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

Archive for January, 2014

Even less is even more

A few months back, I wrote a post called Less is More about the general state of my relationship to technology things, and how I was contemplating getting a laptop. The idea was that I would eliminate my desk entirely.

A month or so later, after officing with other people (at the company my wife and I founded) for about 7 years, I finally got my own office. In my prior shared office, I had a standing desk which I hunkered over even when standing and it accumulated paper, which I hate. So, I started to think about that was the absolute minimum I needed to work efficiently and in a relaxed posture. I considered a bunk bed with a lounger underneath, I bought and returned a fold-up desk, and even momentarily entertained the idea of hanging a hammock, but instead I settled on this:


It’s the Mac Mini I had on a $30 shelf. It was fairly simple to install and doesn’t hold a thing… which is the whole point. If I had more to spend, I might even mount the monitor into the wall and tuck away the computer altogether. Having no desk is really liberating! Here’s the whole set up:


The mouse and bluetooth keyboard (and my coffee) go on that little side table and when someone comes in to visit, I just pivot my chair and they sit on a guest chair. Then I’ve got a similar shelf just inside the door for my keys, phone, pens, and papers of the moment.

I’ve got to say, there really is something to doing away with the desk altogether combined with leaning back. It changes my whole frame of mind when I sit down to work. I don’t have my phone on me so there are few distractions or excuses. I’ve also managed to get back to 3-5 emails in my inbox, which is lovely.

Even though I had this set-up and was thoroughly enjoying it, I found myself checking the Apple Refurb site for lower cost MacBook Airs. I don’t know… just in case. Cut to Christmas Day, when I opened the gift from my wife expecting a shirt or something and it was a brand new MacBook Air. I was blown away and initially really excited. It was such a nice gift and so thoughtful. But as the hours and days passed, I began feeling a burden about it. What did I need a laptop for? Was I going to start carrying it around with me? Sure, it would be useful, but also work would always with me and the temptation to fall into it.

So, after an apology to my wife, I marched into the nearest Apple Store and returned it. And I felt a weight had been lifted. In the end, the gift my wife gave me was the gesture, a reminder about what I do and don’t need, and permission to go buy a few other things. And I am appreciating my minimal set up and lack of laptop more than ever.

I recommend rethinking and experimenting with your desk and technology in general. Do what works for you!