Maybe You Don’t Need A Laptop For Work

Maybe You Don’t Need A Laptop For Work
Image: Getty

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, affectionately known as @jack to millions of tweeters everywhere, is currently on a whirlwind press tour of Australia talking up the social media platform that he oversees. He was in Sydney this morning and, at a Q and A session he dropped a bombshell: He doesn’t own a laptop.

In perhaps my favourite bizarre news story today, CNET reports that Jack Dorsey doesn’t own a laptop, instead opting to manage all of his daily tasks and routines off of his phone.

According to the report, Dorsey was asked whether he had any security tips akin to Mark Zuckerberg’s tape-over-the-webcam trick. He straight up told the audience he doesn’t even have a laptop, so, yes, that is a pretty solid security tip.

The reason he gave for opting for his mobile phone over his mobile computer stems from productivity – he literally turns off the pop up notifications and goes through his mobile one app at a time, allowing him to focus on that one specific thing as opposed to thousands of competing tabs, tweets, emails, Slack prompts and more.

Look, honestly, that news is enough to sustain me for the rest of the day and get me through this piece – but it raised an interesting point about my own usage, what I do on what device and why. So I started thinking about the past week and where I’d been accessing things and I can totally see where you’re coming from, Jack.

My office laptop is connected to two monitors, meaning my head is constantly flicking between three different panes. Even writing this story, I usually wouldn’t notice how many times I’ve looked away – at Twitter, or videos of the Dark Souls remake, or arguing about whether SOLO is actually any good – but now that I am consciously thinking about it… Well, wow.

I just spent 15 minutes looking at a largely-unmoving Twitter feed for no real reason.

Chiefly, I use my phone on the train in the morning and afternoons and when I’m lazing about at night. It’s definitely a distraction in the late evening, but when I’m working on it every morning, I do feel like I’m laser-focused. It’s a little harder to jump between tabs and any article I am working on, but it also prevents me from bouncing around webpages needlessly.

So from one Jack to another, I back it.

Okay, so there are some real limitations to working on your phone. For many, it’s not practical – and efficiency would drop dramatically working off the tap-touch system, rather than a keyboard.

But if nothing else, Jack’s commitment to his handheld is a good reminder that the key to focusing isn’t just about willing yourself into one task, but setting up your workspace to maximise your efficiency. As soon as I boiled my tabs down to this one screen, I burnt through the rest of this article like Takeru Kobayashi at a hot dog eating contest. There’s a happy medium to find, for sure.

On the other hand, if he just pushed the big red DELETE button on Twitter, that’d probably increase my productivity ten-fold.



  • Yeah personally speaking I couldn’t do my dev work or more broadly the research side of my job on just a phone. If it works for Jack or you, cool, but for the majority I think laptops/desktops are here to stay.

    • This.
      He may not own/use/know what a laptop is, but you can be certain his small horde of minions certainly will, and I’d doubt *they* get the time to peer through their work, one app at a time.

      If using a handheld is more efficient and focus intensive for you than a dual screen, full keyboard laptop, then more power to you, but it’s not particularly revealing, or even smart advice.

      • Indeed, and to be clear

        Even writing this story, I usually wouldn’t notice how many times I’ve looked away – at Twitter, or videos of the Dark Souls remake, or arguing about whether SOLO is actually any good

        Of course being on youtube, Facebook etc is a distraction. That said thats just discipline of not constantly keeping non work related stuff open. That has nothing to do with having a single display or three. You can just as easily get distracted with a single display. For many multiple monitors are vital for having multiple work relevant applications open side by side.

        It’s not a great endorsement for using a mobile phone in place of a laptop.

  • I literally couldn’t do my job on a phone. Writing documents longer than a tweet requires something other than my phone. This is like telling people on a poverty wage they can be vegans, in that one size fits all if you have all the resources to call all the shots. This is absolute rubbish.

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