Tuesday, June 24, 2008

offline benefits

Though the feature has been available for some time, the Google homepage has recently been reminding us that we can use Google documents offline as well as online. The biggest benefit, of course, is that our documents are available anytime, anywhere, at any computer, whether or not we have an internet connection.

There is another benefit that may not be so readily apparent: offline means less distractions. A popular litany warns the overly-busy of the dangers of of multi-tasking (here and here and everywhere, for example), a moot point, really, since the linear brain has only a limited means to actually multi-task. It may come down to how gracefully we manage distractions, and how quickly we recover from them.

What is at stake is losing the ability to concentrate for any length of time, when what the mind really wants is to discover the next new thing that might be sitting in gmail or our feedreaders.

The answer is to turn off the internet, and click on the Google docs shortcut icon on the desktop. Try it. You'll get a lot of work done, and at the same time you'll be exercising those resistance muscles.

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