Balancing Online Work with Offline Planning

I spend an obscene amount of hours a week surgically attached to my laptop for my work as a writer. I utilise the World Wide Web for research and use email, social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, amongst other essential online functions, on a daily basis.

I refuse however to use an online diary or calendar. This may seem odd for some people, but I am a strict believer in work / life balance. I’m a student at this and haven’t as yet perfected the art but am determined to have some boundaries in place which enable me to effectively step away from the online world.

The beauty of the Dodo Pad for me is that it is large enough for me to fit in all of the to do lists, dates, reminders and more, yet is small enough to be portable so that I can pop it in my handbag and have access to info as required without being sucked into the online world. I work from home so having a boundary line is essential and this is the best way to achieve this.

I once tinkered with online calendars, reminders, diaries, to-do lists and more and found that instead of freeing up time, as any means of organisation should do, it was yet another online tool that had me “popping” online to check something. A quick visit online to check a deadline or meeting date is like just going into the supermarket for bread and milk, it rarely works. With Tesco I leave with three bags of shopping despite going there for two items; with an online organisation system I end up “just checking” an email (or ten!) or finding myself finishing something off. There has to be a line.

I don’t have my work email account connect to my mobile phone for similar reasons and I have to say that by using an offline organisation system, rather than an online one, I have been able to distance myself from work and switch off more effectively.

How do you balance the online and offline worlds? Do you work online and like me find that online diaries and calendars seem to encourage you to spend more time online than is strictly necessary? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Been there and done this! Thankfully the Dodo Pad is much easier to keep a hold of than a scrap of paper.

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