Earlier this month, we went offline for 48 hours.
I know. It's hard to believe, isn't it?
But here's the thing: it has changed how we do business.
In this post, you'll learn:
- why we decided to disconnect
- what we did instead, and
- why we are going to keep disconnecting
Why We Decided To Go Offline
While there is internet in the lodges on the principal islands (Santa Cruz and Isabela) we knew we were going to be offline for a while when we returned to Floreana Island.
The last time we visited we were completely offline.
There was no cell or internet signal. And just a couple of tv channels, although we didn't watch any.
During our brief (two day) stay on Floreana Island, we hiked and snorkeled. Floreana is the least populated of the populated islands – with just 120 inhabitants.
This time we stayed for parts of 3 days. After we arrived, we were told that there was now internet on the islands. But we decided to stay offline the whole time. We left Santa Cruz Island at 2pm on Friday and we didn't connect again until we arrived on Isabela on Sunday afternoon around 2 pm. So we went a full 48 hours offline: no cell, internet, radio or television.
Why Go Offline?
Being online tends to consume more time than it should. And social media isn't the only culprit.
There is always one-more-thing to do: a newsletter with a compelling article to read, comments to approve and respond to, or a report to send. Sometimes it feels like we never go offline.
What Did We Do During Our 48 Hours Offline?
We stayed really busy. Floreana is an amazing place.
As a family, we couldn't have been happier. We just focused on each other. Not that we don't usually, but working online (and from home) tends to be all-consuming. Disconnecting was so refreshing.
Here's what we did during our 48 hours offline:
- traveled from Santa Cruz Island to Floreana Island by speed boat (and saw dolphins)
- hiked to the pirate caves (yes, the “Arr, matey, do ye need more treasure?” kind) and saw the giant tortoises in the highlands of Floreana
- snorkeled with sea turtles, sea lions, and thousands of fish
- walked with marine iguanas (and watched them eat underwater)
- ate amazing pizza (a real surprise to find a pizza shop on a tiny isolated island)
- interviewed members of the Cruz family – the orignal Ecuadorian settlers on the island
- traveled from Floreana to Isabela Island
And while these things are amazing on their own – it was even more special to share as a family. (Subscribe to the Red Mangrove blog to see details of everything we did while on Floreana Island.)
Our 48 Hours Offline Video
Here is our video montage of what we did while we were offline.
How Did Our Business Do?
We actually didn't publish anything during this time, although we easily could have with the post scheduling option in WordPress.
Our blogs had more than 20 comments waiting to be approved. We received some offers (reviews and paid writing assignments) for both GringosAbroad and CultureSponge.
Being in the Galapagos for a week and a half meant that we weren't online much at all. On our last full day in the Islands we did the draw for the Baby Giants Contest that we produced for Red Mangrove. Filming, editing and sharing the video took almost 6 hours. Aside from this time, we didn't spend more than 4 hours online over the 11 days – and no time over our 48 hours on Floreana.
My online business site (About.com) actually posted its highest numbers yet. We made hundreds of dollars online while we literally did nothing. It is one of the things we love about our online business.
Just What Do We Do Online?
We aren't really typical internet users. We only use social media for work. In fact, we don't even use a personal Facebook profile. Because of using it for so many sites and clients we sort of suffer from social media fatigue and prefer to communicate via email or Skype with family and friends. Of course, in person is even better.
Here is what we do online:
- post blogs
- approve / respond to comments
- respond to offers and inquries
- email (business and personal)
- check business stats (traffic and affiliate earnings)
- social media (limited, primarily for our blogs)
Even though we were working during this time, we realized how good it was for our family to go offline.
Because of running our own business, we feel that we need to always be available. Available to respond to comments, inquiries and to interact on social media.
But the fact is: it isn't necessary!
We were hardly online during our trip and nothing fell apart. In fact, our businesses continued to produce just as good as ever.
As a result, I have decided to go offline for 48 hours every week.
Since returning from our trip, I have set aside 48 hours every week to go offline. I find that my stress level has gone down and I enjoy my family and our work even more. Parkinson's Law is powerful.