Access DeniedTwo words. That’s all. The phrase they make up is small. Tiny, even.  The impact it has – on my personal inspiration and on productivity – is enormous.

I’m talking about the phrase: Access Denied.

In my old life (working at an ad agency) I could look at anything. And I mean anything. Even rude things clearly marked NSFW – although I suspect that anything more than the briefest view of certain content would have been met with a brusque call from someone in IT. I can’t say for sure.

Now, I see two words and a brief explanation. The two words that will haunt every click I make from this day forth: Access Denied.

Almost everything I used to look at is now unavailable. This has its positives and its negatives. Let’s deal with the latter first.

Negatives

The easiest way to get around the access issue is to use my iPhone. The downside to doing this is I’m using up my meagre allowance of 1GB of data that O2 lets me use each month. And I’m doing it at speed, having already burned through a fifth of it in three days. This is, however, having a positive effect, more of which later.

I also run my battery down a lot. It’s okay, I am allowed to plug in my charger.

I can’t access links that I think would help me in my job. This isn’t about social networks – I can, funnily enough, access them – it’s about URL shorteners. They are the bane of my life now as they all bring up the dreaded phrase, even if the link behind them is useful to me.

I’m not being as creative as before. This is a moot point, though. My new job is less about massive campaign ideas and big thinking and more about delivering a solid message in either a tactical execution through a number of channels, or a slightly smaller idea related to a big brand thought. If that makes sense.

Positives

There are a few positives I’ve noticed from my decreased usage of the Internet. In no particular order:

I’m writing more. A lot more. Not necessarily for this blog or for work, but for personal pleasure. I have definitely managed to blog more – I have more time to think and consider things, after all; I’ve also written a couple of short stories that I felt awake enough to finish. There will surely be more.

I’m also reading more. I mean, I always read a lot anyway, but now I’m getting through books and magazines quicker than before. Devouring them. All this despite having a short commute on a packed train. It’s because I’m using my time effectively instead of wasting it online. There’s a positive side to one of the negative points.

I’ve got out of the office much more. Even with the terrible weather it’s worth getting out of the office to see the sites that the City of London has to offer. St Paul’s Cathedral is up the road, for example. Tower Bridge a short ride on my push-along scooter. I intend to do more walking/scooting around the area as the weather improves. Not to mention use my leaving gift of a Tate subscription to get to see more art – the Tate Modern is one bridge up from my new location.

I’m sleeping better. Probably not because of being denied access to things, but it’s something I’ve noticed since I stopped looking at a screen as much as I used to. Actually, considering my commute is a quarter what it used to be and I’m not using a computer as much as I used to, I’m actually more tired. Perhaps I’m playing catch up?

So, that’s it. The positives and negatives of two words. They drive me mad, but they are also having positive effects on me in the short-term. Let’s see what happens in a month or two.

Watch this space, as the old adage goes.

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