It’s outdated, slow, loud, hot, weighs enough to hurt your back and has the battery life of a Furbie. It is the craptop; universally known and hated in the remote working world. You’re welcomed into a new company with open arms, new business cards that would make Luis Carruthers jealous (you should definitely look that reference up) and the craptop. It’s password protected by the IT department because downloading a modern browser to replace Internet Explorer will actually cause the downfall of the United States if you’re not careful. It’s everything you could ever want in a doorstop.
Somehow, I managed to forget to take the included 19-foot charging cable with me one morning. I had gone particularly far from home that day to work to enjoy a change of scenery. Without the charger I was stuck to manage my workload on a truncated time table, or return home in defeat. Not being one to shy away from a challenge, I ordered something with more caffeine that I care to mention and got to work. Lo and behold, in the 1.5 hours of battery life that I could squeeze out of that battery I managed to finish almost an entire days work.
Shut Down Email
I shut down my email so no one could interrupt me, I closed as many tabs as I could to save power and I focused on the most important projects to be completed. One very simple mistake resulted in a HUGE boost in productivity. By shutting down my email system, I was able to limit the time I spent dealing with them. For any true emergency my work phone was always on and colleagues would call to handle it quickly, the rest of the emails could wait.
Avoid Time Wasting Sites
Staying away from Youtube should have been the most obvious time saver, but I’m a bit of a sucker for a good blooper real from How I Met Your Mother or The Office. Instead, I made sure to mute my computer, remove the headphones and plug them into my phone and indulge in my Uber playlist. You only need to have driven 1 angry couple around for Uber or Lyft before you realize how important a good playlist can be.
Choosing the right projects has been, by far, the most important piece of this success. I’m a list maker by nature. It’s very satisfying to cross something off your to-do list. I carry my iPhone with me everywhere, but still prefer to write my lists by hand just so I can cross them out. Swiping across the touchscreen just doesn’t have the same effect. But with these large lists I found it easy to spend time working on the less important projects because I could take care of them quickly and enjoy the satisfaction of crossing them out. Conversely, with my quickly fading battery life I had to make the decision to go after the tasks that would bring me the biggest gains, even though it meant I might not cross off as many items for the day.
Since this fateful day I’ve been able to not only lighten my laptop bag considerably, but I’ve increased my output and decreased my working time leaving me precious time to invest elsewhere in my career and other endeavors. All this, thanks to the all-to-often unsung hero; the craptop.