Being constantly connected to the rest of the world, on our computers, phones, tablets and even smartwatches seems like a great idea and offers a lot of fantastic benefits. However, sometimes it can be just too much. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the onslaught of notifications, and distracted by the constant information being bombarded at us – it’s a wonder we get anything at all done! Could living offline change your life? Chris Bolin seems to think so!
It seems that using our phones, scrolling through social media or consuming news online is the default setting for most of us. Whether we are waiting for a bus, sat at a restaurant, or hanging out with friends, it never seems to stop. This is not a healthy way to live – our brains are never getting a rest, and constant distractions mean our focus is non-existent. It’s so ingrained in our everyday habits that the thought of going offline might seem terrifying, however for our own mental health; sometimes we just need to unplug.
Chris Bolin’s Offline Only is a two-minute long read about the magic of going offline that only allows you to read it if you disconnect from the internet to do so. We don’t know how it works either! He talks about the ability to focus more clearly by getting rid of the interruptions that the internet causes. Not only the constant notifications from a variety of websites but also how easy it is to get caught in a curiosity web and end up down an internet rabbit hole of searching. We’ve all done it. Tried to remember that actress from that one movie, and after a quick Google search, ended up on the Wikipedia page for the 1997 Oscars, without realizing just how much time we’ve eaten up with this distraction.
Bolin believes that offline-only content is not only beneficial for the reader, but also the creator. If they are unable to include any links in an article, the reader will generally be more focused, and won’t leave the post halfway through to follow the link to another site. Chris Bolin understands the magic of the internet, and its advantages in research, but thinks that we can create much better if we do so offline.
Give yourself the gift
Bolin refers to disconnection as “a gift” and suggests that we all remember to give ourselves this gift occasionally, if only to see how it affects us. You are not likely to miss much by taking an hour offline; however, that is likely to be the most peaceful and productive hour of your day.
Give it a try, even just while reading Bolin’s Offline Only article, and see how you feel. For me, I did notice that I was more focused on reading than I might have been if it had had links, or had my laptop been receiving notifications at the same time. I am guilty of clicking from tab to tab, opening so many links and Googling any question that pops into my head. I can see how going offline, (especially when I am writing) could completely change my life, for the better.