A Scottish writer Matt Gemmell described a technique of “small screen productivity”. He was talking about either a small laptop or a tablet which doesn’t allow him to see many contexts simultaneously, thus boosting creative output. One window, small screen, no distractions.

I dislike laptops, but can appreciate the benefits of small screens. However, lately I’ve been enjoying another limitation: a small battery.

I got a used Thinkpad x230. Its old battery is not great, and my choice of OS (OpenBSD) made it even worse. I get maybe 2 hours of text editing with zero other apps, no sound, WiFi disabled and screen brightness at 50%. A few days ago I traveled into the city without a charger and managed to write quite a lot. To save battery, I first outline everything in a paper notebook, and when I feel ready, I commit to the laptop.

I know from experience how hard it is to maintain limitations like this in the long run. However beneficial, we always want things to be quantifiably better: longer hours, larger resolutions, bigger storage. I won’t plan to change my life around this approach. I don’t believe in anything like that anymore. It seemed to work this time, so I’ll ride the wave while I can.