Device Domains

August 18, 2012

Up until recently I’ve tried to keep my 3 main computing devices (Macbook, iPhone, iPad) all capable of doing the same things. I installed twitter, feed reader, and even Kindle apps on the laptop, and attempted to use text editing, server monitoring, and IM apps on the mobile devices. It’s the future! All of my devices should do all of the things, right?!

The unintended result was a mediocre experience on the domains that didn’t make sense for the device. This is a kind of poison to person who spends most of their time on one or the other. Overall productivity was down when it should have been up, and I found my reading and gaming going down.

So, after upgrading my laptop just a couple weeks ago I decided to try and keep specific domains to my devices.

  • Macbook: Work, email, IM
  • iPhone: Gaming, Twitter, short-form reading
  • iPad: Gaming, long-form reading

Here are a few changes in behavior I’ve noticed:

  • Whenever I’d get to a tough take-a-moment-and-think problem while coding, I’d context switch to Reeder or Twitter — no more!
  • I am finishing a lot more long-form reading
  • I am experiencing a lot more games (I’m not finishing them all, but that’s a whole other blog post)
  • I’ve rediscovered the beauty and utility in each of the devices

The end result: I’ve noticed a huge difference in my productivity since adhering to these domains. The lack of context switching when I’m on a device increases focus tenfold. Also, when I use a device in a way that really makes the most of its form factor and capabilities, I feel like I’m in my stride. I’m not swimming upstream anymore, so to speak.

So, I’m going to try my best to keep Twitter and Reeder off my laptop, and work off my mobile devices. You should too if you don’t already!