Upgrades
Productivity

Upgrades

February 3, 2022

SHE SAID SHE SAID

Everything new is old again. Eventually. Here's how we negotiate differing viewpoints on what to keep, what to replace, and what to throw away.

Jan

I love collecting things. Especially old things. 

One prized possession is a complete set of Motor Boys books, published in the early 1900s and handed down three generations. I cherish my great-grandmother's china (with tiny dishes for pats of butter), Grandma's donut cutter (rescued from the Goodwill box), and a rolling pin that Mom received as a wedding gift.

My collections aren't limited to antiques. In the past, some were theme-related: Limoges boxes, Noah's arks, chickens, baskets, and sheep. Most lasted until I got bored, moved, or ran out of space. 

When motivated, I have no problem getting rid of stuff that has no sentimental value. I wish I had been sentimental and kept a few things: the '65 Mustang; some original Stars Wars toys; my first Apple computer. 😩 And this segues nicely to today's topic...

I'm typing this on a brand new iMac which I didn't want to buy. My old iMac (not so old, actually) was good enough. Sure, it took forever to start up. The screen was cracked. I had to run Clean My Mac weekly. I couldn't run Adobe programs when anything else was open.

This drove Susan bat-shit crazy (and I'm sure she will elaborate on this point). We have talked about upgrading for months. 

• Susan: "You will be so much more productive!" 
• Me: "I don't want to spend the money."
• Susan: "You would spend it on travel or theater tickets."
• Me: "That's not the point."

As I said, I have a new computer — so you know who won this debate. And guess what? I'm getting more done! I'm not as frustrated as before! The keyboard has touch ID! The monitor is bigger! My computer is blue! (And it looks perfect on my old desk that's decoupaged with travel posters.)

I think I will keep it forever.

Susan

I love tech gear — I'm an unashamed nerd in this regard. I am a Reddit tech channel lurker (yes that's a thing) and YouTube gear review groupie. I would argue posit that these habits have resulted in overall better productivity and improved efficiency. [Cough] at some expense.

In my defense, I am not devoid of appreciation for sentimental collections. I will never part with my father's pharmacy school weights and Bates prescription numbering machine. Sidestory: As a kid, I frequently stamped something while no one was looking...resulting in the next few prescriptions being incorrectly numbered.

I digress. Some weeks before Jan "decided" to upgrade to a new iMac, I had finally purchased the desk I'd been eyeing for a few years, mounted an external monitor, added a new mechanical keyboard (I already had a blazing fast Macbook Pro and THE chair) — and my productivity soared. Not an exaggeration. I've never been so happy at work. Happy = a lotta work being done. Lotta work getting done = happier clients. Happier clients = increased revenue. Increased revenue = happy office. 

Back to the situation. Jan's computer was NOT good enough. The time spent waiting on an [almost every, not just Adobe] application to open was breaking my brain. While we work from our own desks, inevitably we are back and forth reviewing or troubleshooting at each other's workstation. Does anyone on planet earth have time to wait 3 minutes for an application to open? 
And that was just to OPEN the application, not actually work in it. 

[Cue angel choir]. The weight has been lifted. The waiting is over. Jan's new computer is making me even happier than I already am. It's a happiness palooza.

Back to the future. "We" will not be keeping it forever. There will come a time for another upgrade. Shhhhhhhh.

And here's the point.

Everyone has had to readjust in the past two years — home offices are no longer the exception. We were better prepared than many, having worked from home offices for years — but COVID instantly removed the opportunity to break the routine by working from our favorite coffee shop or bookstore. 

But this isn't about home office/work balance. This is about recognizing it's time to upgrade — then doing it. We are actually both pretty conservative about finances. Sometimes we have different opinions about spending money, but we're in complete agreement that better productivity leads to a better quality of life. And that doesn't mean working HARDER — it means working SMARTER.

Remember this equation from last week?

TRUST = RELIABILITY + DELIGHT

This also applies to this week's topic. Having reliable equipment makes a difference in how you feel about work... which affects the quality of work produced...which adds value for the client... which results in trust... which leads to more clients.

Upgrade your computer when:

• You can't install the latest operating software or updates.
• You are constantly running out of space (frequently needing to stop, run Clean My Mac or other tune-up utility program).
• The computer hardware isn't powerful enough to handle what your office routine requires.
• The security system is out of date.
• You feel a sense of dread/drudgery about your computer.
• Your current computer is 3-5 years old (for a laptop) or 5-8 years old (for a desktop).

Article of the week

Everything You Need to Work From Home Like a Pro

Wire's ultimate list of the best monitors, desks, webcams, headphones, and more.
By Julian Chokkattu, Wired Reviews Editor @julianchokkattu

Long before I was forced to stay indoors due to the pandemic, I spent most of my time … indoors. I built a PC in college (with the help of friends), and since then I've continued perfecting my home office setup — switching desks, keyboards, monitors, and more. But when everyone was asked to quarantine, I realized most people don't have a home office setup like mine. 

The pandemic isn't over yet, but remote work is here to stay for many people. So, my fellow folks privileged enough to work from home, below are some picks that might make that work more bearable. Nearly every pick here has been tested by WIRED's Gear team. [click here for the list]

More recommended reading

How Long Do Computers Last? 10 Signs You Need a New One

Should You Buy a Standing Desk?

Two Monitors or Not Two Monitors? That is the Question.

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