What to Do When Your Internet Connection is (Gasp!) Disconnected

While Internet connections are undoubtedly more reliable now than they were a few years back, you’d be hard-pressed to find a connection that’s up 100 percent of the time. And for a web worker, those rare down times can be extremely frustrating.

No email! No checking your favorite websites. No access to information you rely on. No way to do your work (especially if you use web apps)!

Even the best of us will be checking the Internet connection every 32 seconds, pulling our hair out.

But do not fear. I submit that down time from the Internet is actually a blessing in disguise.

When we are connected all day long, disconnection can be a good thing. Seize this golden opportunity and make the most of it.

Here are just a few ideas.

1. Do a ton of work. For me, my most productive times come when my Internet is down for a morning or afternoon. I crank out a whole boatload of work. I hate every minute of it, of course, because I can’t check email or my blog comments, but I … manage. And I force myself to do work.

So instead of using Google Docs or WordPress to write a post or article, I use AbiWord. Sure, I might not be able to get the urls I need to insert into the text, but I can always do that later. Or perhaps I need some number or other facts to put in an article … so I just leave blanks and fill them in later. Or make them up. No one will know! Who actually checks facts? Only 2% of readers, that’s who. And it’s a proven fact that 62% of bloggers make facts up on at least a weekly basis.

2. Get outside. If you’re like me, you don’t know what color the sky is right now. I know I’ve gone outside after work only to be astonished that it’s been raining and thundering all day long. There was practically a Biblical flood outside, and I had no clue. Take this blessed opportunity to get away from the computer, and get outside. Take a walk, stretch, look at nature, get some Vitamin D (that’s from sunlight … you remember what that is, right?). It’s good for you.

3. Crank out your smaller tasks. Have a to-do list that stretches longer than your forearm? Here’s a chance to give it that much-needed reduction. Now that you can’t do your main tasks, focus on the smaller ones. Knock them down like tin soldiers. Feel the satisfaction of crossing things off your list. When Internet comes back on, you can make a new, shorter list. One that doesn’t make you cringe.

4. Go visit someone. Anyone. Your coworkers (yes, they look different than their IM icon), your boss, even friends and family. Use this time to get out of your office (or home office) and get some personal contact with someone. Nothing illegal, though.

And please, when you’re visiting someone, please, please, try to resist asking them if you can use their computer to check your email.

5. Relax. We spend most of our days under high stress, from all the work we have to do. And when the Internet connection comes back on, that stress will all come back. But for now, take a break. Get up and walk around, give yourself a neck massage, drink some water, smile. Take a nap. Play with your kid. Walk your dog.

6. Work on that long-postponed project. Is there a project that has been nagging you from your project list, one that you know you need to do but never have the time? Well, guess what? Now’s the time. Your usual work is on hold, so there’s no better time than now. Use this chance to complete the project, if possible, and when you do, you’ll feel better than ever.
7. Use Google Gears. Well, Google’s off-line solution would be a good option if it worked for things like Gmail and Google Docs, but we’re not there (yet), so just use it to catch up on your Google Reader reading for now.

8. Go to the library. And use the Internet. Or go to an Internet cafe. You know that’s the one you wanted to do from the beginning.

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