My boss gave me an epic challenge: to survive a day without using the Internet.
After a debate about whether I could actually have a productive day at work without the Web, I decided to give it a shot. I also embarked on this journey for another reason: to defy the notion that millennials spend their days consuming mind-numbing viral videos (baby boomers do too, you know) and snapchatting their friends. Could I go one full day sans Internet? The odds were against me.
My day began at 6 a.m., and I started out strong, if I do say so myself. Normally I listen to a podcast or Pandora on my commute to work, but since those were off-limits, I relied on a good old-fashioned book to pass the time. Once at the office, I was actually expected to work, so I trekked to Duane Reade and bought a couple newspapers to get caught up on what was happening in the world. I had an on-camera segment with Mitch Roschelle, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, coming up that morning, but in anticipation of the interview I had done research and printed the script the day before. The temptations were abundant and anxiety-inducing, but I had confidence that I could exert enough self-control to last a mere 24 hours.
Here are a few of my main takeaways
• It’s really hard to be a reporter without staying abreast of what’s happening at all times (Twitter is my mainstay).
• It’s much harder to look for story ideas at the library than it is to surf the Web.
• I claim I’m not a victim of FOMO (which stands for “fear of missing out” for you older folks), but I definitely had serious FOMO without the Internet.
• I sometimes rely on my computer and phone rather than going out into the world to chase a story.
• So much of my work life is about sending and receiving emails. Despite the compelling arguments that excessive emailing makes us unproductive and destroys our souls, I don’t know how I could function without it.