A couple of weekends ago I decided I was going to disconnect from the Internet and power down the iPhone, iPad and MacBook Air for 24 hours. Why? Just to see what happened. This is nothing compared to the year Paul Miller is giving up the Internet for, but still, it was an interesting experiment. I’ll tell you right now… I didn’t last the full 48 hours I had planned. I did, however, make it for about 24 hours and it was HARD! It was also worth it, as it turns out, because my creativity was sparked in a major way like it hadn’t been for a long time.
Normally when I’m working on a creative project of some sort I’ll type out an outline in Google Docs, WordPress or Workflowy or write/read some notes I took in Evernote (I’m a big Evernote fan), research online or even head over to Photoshop or Illustrator and start designing some mockups. In the past, say 5 years ago, I was a big sketcher. I always had some blank paper nearby. This was probably because of my background in design. Ever since I was a kid I was drawing and sketching and designing something whether it was a spaceship or a device to help Alzheimer’s patients remember things.
When I stopped myself from using technology for a day I reverted back to the good old days of sketching and writing on paper. I bought a blank notebook and within 4 hours had filled a quarter of it with new ideas and inspiration. There’s something convenient about paper. It’s easy to grab and write on and be done with. When it comes to storing ideas in a computer, sometimes I have to wait for it to power on, or connect to the Internet or on an iPad find and launch an app and then navigate to the right notebook… you get the point. It takes a little longer. Sometimes I have a good idea and am just too lazy to write it down in Google Docs or Evernote–and poof, it’s gone forever. I guess I could use a program like Thoughtback, which looks awesome and which I have mentioned on the site a few times before, but it still takes a while. It’s not quite as convenient as regular old paper.
What I noticed about using paper is that the ideas are pure me. There’s no researching to see what other people have tried. Also, there’s just something about drawing and sketching that makes ideas pour out for me. I like to diagram and make charts and while it’s possible using apps (there are some pretty cool ones) it’s still just not as convenient for some reason. I’m sure it’s different for everyone, but for me, paper is where it’s at.
I never would have discovered this had I not attempted to live without the Internet and technology for a day. Maybe I’ll make it a weekly habit (lookout!). I wonder what you’d find out about yourself if you ditched the Internet for a day? Might be worth looking into. If you give it a go, leave me a comment and let me know what you find out.