So, I succeeded in staying offline for twelve hours. When I finally logged in, less than three minutes after time was up, it felt a little bit like coming up for air.
What I did is I took my phone, my laptop, and the Internet cable for my desktop, and I locked them in the drawer of my filing cabinet. Then I took the key to the filing cabinet and stood on a chair to place it on the top of this high shelf in my office. Then I moved the chair to the opposite side of the room. I understand it would be better if I could just say to myself "Sasha*, stay off the Internet," and have that be sufficient for me stop misusing this device I must use for my work that also happens to be the most wondrous distraction device ever created in the history of man. Instead I must assemble more elaborately engineered strategies for self-restraint. Whatever, it worked.
The actual experience of being off the Internet has been quite pleasant, which may seem weird to say considering the whole problem is my compulsion to be on the Internet. The impetus for this has been a deadline for a paper I'm massively behind on, which is stressful, and yet it's also felt strangely a little like a vacation. Aside from quelling the compulsive checking itself, it also keeps my cognitive space from being colonized by any crises or other developments that can trampoline from my inbox into my brain at any moment if I'm continually monitoring e-mail.
I'm not sure what tomorrow's plan will be. Someone in the comments of the last post mentioned the problem that it's hard to work on the references part of a paper if one is not online. This is correct, and part of what I need to work on the references part. I do want to schedule in one long offline stretch though.
* Apparently Beyonce also refers to her special self as "Sasha." One more point of evidence for the theory that she and I and Sarah Vowell are soulmates.