I left my computer at home yesterday when I travelled to a client’s office for a workshop. I’ve done the same today and left my computer at home while I work out of a coffee shop. It’s been liberating – and not just for my back. 

Instead, here’s what I’m using to work:

  • My trusted Moleskine
  • A set of Staedtler Fineliners
  • Black Finepoint Sharpie 
  • Artefact Card Field Kit. 

The purpose of doing this is to prevent myself getting distracted by a screen. I’ve purposely put my phone in my bag so I can ignore it – this is the first time I’ve taken it out in just over an hour; that timescale in this day and age is tantamount to a geological period. 

So, what have I achieved? Well, in the last hour alone I’ve made great progress on a project I’d got stuck on, sketched ideas out for a client brief, composed some points for a strategy piece required for Friday, and stared out of the coffee shop window for a total of 10 minutes or so. 

In that last hour, I’ve definitely missed several hundred Tweets, about 40 [mostly mediocre] LinkedIn blog posts, 31 emails (none urgent) and a text. But little else. 

I’ve managed over the course of 48 hours to read three magazines, most of a paperback book (249 pages of 402 so far), write three short story drafts, sit and listen to the sounds around me, let my mind drift, and a host of other things.

In short, I’ve recharged, taken on new fuel (not including the coffees) and recalibrated my mind and mindset. I now feel raring to go on the next set of challenges heading my way this week. 

I recommend that everyone take an hour away from their screens (on top of your lunch break; maybe skip that unnecessary meeting) and just be. Find something different to do, ignore anything that’s work-related, chat to a stranger, write or draw something. Get back to using simple tools. 

Chances are, you’ll not only feel better, you’ll get more done when you do start again. Because unless your job is literally life or death, things can wait.