I tried a similar experiment in 2015, it’s definitely worth trying if never done before. I read more books that year than any previous year, and also more than any year since then. Unlike the author I didn’t have any special setup to supplement my offline experience, with the exception of a collection of Debian CD’s so that I could still install new software via apt.
I used to read e-books on my mobile phone, but notifications diverts attention, and there was too easy getting distracted by internet.
But after getting a dedicated E-Ink e-book reader, I have noticed my focus on reading improving dramatically. But I still need to put the phone and laptop somewhere else to keep from getting distracted by notifications.
Mayhaps more an issue of keeping self discipline up, but hey whatever works and small steps and so…
Would turning off internet on your laptop for a specific time every day have the same effect?
The hard part would be the self-control. I’m finding that improving my “study habits” without cutting off the internet altogether is more useful for me, since I almost always have an internet connection. The human tendency to want to constantly be searching and stashing away information is difficult to get over but it’s possible while still staying connected.
Do you have some techniques/tricks you can share that seem to work for you for “improving your self-study habits”?
I would suggest starting with the Pomodoro Technique (maybe do 15 min work/5 min break to start). I got a good book on it called Pomodoro Technique Illustrated that emphasizes the importance of consistency and all of the surrounding ideas (like making good to-do lists, what to do with interruptions, etc).
You’ll automatically want to stay focused on the topic at hand during the first part of the time. Keeping up the enthusiasm for whatever you’re working on is much easier when you don’t feel like you are allowed to slack off and you know an exact time when you will be allowed to.
I count “mindless internet browsing”, regardless of the topic, to be slacking off. When you’re in work mode, you can still be working on something fun.
I don’t think I would enjoy using an offline laptop, but I might enjoy having some sort of limiting with regards to speed (dial-up?) and time spent with the network link open. That would encourage me to use the network more efficiently and I think that would be a fun challenge.
I’m really curious. I want to say that this looks really interesting to me and I’d like to try (likely not posible at corporate day job) and I really think I would enjoy this.
What parts of the experience do you think you would not enjoy?
I would probably miss not being able to catch up on RSS, email and IRC from time to time.
I often read documentation and think about cool projects I could do with it, but I seldomly bother to actually go through with it. Being offline would probably trigger me to actually do some projects. Maybe I would enjoy it after all?