iPad: workaholic’s best friend?

Hi. I’m Robbie, and I’m a (self-diagnosed) workaholic. Sometimes it’s incredibly handy, sometimes it’s a total burden. It can put a strain on relationships, particularly the one with my far-too-patient girlfriend. Whilst I rarely stop thinking entirely about design and other related nonsense, I do try to cap the amount of time I spend actually engaging with computers in design related tasks outside of my working day at FreeAgent.

When I’m on my laptop at home, the temptation to tinker with an ongoing personal project or realise an idea I’ve had knocking about in my head is constant. “Go on”, my conscience says. “Five—nae ten—minutes”. Ten minutes inevitably turns into an hour. Or two. Lost in another little world, slipping slowly into The Zone.

Finding the right degree of separation, that *balance* between work and home, is one of the hardest things to achieve for anyone passionate about their work. I’ve realised that physical separation from the medium through which I work is the most effective way for me to strike that balance. If I’ve made a pact with myself (or understanding spouse) not to do any work, I don’t want to fire the computer up.

The problem is, the computer is not only a tool I use to realise ideas, but also serves as a lifestyle device. We reply to emails from friends and family, watch TV programmes and films, listen to music, keep up to date with news and accept friend requests from people we don’t even know or like. In our house, the computer is as much of a social enabler as it is a creative tool. Possibly more so. The problem for me is the crossover; the temptation. I’m just too bloody weak-willed.

Like any other Apple drone, I bought an iPad on it’s launch day in the UK. It’s a wonderful device, for all the reasons I expected: it’s responsive, fluid, efficient, beautiful, clever, intuitive yet simple — hallmarks of any successful Apple product. But the reason I’ve fallen in love with it so quickly is precisely the reason most people I speak to don’t ’get it’: it’s position and relevance between the mobile and computer, otherwise phrased as “What’s the fucking point?”.

I don’t want to use my computer as a consumption device because it’s too closely associated with work. I don’t really want to use my iPhone as a consumption or lifestyle device because it’s a pain in the arse to type long emails on and, frankly, is just too damn small to adequately consume any reasonable amount of information on. The iPad makes it a pleasure to surf, read, watch, listen, play, plan and reference. I can turn it off and put it down as quickly as I picked it up. For someone as obsessive and work-hungry as me, it’s beauty lies in the very fact that it *can’t* fully replace my computer. The degree of separation it’s creating between leisure and work is something I’m already feeling the benefits of.

Sent from my iPad (kidding)