As you all probably know by now, I am a tablet fiend. No matter how useless or overpriced they may be, I genuinely believe that they have a place in this world. They're more portable but less functional than a laptop and easier to work with than a smartphone in more ways than one. Nonetheless, people still view them as toys or simply media consumption devices.
Being in my position, however, I do not have a lot of time for entertainment or consuming media. I spend a lot of my time working and coming up with ideas. When I'm not doing that, chances are, I'm still sitting behind a computer, coding or writing for the somewhat ridiculous English class I'm enrolled in. In short, I write ... a lot. And I spend a large portion of my time awake behind a computer.
Sitting behind a computer for several hours at a time and calling it work doesn't sound so bad, especially after doing my time in retail – there is nothing else I would rather be doing. But those hours pass quickly, which isn't a terrible thing either – that is, if you don't have a lot of work to do. Each day, I have to manage to string some 2,400 odd words together in a few coherent articles about a multitude of topics. This means I also have to do quite a bit of research and fact-checking, too. It's all very time-consuming.
A typical (though no two days are alike, at least not enough to constitute calling any work day "typical") work day for me can run anywhere from six to 12 hours. In this time it is very easy to get distracted by email, caught up in a Twitter conversation and carried away in research. Essentially, I have lost a lot of productivity to my ever-increasing hamster attention span disorder. Last week, I started a search for a way to boost productivity and hopefully spend less time wasting away precious hours of daylight. I have spent far too many nights working until 2:00 AM, when I should have finished around 6:00 PM. (Yeah, it has gotten a little out of hand.)
After considering several different options, I ended up stopping by the local Best Buy and picking up a Bluetooth keyboard on my way home. I had no idea why I bought it other than the fact that I severely miss my Transformer and having a physical keyboard to go along with my tablet. I paired it with my Galaxy Tab and started tapping away at another article. Instantly, I realized what I have really been missing: concentration.
Tablets can multitask quite well, but nothing to the extent of a desktop OS. I realized that while writing from my laptop I have the tendency to stop writing and switch between workspaces and check Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Google Reader and several other things every so often. It has only been getting worse as of late. This doesn't seem like a major problem, but when "making my social rounds" turns into a compulsive routine I have to perform every ten minutes or so, it completely breaks my concentration and can turn a one- or two-hour process into three, four, sometimes five hours.
Sitting in the same chair all day can also become rather uncomfortable, no matter how many pillows you stack in your seat. I often like to migrate to my couch to work, but it's extremely uncomfortable with a laptop. A touchpad on a laptop without multitouch support is just plain ludicrous and using a mouse at waist-level only leads to a sore wrist. Having a touchscreen, I don't need a mouse. The setup pictured above probably wouldn't be ideal for most of you, but it works quite well for me. That is, until my dog comes flying through the apartment and knocks over everything in his path (usually whatever I'm working with or on).
Ever since the initial paring of the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard and my Galaxy Tab, though, concentration (or lack thereof) hasn't really been an issue. I still use my tablet for the same things I was before, but when it comes time to type up a new article, I power down the laptop, throw on some tunes, fire up Evernote and crank out the article without pause. Sure, I could easily check any incoming tweets or emails as the growl-like notifications constantly pop up in the lower right-hand corner of the display. But switching between tasks on a tablet isn't nearly as fluid or quick as it is on my computer, thus I usually overlook them.
I bought the keyboard Friday night and have since written 95 percent of every article from my Galaxy Tab. I do, of course, have to switch back to a PC to finish the process – this is something that won't sit well with many. Tablets are not perfect yet, they have a lot of room for improvement and Microsoft aims to fill that space soon enough. I will buy a Windows 8 tablet, and will hopefully be able to work entirely from a tablet ... finally. (I'm not getting my hopes up, though. Just in case.)
Although working from the Tab has (unfortunately) not made my brain work faster, it has done wonders for keeping me on task and has improved my productivity tenfold. I'm not saying that tablets are for everyone, or trying to prove to you non-believers that tablets are the way of the future. I am simply giving my account, my testimony, of how using a tablet has actually made me more productive and a more efficient worker.
What about you, pups? Do any of you use a tablet for work? Has your tablet killed your productivity? Or do you feel it has made you more productive? Tell us your story below!