The iPad is Too Good

As I focus on my information diet, I’m going to make a conscious effort to use my iPad less.

The reason: I like it too much.

I was an early adopter of the iPad, and as its capabilities expanded, it evolved into my preferred device for most tasks and activities. I’ve even done the obligatory experiments with going iPad only, but there are certain aspects of my job that still require a Mac.

As a result, I do a lot of context switching between my Mac and iPad throughout my work day, which has a very negative effect on my focus and productivity. It’s utterly embarrassing to complain about how choosing between the two amazing computing devices sitting on my desk is dragging me down. But the decision fatigue is real for me. And because I like the iPad so much, I often try to use it for things I shouldn’t, only to begrudgingly shift to my Mac halfway through the task.

During stretches of pure information consumption, the iPad wins hands down. But it’s too good. I love iOS, and glorious and immersive third-party apps bring it all to me: Twitter, RSS feeds, mainstream news, sports, YouTube, and so on. There are also great tools for things I want to be doing more, like writing, photography, and cooking, but I don’t find my way through the gauntlet of delightful diversions to these things often enough.

It’s also a wonderful physical device and so damn easy to carry around the house. If I’m walking over to relax in a chair for a while, how can I not bring it? And now that it’s here, why don’t I unwind by pumping a firehose of content and information at my brain. It’s so good, but so very bad.

I’m not going to get rid of my iPad. I’m just going to try to keep it on the shelf by default and pull it down for specific tasks that I know it’s the best tool for, such as marking up documents with the Apple Pencil.

As for consumption, I’m going to try to shift more of it to:

  • More intentional periods of web and RSS consumption on my Mac, preferably limited to time at my desk
  • More time reading books and long-form articles on my Kindle
  • More use of my Apple TV for sports and other video content (without my iPad sitting on my lap as a second screen)
Doug Lane @douglane