I hadn’t been offline for more than a few hours in two and a half years – and only then because I was on safari in Botswana and had no choice.

Typically, the first thing I would do when I got up in the morning was to get on my laptop to check a series of sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Google Analytics, and HBR.org, to see what comments my blogs had accumulated overnight.

All day long, between doing my main work, I found myself checking one site or another, or reading and responding to email. Far too often, I got right back online after dinner. The lure of email and the Internet had come to feel compulsive, irresistible, and increasingly uncomfortable.

On the evening of December 24th, I decided to see if I could shut it all down for nine days, cold turkey. To my surprise, it wasn’t that hard. What follows are the three key insights I distilled from the experience.