I've recently discovered how extremely productive it is possible to be when you for some reason have to be offline for a while. This could be that your connection is down, you're on the bus on your way to the office. Some people even pull the plug to their connection occasionally to be able to focus better!
Making the best out of it!
So what could you do? There are so many options. All you need is to be creative and maintain a positive focus on how you still can be effective. Instead of looking at it in a negative way, offline time can really be a great boost to your productivity and help you get a lot done.
Cleaning up your files and folders
Have a look through the file structure. Delete, archive and make sure everything is where it's supposed to be. In a busy schedule it's quite usual to take easy solutions and put files and folders in convenient places. When you're offline it's a great chance for you to take control of this. Once everything has been properly taken care of, you'll easier find things and become more efficient.
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Do a full scan and/or defrag
Especially if you're on a PC, you may need to do scans for viruses and defrag your hard-drives occasionally. This will be important to do regularly and give you more efficiency. Many people do tend to forget this or do this way too rarely. Now is the time to get it done! Remember to also do this with any external hard-drives you have.
Delete unused software
Deleting software you're not using can give many benefits. Not only do you get the potential of better performance, you're also getting a cleaner work environment. Remembering to uninstall various things you're installing isn't always as easy, so this is a great chance to have a look through everything and get rid of what you never use.
Image credit: Flavio Takemoto
Reading up on stored content
If you're smart, you're probably using apps to save certain content to be able to have a closer look at it when you have the time. This is a great time for you to finally get to look through those articles, screenshots and other things that you've saved. If you do this a lot, there's a chance you'll have quite a bit to go through. When you're offline it's a great chance to get this done without all of the online distractions you usually have.
Updating various information
Do your email signatures have the correct information? There are many smaller things that can change over time and now you finally have the time to get it fixed. Cleaning up contact info can save you a lot of frustration in the future.
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Cleaning up your own designs and work
It can be good to remember to have your own designs updated. Look through your business cards and any other designs that are related to your own business. A lot can be done without having to be online, and you'll be able to work without the usual distraction. Clean up content that you'd like to upload to your portfolio, write blog posts and anything else that should have been done. And when you're online again, it'll take a short time to get it uploaded if you've done most of it ready.
Have you ever thought that you wish you had made a Photoshop action for something you're always doing, but never took the time to do? There are many examples of tasks that can be automated. Get it done now and save time when you're back online and start working as usual again.
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Changing passwords should already be part of your regular to do's, but it doesn't hurt to get it done now. It's very important for the safety of both your own content and your clients.
Writing/answering letters and emails to send later
If you download your emails to your computer, it's a good idea to have a look through everything and make sure that they've all been taken care of. Those that you haven't replied to yet can be written and set ready to send when you're back on the air.
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Play around with software
Many great ideas were born when playing around with the software you may not have the chance to explore properly for other tasks than what you're doing on a daily basis. Allowing yourself to try out new things without any pressure from around you can be a good way to boost your creativity and learn how to do things more efficiently.
Cleaning doesn't have to just mean taking care of files and folders. Your keyboard, mouse, screen and cabinets may be in need of some cleaning as well. This is something that is often forgotten even though it's important.
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Write down your new ideas, scribbles and doodles. This is always great to get to do when you're not having new mails popping in or other things happening around you all of the time. Look through your notebooks and other notes and clean them up a bit. This way it'll be easier to keep working on all of your ideas when you're back to normal.
Looking through your bills and archiving them is a really good idea. This will help you a lot when you look at your budgets later on. Save a lot of time and do yourself a favor by doing it now!
Image credit: Dani Simmonds
When it's quiet around you, having a look at how things have been for you lately can be a great plan as well. By evaluating your recent projects and routines you'll be able to do even better in the future.
Look through your schedules and future plans
Once you've done all of your other cleaning, organizing and evaluating, - it's time to have a look at the future. By looking through your schedules you can better prepare yourself and think through what needs to be done.
Take care of yourself
Finally, you're also one in need of some love and care. It can be very hard to remember to take that time for yourself when you're busy every day. If you get some spare time due to being offline, you should definitely do something for yourself as well. Read a book, go out to lunch with friends, spend time on your favorite hobby or just take a few hours off. It'll help you recharge your batteries and have you meet new challenges better.
Image credit: Maxime Perron Caissy
What are your experiences?
We'd love to hear your feedback. What do you usually do when you have to be offline without intending to? Let us hear your own tips on what you do and your past experiences with this. Are you good at using the offline time wisely?