Context Limited Computing

Keep only the main thing on the mainframe.

James Ellis@jamesellisnyc

We’re all looking at our computer screens, trying to think and write and design or code or whatever it may be.

Meanwhile, notifications are buzzing. Discord, Slack, texts, group chats, DMs, emails, cal reminders. Your phone lights up and wiggles around. Your wrist vibrates. You hear an at-mention fire but can’t recall if that was Discord or Slack… so you go hunting only to discover a bot dinging in a long-forgotten tab.

With everything happening, it becomes difficult to maintain focus. An idea of any complexity crumbles as soon you as you start ⌘-tabbing to other worlds. The constant context switching is fatiguing. It’s an awful way to work. It does not feel good.

What may help:

Procure an iPad. Buy a dusty refurb for a couple hundred bucks. Crank up Discord, Messages, or whatever you need, and leave this on all day beside your main rig. Set Display & Brightness → Auto-Lock to 𝙽𝚎𝚟𝚎𝚛.

There’s something pleasing about keeping all this fiddle faddle separate. Keeps you tuned into the main thing. Keeps ideas moving from your mind to the machine. Feels better.


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