My Mobile Life - Pt 1 - Creativity
I’ve realized that as much as I would like to sometimes be untethered from our modern digital world, I probably participate in it far more than the average joe.
As someone without an office, more and more of my life and work has moved into my smartphone. I used to use my phone for calls, texts and emails, and then use a laptop for most of the serious work. However, in recent months, I find that I’m using my phone for nearly everything outside of being a hairdryer.
On my laptop, I often struggle with the “multitasking trap” where I’m constantly switching between spreadsheets, documents, multiple gmail accounts, and some random article (or 3) that was recommended to me. I have a tendency to switch from one to another whenever I’m momentarily confused or uncertain. Don’t know how to phrase that email? Switch to reading about Elizabethian politics. Confused on what some financial report means? Ignore it and make a graphic for a web page instead. Trying to figure out a conclusion to a presentation? Drop it and call someone to chat.
My phone has become my refuge for single focus work. Nearly all of my writing starts on my phone, along with most of my substantive email communication, scheduling, social media, and daily tracking (finances, exercise, etc). However, my phone lately has been hugely useful for my creativity, which a large portion of what people pay me to do.
For me, creativity is nearly always a battle of momentary inspiration followed by many minutes of work punctuated by random daggers of frustration. On my laptop, such a scenario can easily lead to me staring at Facebook or watching some G-d-awful Upworthy video.
However, the reality is that those random bits of frustration is often only a few seconds or a minute long. If I can sit with my confusion for a few moments, I can usually I find the answer I need to continue. I find it easier to do that on the tiny screen of my phone. Hence, I nearly always complete creative projects faster on my phone with a Bluetooth keyboard than when I use my laptop.
Now, I know many people who would find working on a tiny screen balanced on your lap while you tap away at a flimsy plastic keyboard a poor excuse for a work environment, and I would agree. But I will say I have written more in waiting rooms, carparks and stolen easy chairs than I ever thought possible. For me, making a random rooftop with a good view my temporary writing desk beats having an office anyday.