I’ve read quite a bit lately about simplifying our lives–mostly from a personal perspective, i.e. having less stuff, doing fewer things, focusing on the right things. It made me wonder how that translates to the professional level.
Apple, 37 Signals and many other companies make a living making software simple AND effective to use. That’s one way that it translates–on the macro level, but how about on the micro level? What is your absolute minimum work setup where you are free from distractions and free to do everything you need to do? Are there things that initially seem like “extras” that are actually a big deal? Are there things that you have in your workspace that you could easily do without now?
I thought about these things for my job and realized that my minimum workspace is deceptive: My MBP + my iPhone + a chair + a desk. At first it seems simple, but those first two items pack so much punch and are so high end that while they are simple, they are not as “minimalistic” as they sound as the list sounds at first. Within the iPhone I have apps upon apps that help me stay on top of things. Within my Mac, I have my workspace tuned nearly to the pixel on 6 spaces that are specifically arranged–all for efficiency and separation. But I can do 100% of my job from only these tools. Sure, a second monitor helps. Sure, a backup drive is dumb to be without for long. Sure, I like my digital picture frame–but in reality, these items are nice-to-haves–even the backup since DropBox came on the scene–not criticals.
I know several people that this list would be incomplete for. My coworker simply could not be effective without a whiteboard. Another coworker would be rendered useless without the filing cabinets she has.
What is on your list of criticals for your job?