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Unplugged and Unwired—An hour in the shade increases productivity

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The view from my patio chair

The internet and email can be a huge distraction for many people, including me. When I am writing, there is always something that needs researching, then a link leads to another website and there’s a link to an interesting article … An hour later, I can’t even remember what I started out looking for, so I don’t even know if I found it.

Email is just as bad. I went so far as to turn off the notification alerts on all my email accounts, and turned off the sound that signals a new message, but that didn’t work. I would constantly wonder if anything new had shown up. I think this might be a bigger distraction than knowing when something new arrives.

So today I am beginning an experiment. It all started last week when Deborah was called by the local blood center to donate platelets. The process takes about two hours, start to finish. I volunteered to drive her, thinking it would be a good diversion from the usual work pattern. Oh, and I took my laptop … just in case.

Arriving, I discovered the blood center has a very nice lounge area—like a small cafe—with tables and surprisingly comfortable chairs. Seeing this, I had to take advantage of the situation. I grabbed the laptop, booted up, opened up my offline editor (BlogDesk) and started writing. IT WAS AMAZING!

For two hours, I wrote article after article, on differing subjects and themes for several of my websites. In fact, I put together almost a weeks’ worth for Motivation on the Run, plus several for The Daily Flag.

It was hard to keep up with the ideas that were coming faster and faster. I quickly typed in ideas for future articles and at the end of the two hours, I had seven articles in various stages of completion (three were ready to publish).

The euphoria was incredible. I needed to see if I could duplicate that stream of productivity again. The next day, I pulled out the WiFi card and headed for the patio at home, and in one hour wrote several more articles.

Now I’m thinking I’m on to something. Beginning this morning, Monday, I’m going to spend more time on the patio without internet access to test the theory. Can I improve productivity by unplugging?

Want to know the best part? Sitting out there quietly writing, the birds and squirrels soon ignore your presence, and resume their normal activities. The wind talks as it moves though the leaves, calming the thoughts and nerves. This might move beyond productivity and end up as good therapy, too.

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