I live in a time where everything I do can be done on a piece of electronic equipment that weighs so little as to be barely noticeable in my backpack.
I can write and publish, design and “paint,” chat and talk, compose and produce music, and share and read information all from one convenient location: anywhere.
But until recently I haven’t even had the desire to take advantage of this possibility. Instead, I’ve bogged myself down with powerful, heavy technology that does the same thing in slightly less amounts of time or with moderately less pizazz.
The million peripherals.
A desktop computer is a massive thing. You wouldn’t want to take it anywhere – even moving it between rooms and plugging it back in to itself is a David Hassle and a Half.
- 22″ Monitor
- speaker (1 of 5)
- surround sound sub/amp
- 17″ monitor
- microphone stand
- Rode Podcaster mic
- plastic boxes full of collected wires, boxes, miscellaneous unneeded nic-nacs
Total power outlets required? Too many. Total power consumption? 300-400 watts. Space required? A whole room.
That’s from a few days ago, just before I decided to leave my prized contraption – complete with a newly added $200 graphics card – in the living room, and move my work onto a new laptop. A decision a long time in the brewing, encouraged by a great bunch of blogs I catch up on regularly.
This mightn’t seem like a “minimalist” move in itself as I’ve just added something else to my life. But my plan is that I can get used to doing everything from the laptop and its TINY 13″ screen, I can get rid of the crap that’s filling our studio/house/garage/hovel/dwelling.
Here’s the after shot, which includes everything I plan on needing to run my life and blog design business:
Power outlets required? One. Total power consumption? Max 6-20 watts.
I think the benefits of this change can be assumed… more mobility, a much lighter environmental footprint (I’m starting to cringe to think about all the power I’ve been using in contrast), and a cleaner, simpler working area.
Here are the challenges I think I’m going to face:
Working on a 13″ screen
Looking down at the screen (rather than eye-level).
That’s about it really, everything has been pretty much plain sailing so far. All my software works as required on the basic 2.4ghz/4g-ram MacBook Pro – I can still fire up my favourite game (albeit at less quality than on the recently beefed up desktop – but when you’re playing, who cares, and anything to get me spending time more fruitfully!).
All in all I am very pleased with the decision I’ve made and the money I’ve spent. I can throw my entire life into a bag and walk out the door at any time, with no loss to my ability to perform my work (although I am getting used to the screen, as I mentioned).
The MacBook Pro is a surprisingly awesome machine by the way, and I’ll be reviewing it shortly from the perspective of a mobile digital professional. I’m still learning how to use a new operating system (a blast in itself for a nerd like me).
The meaning of it all
I’ve been ‘topping up’ my desktop for years, thinking “if I only had this… I could do that.”
On some level, each time I told myself I needed to expand my tool kit to do something new, I knew I was kidding myself. I just like technology, and an onlooker would assume that I really don’t like having money.
What I was trying to do was fill a cup with no bottom. Instead of just getting what I need to done, I looked for external excuses for my procrastinating and self-doubting. Anything but sit down and work.
I happily feel as if I’ve turned a new leaf. I feel liberated and inspired, not only because I’ve physically unburdened myself, but because I’ve accepted full responsibility for making shit happen. I’ve removed the food of the monster that says it needs more to ship (are you tired of people using Mr. Godin’s words yet?).
What does the future hold? Who knows. There are a million other ways I’m still a burdened and crippled human being. There are new aspects of life to clean out and refresh.
Thanks Danpryor for the sexy leaf.