The time is 7:10am and I’m at my parents place as I usually am on a Wednesday morning.
And I want to talk about the hidden power of uniformity if you are like me and work from several different places.
In a way I guess it sounds obvious that if you keep things the same it’ll help you become more productive when it comes to your work stations and environments.
I wish (for me at least) it was that simple.
So in my instance I work from three different places –
My home, local cafes (let’s make this an umbrella) and my parents place.
Moving between all of them means in practice several things:
- I need to remember to take everything I need with me
- This could be my laptop and other devices –
But this is not always that practical….
I work now from a standing desk at my flat as well as an ergonomic chair when I am sitting and then there’s the under the desk treadmill as well as an elliptical machine for when I’m sitting down.
Not to mention the HD-webcam. Wireless headphones, the spare wired headphones for when the wireless one’s aren’t charged or they don’t pair properly. Then you’ve got the
wireless mouse and keyboard.
This is actually the setup I’m working from right now.
Even now I’m discovering that because the wireless keyboard I’ve bought has additional keys it’s slowing me down from putting words down because it’s simply different to the wireless keyboard I use at my flat.
(I’m at my parent’s house right now)
So that’s causing a slow-down in my net productivity.
Now scale this out….
- Remembering to pack everything for when you travel and need to work remotely
- Thinking about what clothes you’re going to wear
- Thinking about what trainers you’re going to wear
- Having to login to the same tools on a daily basis
For almost all of these things – you’ll realise there’s some layers of redundancies (i.e your willpower, memory and thinking brain) that just don’t add any value to your life.
I’m becoming more and more cognisant of the adage of what Steve Jobs did with wearing the same shirt every time….
Buy several pairs of the same EVERYTHING – if you find something you like – buy 2-7x of them. Buy more.
I’ve now got the same setup (or as close as I can get it) at my parents as at my home. I’m buying two of everything.
I now have a bag in which I permanently keep packed because it’s my ‘coffee shop’ bag – so I’ll walk out the door with it – as I will do later when I head to Costa Coffee.
As you can see it’s got a laptop and my 5g broadband portable hub (well it’s outside at the moment).
So in my backpack I’ve got my old Macbook pro and the hub which I’ll later take to Costa Coffee. Right now I’m working from my Lenovo Thinkpad.
Back at my flat I’ve got a Macbook pro which never leaves the standing desk – and then for when I sit I’ve got another Lenovo Thinkpad so I don’t need to shuffle things about.
Also when I sit and want to watch something on the sofa when I relax I’ve got a Chromebook – which allows me to potentially check something for work also when I’m there.
That’s 5 machines for 5 different scenarios –
- Working at my folks place standing up
- Working at my flat standing up
- Working at my flat sitting down
- Sofa leisurely watching
I evidently need another machine for when I sit down at my parents place.
From a pricing perspective:
- New Macbook #1 (£2.7k)
- Lenovo Thinkpad #1 (£400)
- Lenovo Thinkpad #2 (£700)
- Chromebook #1 (£300)
- Old Macbook #2 (£650)
- Lenovo Thinkpad #3 (£700)
This is almost £5.4k in spend (if I was to purchase them all ‘now’). The machines will last me 3 years minimum I think. So that’s £1.8k per year based upon a 3-year life line OR £150 per month.
If I factor in the keywords/webcams etc let’s raise that to £170 per month or £42.50 per week
When you break it down in that fashion it’s not so bad is it?
I’ll use all of the above investments weekly – and once I go through the initial adoption curve the time saved and productivity it will give me back will compound massively.
Less setup time, less days lost if I ‘forget’ something, less ‘thinking’ time when it comes to packing, more manoeuvrability when it comes to travelling and thinking ‘ah I’ll go to my folks today’. Not needing to take my laptop if I’m going from my flat to my folks place if I don’t want to.
Obviously you don’t need to do the above. Obviously this is about my situation – but the principle is the same.
Use the same web browser, same systems, and build systems for situations you are regularly in and the compound effect of all these micro-adjustments across the entire surface of your life will equate to big wins.