Two things happened, and I’m feeling a desperate need to go offline by default.
First, I was learning how to use Linux, and it took a few days to troubleshoot network settings. That gave me a forced taste of a mostly offline lifestyle during which I only had limited cellular data. I was surprisingly productive and felt calm during these few days.
Second, I’ve been self-quarantined at my dorm. Without the usual daily structure of going to campus to attend lectures, I’ve been compulsively web browsing and gaming. This has caused my sleep schedule to become irregular, impacting my mood and productivity. Furthermore, staying at dorm means that I have to cook all three meals by myself, instead of only one. I have been struggling to find time to take care of my increased responsibilities due to spending hours online.
So here’s the idea: Wi-Fi and cellular data will be off by default. Ethernet cable is to be plugged off. In predetermined times of the day, I can go online to take care of tasks. These tasks could include: attending lectures via Zoom videoconferencing, submitting an assignment online, doing research online, and enjoying entertainment on the web.
It’s worth noting that many of these tasks can be accomplished offline for the most part. I obviously have to be online for Zoom, but most assignments can be largely finished offline. Math worksheet requires only pen, paper, and textbook, and essays are best written in focused solitude. Even in the research process for an essay, it is common in academia to collect papers and read them in separate steps. The former is done online, the latter offline. This practice is very efficient; it’s a shame most people adhere to a more haphazard online research process. Even coding, which requires constant googling and looking up answers on Stack Exchange, could be done offline if all I’m doing is following a textbook or solving a difficult problem on my own. Heck, in the latter scenario, spending some time with the problem without online help is a benefit.
Is this a good idea? Will I ever follow through? If I do, I’ll follow through with another post.