43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Laptops: A blessing or a curse?

When I got my first laptop, I loved the exhilarating freedom of whipping it out anytime I "needed" it. No matter where I am, I could work on a project, balance a budget, or play a video game. Years later, despite its "convenience", I'm dangerously married to 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--the perfect time for multi-tasking, right? According to my estimate, I spend twice as much time looking at an LCD screen than high-definition reality.

My laptop, supposedly handy, is now just an easy excuse to work (or procrastinate) at any time, all the time. I need help, and it's time for an intervention.

Do you have an unhealthy marriage with your laptop? Have you switched back to desktops? How have you coped? Please share.

Merlin's picture

Feeling your pain

This is a huge problem for me, and it's something I'm actively working to improve upon. I find it takes a lot of discipline to leave the laptop's potential for use un-utilized.

Put another way, if I take the laptop with me -- like you, it sounds like -- I'll manufacture a reason to use it. Just because it's there, and without regard for whether it's a particularly valuable use of my time at a given moment.

One simple solution is to just not tote it around with me (although the iPhone tends to replace it nicely as the fiddly distractor du jour).

An embarrassing alternative is to give yourself roadblocks. For instance, since it's already a best practice anyhow, consider logging-out everytime you close the lid -- knowing that it will take you even an extra few seconds might slow down the urge.

Very interested to hear what other folks have to say about this.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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