I just came back from holidays in Cuba, it was an amazing experience (including rushing back due to COVID-19) but I've learned some valuable lessons from being completely offline for at least 9 days. Internet access was limited, to say the least, usually restricted to hotel lobbies and paid by the hour. Because I really needed some holidays I was avoiding getting online as much as I could so the environment was perfect for that.
Some interesting things that I've learnt from this experience:
- After 3 days of being offline, you don't miss it anymore, and you start caring less about going online again.
- After 3 days of being offline, creativity starts to kick in again, I found myself writing a lot of interesting ideas about tech and other stuff that I am interested in. This is something that I find hard to do after a normal day of work.
- Being offline allows you to step back and reprioritize with an external point of view. This is very productive when you need to balance between things such as conferences, coding, initiatives, networking with different groups, etc. Stepping back from the day to day helps you to have a clear view of how important each of these things is and how they will impact your productivity and life/work balance.
- Being offline and isolated even for a week allows you to have a fresh perspective on the really important things that will not change. It was quite fascinating to see how fast companies are changing nowadays and how if you just miss a week
- I've learned about "Screen Time -> Downtime" in iOS to automatically block apps, which I set to From 20:00 to 7:30 every day. So now that I get back online I control myself with some time off.
- I've reminded myself of having at least a couple pet projects, those projects that you just do for fun. In my career, pet projects have been a source of inspiration and learning.
- The power of Open Source and how it affects my priorities. I ended up realizing that priorities were easy to set if the focus is made on the open-source aspect of each project/initiative.
Having loads of ideas and some inspiration from Jordan Mechner's books pushed me to have now a dairy (with daily entries) full of potential pet projects and reminders about what things are important.
I know.. this is not a tech blog post, but it might help someone else out there to share their experiences around their time off / holidays preferences.
Stay tuned! more tech blog post are coming!