my tech setup. Creating focus by giving specific purpose to devices

By segregating my devices’ duties I am able to focus on the task at hand, and use the best tools for the right job.

As a tech enthusiast, I have always tended to have more devices than I need. However, as I become more deliberate on what I engage in order to narrow and increase my focus, the same has happened with my use of them. Today, my setup consists of:

  • iPhone. My capture device. I use it to take pictures, video, and stream-of-thought notes. All my communication (email, video, voice and messaging), except for business emails is done here. It also serves as audio content consumption hub (podcasts and audiobooks)
  • Apple Watch. My management device, my daily life’s instrument panel. Carries my schedule and telemetry. It also receives messages from those most important to me.
  • iPad mini. My media consumption device. This is where I consume all printed and video content, and where research is conducted. I only use Safari, GoodReader and Kindle for this purpose. Notes are originally accumulated here and synchronized via Cloud for further processing.
  • Macbook Air 13”. My writing and online presence management platform. My first action after purchasing this laptop was to uninstall all bundled software (I do that with all tech I buy), and only install the best-of-breed applications when I need them. With the latest revamp of the native notes app in El Capitan, I find that it is all I need for writing. This may change as I engage into longer format content.
  • ASUS G751. My gaming and media creation platform. This massive laptop gives me desktop class performance to play any modern game in 1080, and use Adobe Creative Cloud. All I have installed is Steam and ACC, plus a basic suite of system maintenance and performance utilities.
  • Server. A headless Windows 7 box with a 6 core processor, 16 GB of memory and ever increasing storage space. Used to be my chess analysis computer, now relegated to be a file and media server. Also useful when I need to run anything that requires long term processing.

This has worked well for me. My brain is now aligned to a specific task based on the device I am using. This also allows me to keep only relevant apps on each platform, thus eliminating any distractions. It is important to note that email and messaging are only enabled on my iPhone, so even interruptions can be avoided by putting it away, and resting assured that any emergencies will be handled through my watch.

Another benefit is that synchronizing and backing up data is much simpler. Only the Notes app synchs across all devices and is therefore backed up in the cloud. All other content exists in one device only and is replicated in the file server, which in turn is backed up to external drives. All devices can be rebuilt from the cloud and the server, and the server can be rebuilt from the external drives.

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