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Summary:

There’s been much talk about web workers feeling the need to co-work or step outside their home office. This trend may boil down to this obvious, but essential, thing: we need to spend some time offline. So what offline activities can the average web worker pursue? […]

There’s been much talk about web workers feeling the need to co-work or step outside their home office. This trend may boil down to this obvious, but essential, thing: we need to spend some time offline.

So what offline activities can the average web worker pursue?

  • Hobbies, whether they’re forgotten or new
  • Volunteer work
  • Travel
  • Continuing education whether through seminars, workshops, or even getting a new degree
  • Teaching

One of the benefits of taking up new activities is that they give us new material to work with. This is especially useful for web workers in creative fields such as designers and writers. Being exposed to images, sounds, and people that we don’t encounter on our daily routines can give us a fresh perspective we never would’ve gotten otherwise.

Of course, it’s not just about getting material and inspiration – a breather from our web working tasks can prove to be energizing. When there are instances that you’re not particularly motivated to work, sometimes all it takes is taking a step back and enjoying a completely new and different activity. If a programmer has spent hours trying to figure out where the code went wrong, it might help to go cycling, or build a model airplane for an hour or so before going back to troubleshoot. If a designer or writer is blocked for new ideas, going on a short weekend trip might help generate some new ones.

Also, since we generally interact with others when we spend time offline, we’re also expanding our networks. I sometimes teach art workshops for kids and my co-teacher knew someone who was looking for a website, and it was a happy coincidence that I do some web design myself. Although I get most of my web working jobs online, some leads unexpectedly arise when I’m offline and paying attention to a completely different activity. Interacting with the same colleagues, clients, and other business contacts might end up with you saturating your immediate market. There are other people out there who need the services of web workers, but they don’t necessarily know where to look. By expanding your offline network, you’ll be opening yourself up to new contacts, challenges, and opportunities.

For me, the most important aspect of pursuing offline activities is the sense of fulfillment. One of the causes of the trend to telework is our need to spend more time on ourselves and the things we value in life, rather than just the work we do for income. Knowing that you have other activities and interests to spend your time and efforts on can be rewarding, especially if your choice to web work was driven by the need to control your own time.

If you find yourself spending too much time working, whether it’s in your home office or a coffee shop, take some time to discover other activities that can bring your web working under a completely different light.

What offline activities do you enjoy doing? How have they helped you with work?

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  1. At home I normally play some acoustic guitar or read a book.
    At work I can go to our varanda and see the great view of our town. We also have our cookie time, around 5:00 pm we eat something. Being hungry can really low your productivity.

  2. Definitely true, i absolutely need to practice my djing skills every once in a while to take some fresh air from my usual web work…and besides, i’m also a soccer trainer for kids, which helps me get some networking, some outdoor time and some time with kids, which is always fun :)

  3. The main reason I’m a WW is the freedom it allows me to pursue my crazy offline activities. We live to travel around my house, and I play the ukulele with a large community minded group, just for starters…

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  5. I love to get out of the “office” and do stuff, and I’m thrilled that the founder of my company, Bill Berg, is a big believer in supporting the community. All of us at CoolWorks.com do something for those around us.

    The short list:
    – Volunteer at the Puget Sound Blood Center – i.e. give out cookies. : )
    – Get out the vote campaign for Barack Obama in Bozeman, MT
    – Photography
    – H.S. sports support
    – adopt a soldier
    – board membership – Population Connection
    – council member – National Parks Conservation Association
    – building treehouses

    We’re lucky to have the jobs we do and the time and flexibility to support our communities and environment. This lifestyle brought to you by the Internet. : )

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