For many it was a day to smile. After a long wait Apple decided to grace us with and update for their “Pro” laptops.

We saw speed bumps across the board. We saw more RAM for some models. While many rejoiced I looked and was yet again disappointed.

Apples definition of Pro is broken

The problems start with the new 13″ MacBook Pro when you can’t get a quad core chip on any model that doesn’t have the Touchbar. It continues as Apple thinks that Pro must equal someone that wants the Touchbar because you can only get the fastest 13″ Pro if you also buy in to a poorly thought out screen.

No it’s not a good thing that everything is a screen. Tactile buttons are a good thing in many scenarios and that’s okay. Sticking with a simple interface or toolchain that works is not bad. It’s not showing a lack of progress.

The update to the MacBook Pro line continues to be lack lustre as we look at the RAM bumps. The only way to get more that 16GB of RAM is to go with a 15″ machine.

Clearly all Pro users want 15” of screen. My 10 years using a 13″ device while thinking I was a Pro were misguided.

Then you get pretty much the same terrible keyboard that we’ve had on the Pro line for a while. The keyboard that one of my friends has had in for fixing three times in six months. The same one that another friend returned to move to Linux on a Dell Developer machine.

Sure it has been updated with a silicone collar, but I’m not holding my breath that it’s a fix. Time will tell whether the new keyboard is more mechanically sound and has a better feel that what is currently offered.

For me a $30 Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad continues to feel great and work after years of use. Millions of words written and it still chugs along nicely between myself my wife and my 7-year-old without ever needing to be serviced.

Finally, the apparent thermal limitations of the “fast” processor mean you’re not even getting all that speed you just paid for.

But You Can Be Happy with Constraints

I’m still using a 13″ MacBook Air happily for the few things I need macOS for. I began the year by embarking on getting even more focus in my work. I started to design my work around things that you didn’t need macOS for.

I had been entirely uninspired by the hardware Apple was providing so rather than waiting for it to break up with me, I started to break up with it. Where iOS was making big jumps, macOS continued to have laughable bugs.

I started to design all my work around iOS. iOS lends itself towards focus. Lack of multiple monitors means there was never blank screen I felt like I had to fill. I worked on the single app I was looking at.

In my next book The Art of Focus I talk at length around designing your tools and workspace for focus. You can join my email list to get it free when it comes out.

While I spend more time writing than coding now, iOS is a perfectly capable machine for a developer. It has a good shell client in Blink and documentation is handled by Dash just like it is on macOS.

The constraints provided by iOS helped me be more focused in every area of my work. It helped me be more intentional with every moment I spent working so that I could make better decisions for myself and for my clients.

Defacto Distracted

It’s time ask yourself, are you sticking to a distraction laden workplace because you have momentum? Are you spreading out over multiple monitors just because that’s what people do?

How would you design your working space if you started with a clean slate?

Which devices would you use? Which applications are the best and which of your devices should they be on?

Is your computer a development machine only? Then why are there games on it? Is your iPad for social media and surfing, why is it in your office during work time?

I went through these decisions when I moved my life over to iOS. It meant my phone spent more time in a drawer than anywhere near me because I had Instagram on it. Instagram is the kryptonite of my productivity so like Superman, I keep away from my kryptonite.

A bigger question to address than what your devices are for, is:

Does your work enable the life you dreamed you’d be living?

Sadly for many the answer is no. They life they have has some momentum and they don’t see how to change it. They certainly laugh at all the under 30 crowd that talks about living their passion. They laugh because that crowd usually doesn’t have kids and they went from living with their parents or off the parental bank accounts to living this dream life of travel and passion.

There is an Art to being Focused

If you’re struggling with focus I’ve got something coming for you. My next book is all about The Art of Focus. It’s about how to build a life and work you love without breaking the relationships that matter to you.

It’s about making intentional decisions about what you’re going to do and when you should be doing it. It’s about designing your workspace to suit the work you should be doing.

It’s got 3 easy steps to get there and you can get a free copy when it comes out on August 28th. Sign up so you don’t miss the chance to do something you love again.

Photo by: billward