Notes from a Floating Life Thoughts about productivity, digital living, and leading a simpler life

It's All About What You Need to Do

I take a lot of criticism for some (well, many) of my ideas and choices. Criticism is nothing new —I’ve been getting it from all corners for most of my life. I can handle it.

What I shake my head in disbelief about is some of the backlash I receive. After writing something or giving a talk, I invariably get responses like I can’t give up this or that. When I go back over what I wrote and said, I can’t find phrases like you need to give up … or you must adopt … anywhere. It’s just interesting how people interpret some things or read between lines that aren’t there …

I realize, and have realized for some time, that there is no one universal path for anything. There is no solution that’s right for everyone. You need to use the tools and approaches that are best suited for what you need to do. In recent years, I’ve been following that advice more and more. And, predictably, taking a lot of heat for it. I was an early adopter of netbooks. I’m an enthusiastic user of a Chromebook. And, if you’ve been reading this space for any amount of time, you know that I advocate doing work in plain text.

The criticism I’ve been subjected to for making those choices has ranged from the silly (How could you buy one of those?) to the misunderstood (It can’t do this or that, so why use it?). The latter kind of criticism is more valid than the former, but only just. Why? The reason I adopt the technologies and the approaches that I do is because those technologies and approaches work for me. They’re suitable for the tasks that I need to carry out.

It’s that suitability for my tasks that sways me. Not flash. Not functionality (whatever that is). Not popular opinion. Not something that’s big and heavy and does more than I’ll ever need it to do.

To be honest, it doesn’t matter if my phone doesn’t pack a multi core processor or a death ray. It doesn’t matter if my portable computer doesn’t have a cutting-edge graphics card. It doesn’t matter if the software I’m using to write doesn’t have features that rival those of Microsoft Word. Everything I use lets me do my work in the simplest, fastest, most efficient, and most portable way.

I understand that the right tool for the task will differ from person to person. What works for me might not work for you.

But you never know whether or not something will work for you until you give it a serious try.

Thoughts? Let's start a conversation on Twitter.

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