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How to divorce your laptop

If you're in a soul-sucking marriage with your laptop, you're not alone.

Last week, I confessed the details of an embarrassingly codependent relationship with my laptop.

It’s with me virtually everywhere. On the bus, at work, at home, in bed. And yes, it even goes with me to the toilet.

In desperation, I begged you, fellow 43 Folders readers, to share your experiences and tips for breaking up with a laptop. Many of you empathized, offering very useful suggestions:

Here are my five favorite strategies for dumping the old silicon ball and chain:

  1. Create laptop-free zones
    Just because you can take a laptop everywhere, doesn't mean you should. To reduce laptop usage, designate areas in the home where laptops are forbidden. This includes the bed, sofa, and yes--the toilet.

  2. Park it
    You can even go further and allow laptop usage in only one location in your home. [Zac Garrett](http://www.43folders.com/people/zac-garrett "Zac Garrett") suggests getting an external monitor to essentially convert your laptop into a permanent desktop. The hassle of disconnecting all the wires makes you less likely to remove your laptop for trivial, non-urgent reasons.

  3. Go wired
    We love wi-fi, but it's a very convenient excuse for laptop abuse. To really park your laptop, Chris Bowler advocates getting rid of the wireless router and replacing it with a standard wired one. That way, it's impossible to take it with you to the bathroom. ;-)

  4. Set a laptop a curfew
    In addition to physical barriers, set a curfew for your laptop. Matheepan Panchalingam creates a house rule: "no computer use after 7:30pm for any reason, with the exception of days I am “on call” and may have to remote connect to a server somewhere." If you're weak-willed like I am, bring in heavy duty tools such as MacMinder to limit your computer time.

  5. Get a real desktop
    For a real divorce your laptop, it's time to start a new relationship with a real hunky desktop. Gunnar Þór Hafdal replaced his laptop with a new iMac and now rarely touches his laptop. Instead of an unhealthy marriage, they're now just friends.

Thanks to everyone for the sage advice.

About Chanpory

Chanpory's picture


Chanpory helms LifeClever, a blog about design, productivity, and "life hacks." During the day, he's an interaction designer for Dubberly Design Office in San Francisco.

He's also pushed pixels for MetaDesign, MoveDesign, Youth Radio, and McShane Adigard Design (MAD). When not feeling modest, he likes to brag about his interaction and branding work for Macworld, PC World, Symantec, Adobe, Yahoo!, and Four Seasons Hotel.




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