isolation experiment pt. 1

I’ve successfully completed my isolation experiment. It lasted 9 days, from Sunday to Monday. It had many positive effects on me, but first the preliminary details:

The isolation consisted of:

– no contact of any kind with almost anyone from my life in Serbia (no cell-phone, email, Facebook, MSN).

There were two planned exceptions: my family (you sort of have to tell them you’re alive every now and then) and a colleague with whom I’m doing a very important project which couldn’t bear the isolation (I opened a new email account just for this correspondence with him).
An unexpected exception was Sunday 19th, because I realized that Google’s big idea project http://www.project10tothe100.com/index.html had a deadline for Monday, so I had to urgently contact my friend from Serbia with whom I completed the application.

– no unnecessary websurfing, watching TV etc.

This rule came about spontaneously during my isolation. Basically, no youtube, webcomics (which I read a lot) or anything fun and interesting on the web, TV etc. internet was used only for getting information I needed for my work. I made a few small exceptions, but in general I stuck to it throughout the isolation.

As fir the reasons why I decided to isolate myself: I had a LOT of work to get done, while on a visit to my family for some personal matters which required my attention, so the isolation was as much an experiment as it was a necessity to get things done.

So, the impressions:

Since I spend at the very least an hour a day online not doing anything useful, sitting in front of the computer and just working was in the beginning a strange sensation. There’s like this itch in your head telling you to open 7 more windows, check your email, visit Facebook… several times I would open a new window and start typing in an address and I would become aware of it only a moment before hitting enter (my friend calls this the “ctrl-t ctrl-t ctrl-t” syndrome, ctrl-t being the Firefox shortcut for opening a new tab).

However, apart from these moments in front of the screen, the rest of the day I was much more productive. Knowing that I simply have no method of wasting time, my motivation for getting things done was a lot higher. I read several books, wrote the first half of a compilation of tips for youth activism, made a strategic plan for one big project, sent the application for the google idea thing… and even the stupid flu didn’t stop me from working.

This isolation also gave me the time to reflect on some personal issues in my life and, in a way, regroup for the coming semester. I have a lot of work ahead of me and I needed something like this to plan out at least a rough outline of what I should do.
In the second part I’ll write more about the thoughts and feelings that came out after this experiment, concerning isolation, motivation, Facebook, internet in general, how they influence us  etc.

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2 Comments to “isolation experiment pt. 1”

  1. Interesting, dude. Thanks for this. I’d like to read more.

  2. thanks! I’ll write more about it once I see how the situation develops in a week or so. Until then, if you’re interested in some specific aspect of this, do ask!

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