The Friday Five, Unplugged
Things to Do When the Internet’s Down
Obviously, Attorney at Work lives here on the Internet. As does nearly everything else in the civilized world. But sometimes—be it solar flares, high winds, an ISP blunder or a vast electronic conspiracy—you lose access for a while. An hour. A day. Or more! And even though you’ve often said, “Sure, the Internet is addictive, but I’m no addict” … you are lost without it.
Believe It or Not, There Are a Few Things You Can Do Offline
Really. How can you be expected to write when the research materials you need are online? You can’t exchange emails with your clients, either. And who thought it was a good idea to store all the billing and timekeeping stuff “in the cloud”? Good grief, you can’t even play “Words with Friends” to keep from going insane. Enter this week’s Friday Five, unplugged. We’ve got some great ideas for you whenever you have new-found non-Internet time.
- Housekeeping. This minute, just pause in your reading, remove your hands from the keyboard and take a look at your desk. Reminds you of Wall Street after a parade, right? Your brain has been so busy organizing what’s on the screen it’s easy to end up with shambles for a work area. And how about that poor disconnected computer? Keep your hands in the air and look at the keyboard. Eww! That’s not just dust, more than likely that’s last month’s Susie-Q crumbs mucking up the keys. It’s simple to clean your keyboard and monitor screen. Wipe down your phone while you’re at it. (And don’t forget to wipe the fingerprints off your iPad and iPhone, if you roll that way.) You’ll feel fresh and ready to go—if the darn Internet ever comes back up!
- Move. Go on. Go for a walk. If you work alone, simply grab your hat and get outdoors for a bit. Toss a Frisbee for the dog. Run, jog or peddle off your frustration! If there are others in your office, now may be a good time to do a little Management by Walking Around. The practice, originally an HP management tactic, was popularized by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in their book In Search of Excellence, and it has been used by thousands of managers and supervisors since. While we don’t hear about it so much these days (perhaps because the Internet has all of our bottoms glued to our chairs), it will never go out of style as a way to keep quality up and isolation down in any work environment.
- Think for yourself. Turn off the computer, close your office door, get comfortable in your chair, close your eyes and meditate. You’ll be refreshed, more positive and open to new things (and far less cranky about being cut off from the web). That would be a good time to do some clear thinking about something you already have on your to-do list. Brainstorm strategies. Outline a speech. Yes, you’ll have to do it the old-fashioned way, but there are those who believe computers eat your creativity and only a pencil will do. Give it a shot!
- Read. You’re the one who has been complaining about never having time to read. Well, seize the day! Grab that bar publication, contract, novel or … nutrition label on an energy bar! And relax into a good read. Maybe you will have wisely printed “The 26 Major Advantages to Reading More Books” in advance so you’d have it handy for just such a moment. It’s a good read. Or maybe it’s time to wise up about managing your practice better.
- Soak up some culture. Even if your brief is due or you’re waiting for an important email, the universe has spoken (through your computer) and said, “Take a break!” So, you can spend the next few hours dashing from coffee shop to restaurant to library looking for a WiFi hot spot—or just take that sage advice and chill a bit. Hit the museums. Every town has one. An hour or two of art, music, nature, planets, history or sea creatures will renew those frazzled brain cells and send you back to your flat screen with energy and creativity to spare.
And if none of these do the trick for you … well, heck, you might as well dance!
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