Why do I feel weird about having gadgets share features?
One of the problems that I continue to face is why I get so bothered by having gadgets that share the same features or uses. I have been in a weird minimalism obsession after watching The Minimalists years ago with my wife, and I feel like I am just barely overcoming it.
It isn’t that I think minimalism is bad, but I think the extreme form of it can be limiting, and I found myself constantly stressing out over things that didn’t really matter just for the goal of trying to be a minimalist. Some of those stresses included my need to have the perfect technology setup.
For a long time, I thought I didn’t need gadgets that had overlapping functions. My phone was for communication and occasional leisure, but a tablet or TV was for actual leisure. A tablet could also be used for reading, but not if you had a Kindle. If you had a Kindle, then reading should be the exclusive tool.
If my phone and TV were fine for my leisure time, all my reading was being done on the Kindle, and I had a laptop of some kind for more productive tasks, then the tablet needed to go. It was an overlapping tool that was already covered by other gadgets. The idea of having more than one gadget for the same task just didn’t sit right with me.
I have continued this cycle for years. After getting more excited about gaming on my iPad or phone, I sold the Nintendo Switch, thinking it was useless now and didn’t need it. I have sold a ton of laptops and iPads, thinking that having both at the same time was unnecessary and wasteful.
All for the sake of minimalism and focus. Part of this whole minimalist scapegoat had to do with my resistance towards materialism and not wanting to feel like I needed all this stuff to feel fulfilled. But I also felt I would be as productive if I had too many tools to choose from.
If you have a desktop, laptop, and possibly an iPad Pro with a Magic Keyboard, and you want to write, which tool do you choose? The fact that you have to choose could be seen as a barrier to being productive; choices can cause hesitation, which could ultimately lead to nothing getting done. Very catastrophizing thinking now that I reflect back.
Going forward, I am going to try and be better about embracing all of my tools, even if they do have overlapping functionality. I have a great Windows laptop now, and if I get a chance to get a Mac in the next few months, I am not going to feel obligated to just get rid of my Windows laptop.
My wife has not been using the Kindle as much, and I started thinking about using it again to read some Kindle Unlimited books that I have saved. Even though I planned to use the iPad Mini to read, I am not going to feel bad if I choose to use the Kindle for a while again.
The same goes for my iPhone situation. For months, I have been using just one iPhone with two SIM cards, a work-issued SIM, and my personal SIM. Since my family is growing and becoming busier for me, my work-life balance has been a little difficult to manage with my work email and phone number so accessible.
So I am thinking about going back to two iPhones again, even though the idea of just one single phone feels so much more productive and intentional. I am not all of a sudden becoming a maximalist, but I am starting to shy away from needing to have the most minimal setup possible going forward.
I am going to continue buying tools I need or want without the self-restricting need of thinking if it shares some ability as something else that I have that I don’t need or shouldn’t want. I am going to embrace the chaos and just enjoy using my tools instead of feeling guilty about it.