
Now that you won’t be interrupted by incoming emails, skype chats, and “Jody tagged you on a photo” facebook notifications, you have some brain bandwidth to think about the true meaning of things. Do you know what you are working for? Really, what is the end goal for all those tasks that you perform every day? And does your goal match your company’s goal?
Defining goals and objectives is not something you should only do once a year during the HR-sponsored “performance evaluation”! You need to constantly look at where you are going as an individual contributor, as a team, and as a company. If your goal doesn’t contribute to the overall company goal, then you need to re-calibrate and adapt your responsibilities. Oh, and make sure what you are doing daily works toward your ultimate goal too!
It’s amazing how much time we spend working with people (as extensions to our laptops) and how little time we have to interact with them as real humans.
If you manage a team, this is the perfect time to spend some time together! A good idea is to rally your troops and get out of the office. Go to the park for a walk. Go grab a coffee at the closest Starbucks (but sit on the terrace so you can talk comfortably). The whole idea is to spend some quality time with your team, ask them how things are going, get them to ask questions and share their ideas/doubts/fears… You’ll get to know people a little better outside of your office walls, without any laptops and screens in the way.
If you are anything like me, when you take your eyes away from the monitor and look at the rest of your desk you’ll see a lot of stuff that probably doesn’t need to be there. As time goes by people tend to accumulate a lot of junk on their desks. The “Internet is dead” time is a great moment to take a careful look at all those sheets of paper, post-it notes, visit cards… and find a good final resting place for them (usually the trash bin).
When you’re done with your desk, turn your attention to your laptop’s desktop. Do you really need 300 files on your desktop? Trash all you can, archive the others. When you’re done, go to your email and look at the inbox. If you have more than 5 items there, it’s time for some cleaning there too!
When we are sleeping, our subconscious continues working on creative ways to solve problems. In our overly connected world, being offline is like being asleep: it helps our brain work more creatively!
No matter what your job role is, you can always use some good old brainstorming to find new and better ways to do stuff. If you’re in Marketing, you can brainstorm the next awesome piece of content for your campaigns. If you’re in Engineering you can brainstorm on how to solve that nagging issue with your product. If you’re in HR you can brainstorm a better way to generate awareness for the company. And so on and so forth.
So, next time you see the Helpdesk running around with their apocalyptic gaze, take a deep breath and remember this post. Then jump at the opportunity to work on all those valuable things you usually don’t do because you’re too busy typing away on your keyboard!