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.

Vincent van Wylick's picture

Don't fight it

In my experience, trying to impose barriers leads to your mind "procrastinating" in other ways. Maybe laptops are not the most healthy use of your time, but the freedom you get from them are more than a few steps up from a non-mobile workstation. Instead, find ways to enjoy it more in a healthy way. Go to a cafe or mall, sit down and work. I find that having people around me, to sometimes watch, can give me ideas I wouldn't ever have in a dark computer-room.

Also, take holidays from your "work." As Neil Fiore wrote in a book, which was reviewed again on 43folders, just a short while ago, it is vital to take off-time from what you are doing, at least a day a week. I try to find places where I don't need tech. For instance, go visit some museums on the weekend to soak up culture, spend time with people who wouldn't understand your obsession with technology. E.g. I visited my 88 year old grandpa for two weeks, without my laptop. Oddly enough, we had a deep conversation about ways to organise yourself with what he called the best, most portable computer in the world: a notepad.

The point is that technology is here to stay. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't balance out your life in ways that benefit your development. A great way to do that is again to start with reading Neil Fiore's The Now Habit, which is, in my opinion, the only self-help book anyone ever needs to read.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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