Do you need an effective way to help keep your focus on your work? Unplug from the internet. You know it works.
But first, you’ll need to set up your computer with a few essential tools that will help you get a big chunk of your work done offline. Let’s round up 10 potential ones for you.
1. The App Where You Get Most of Your Work Done
In which app do you get most of your work done? It might be a code editor if you’re a developer, a graphics editor if you’re a designer, or a photo editing suite if you’re a photographer.
The primary app your work relies on is probably a desktop program and doesn’t need an internet connection anyway. That’s one thing sorted.
If you’re using an online app, enable any offline features it has. Ask yourself if there are any tasks you can finish offline or if you can switch to a desktop app that provides similar features.
2. A Read-It-Later Tool
You’ll need a way to collect and organize information so you can look it up even when you’re offline. You have a few ways to make this happen.
In some cases, you might want to save complete web pages to your computer. If you can’t do without the full content of a particular website, you can also download the entire website for offline reading.
How about turning useful web pages into PDFs with the Print Friendly bookmarklet? It cleans up the page for you and also allows you to zap unwanted elements in the preview before printing.
3. An Email Client
If handling emails is part of your job description, you can do it offline with a desktop app. Pick from these five desktop email clients that don’t cost a dime. Deal with the actual sending and receiving email tasks when you’re back online. Gmail users on Chrome, read our guide to set up Gmail for offline use.
4. A Note-Taking Tool
It’s important that you have a catch-all app for recording ideas, storing useful information, copy-pasting text snippets, and so on. Whether you prefer a simple text editor, a versatile note-taking application or a word processor is secondary.
Find a tool that comes with offline support or as a desktop client. Begin your search here: five auto-saving notepad apps for every platform. For capturing ideas, you can also choose an offline mind mapping tool.
5. A Task List
Having your to-do list front and center gives you a clear picture of what you need to do for the day. It also helps you rearrange your tasks on the fly when you need to.
While you have an endless supply of to-do list apps to pick from, we recommend that you keep your task list super simple. Pen and paper make for the best offline tools for writing to-do lists. Even your note-taking app or a text file will do.
6. A Timer
Time blocking is the secret weapon for better focus. It reduces stress by limiting specific tasks to specific blocks of time during the day. If you use this method or if you prefer to work with a countdown going on in the background, you’ll need a timer app.
7. An Office Suite
Whether you need an office suite and whether you need a high-powered one at that depends on the nature of your work.
But if you don’t need a complete suite, you can install a basic word processor, spreadsheet program, and a presentation tool as standalone apps only if you need them. For example, if you need only a word processor, get AbiWord (Windows, Linux) or Bean (macOS).
8. A Screen Capture and Annotation Tool
Your operating system already comes with a screen capture tool and it works offline. Learn how to use it and memorize its keyboard shortcuts.
If you want an app that’s more versatile, install an app from a third-party developer. We recommend Monosnap and Jing, which work on Windows and Mac. Linux users, Flameshot may be just the tool you’re looking for.
Won’t settle for anything less than one of the best and most powerful? Spend $50 and get Snagit, which is also from the developers of Jing. You can try the app before you buy.
9. A Project Management Tool
What projects do you have in the pipeline? Which activities need to go on your task list? What comes next in your current project? To track the answers to such questions at a glance, you need a project management app. Get creative here.
Check whether your current app has an official or an unofficial desktop client. Or repurpose a desktop app to also manage projects. You can also install a browser extension that works offline.
If you use a popular tool like Evernote, Trello, or Google Keep, with a little research you can find a way to get it on your desktop. For example, you can install Evernote’s official desktop app. Likewise, you can install Google Keep’s Chrome extension, which works offline.
10. A Playlist for Working
If you like to work to music, you might have a “productivity playlist” already. Ensure that it works offline or find a way to make it so. Of course, the music doesn’t have to be on your desktop. You can let it run on your cell phone in the background instead.
Do you prefer ambient sounds over tracks?
You have apps to generate those sounds sans an internet connection. Noizio ($2.99) does the trick on Mac. Focusli and Anoise are good options if you’re a Linux user. Try Sleep Bug or White Noise if you use Windows. You can also download ambient sounds as MP3 files from websites like SimplyNoise.
Ready to Unplug and Get Some Work Done?
Going internet-free when you’re working may not be a hundred percent possible if you’re a digital worker. Your work relies on getting information from the web in some form after all. You might also need online services for various tasks. The point is that if you’re determined to work offline, it’s not as difficult as you think. Give it a try!
If you’re a Chrome user, you have a definite advantage here, because you have the best and most varied extensions and apps for working offline.