A quest to tame technology-driven interruptions and distractions in my daily life.

Less is more

I am not is a state of Zen. Nor am I in a place of optimal productivity. But I’ve found a modicum of balance—and as a business owner with a wife and young kid… that seems like a big deal to me. When I started on this quest just under three years ago, technology wasn’t working for me. I was worn down and distracted and unable to escape the beeping and buzzing that defined my waking hours.

Cut to present day. I’m still far from what I would consider a model business owner. Or husband. Or dad. Or technology user. But I’m a lot closer to all of those things, and I feel pretty certain that The Off Switch has helped. A lot. And things are much better—and not just in a less distracted way. Marriage, fatherhood, business… all going very well.

Business has been perhaps the biggest surprise. Going in, I kinda thought that it would be the thing that might suffer by me shutting down at 6 and de-teching big parts of my day. It may well be a coincidence, but our best three years have coincided with my three years of The Off Switch. Hmmm.

So this brings me to my latest technology contemplation. We’re restricting things at the office, and I’m about to find myself in a smaller space, perhaps sharing with one more person. It’s a cozy little spot and when I think about working in there, I don’t imagine a desk at all. Instead, I envision a chair and a laptop. Maybe a shelf. That’s it.

Right now, my computing solution consists of an old iPhone with voice and text only, an iPad mini for meetings and leisure, and a Mac Mini at a standing desk in an office I share. The phone and tablet are serving my needs just fine, but the whole desk/computer situation feel… unnecessary. What I like about it is that it is just a workstation that stays at the office and serves a function with no ability to work on it elsewhere. What I don’t like about it is a) the desk is a place to accumulate paper and dirty coffee cups, b) the computer is a little pokey, and c) the whole posture of hunching over a keyboard and mouse feel feels really wrong.

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As usual, whether anybody is reading this or not, I’m using this blog to sort out my options. On one hand, I can just ditch the desk and put the Mac Mini on a shallow shelf or wall-mount set up and position it so I can sit however I please. That’s very inexpensive and there’s no temptation to try to take the computer home or out and about.

Which brings me to the other hand. I’ve been wondering about having my workspace be just a chair or two and a laptop with a side table or something to put a coffee on. Something like a little chatting nook. Of course, I would have to invest in a laptop (a refurb MacBook Air would run me $750) but that not a huge deal. The more troubling aspect of that plan is the ability to take the laptop away from the office—something I willfully gave up three years ago.

I can’t deny that being able to get a little work done on off hours would be really handy. The iPad can accomplish some basic tasks but has its limits—which I mostly enjoy. But to really get down and dirty on some tasks, I need a full computer. What I’m contemplating is: when it comes to the balance of tech… is less more?

What do you think?

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Comments on: "Less is more" (1)

  1. Josh Robins said:

    boy… tough to say. I have lap top… a day job desk top… a music desktop… and a phone with voice/text only. I also have a whole other computer that just sits there that I’m just not using…. even though it’s the newest/fastest of all (it has other issues).

    I think ultimately, when you need to be able to get really detailed, you need that desktop. don’t get rid of it.

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