New experiment: bought a separate, dedicated work computer


Last week I was reflecting on my PC habits and realized something strange: I was using the same computer for productivity/work and recreation.

When I would sit down to write, code, or watch educational videos, I was sitting at the same desk, staring at the same background, and using the same computer I was using to research products I want to buy, random things I’m interested in, and fun things to do on the weekend.

It made me start to wonder if my brain ever experienced the confusion @Nik talked about in his modern typewriter thread. I wondered if when I sat down at my computer to get work done, if my brain wasn’t confused by what kind of mode it should be in. Did my brain even know what to expect? Was it ever fully in productivity mode? Was it ever fully in recreation mode? Or what it always stuck in limbo, caught right in between the two, never able to do either to the best of my ability.

I noticed sometimes when I was working I would get the urge to google some random thought, or look up a book I wanted to buy. Sometimes this derailed me and cost me half an hour or so of time I had set aside for work.

I got to thinking… would I be more productive if I used an entirely separate computer for work than I did for all of my other miscellaneous and recreational tasks?

The thought to me was interesting enough to warrant further reflection, and eventually after giving it some thought, I decided to give it a shot. I decided to purchase a second computer.

I went to eBay and purchased a used mac mini for around $200. I figured this was an inexpensive enough way to try the experiment (as I didn’t need an extremely powerful computer for the kind of work I do anyway) and I also figured I could always return it if the experiment didn’t work.

The choice of mac was deliberate. I use a Windows PC as my normal computer and realized that it would be interesting to not just have two separate computers, but to have two separate operating systems. Visual cues are real and powerful, and I believed that being able to associate macOS with work and productivity and Windows with relaxation/recreation would amplify any benefits that could stem from having two separate machines with dedicated uses.

I’ll let you guys know how the experience goes when my computer goes, and keep you updated on the effects I experience


I have been toying with a similar idea as well, with a work PC that runs on Linux. I am really curious to hear more about your experiences after a few weeks and will keep an eye on this thread.