The evolution of technology and productivity

Let me take you on a brief tour of the technology in my life. When I was growing up in the 1980s personal computers were starting to become affordable and to arrive in classrooms. One of my memories at primary school is helping the teacher plug in the cables to the class’ new Acorn computer. They said they needed my help; maybe they were just being kind but part of me likes to think our teachers were overwhelmed by this sudden intrusion of technology. Acorn and BBC computers were fairly compact, certainly nothing like the clunking great computer rooms of the past. The World Wide Web had already been created by the mid-1980s although none of us knew its potential.

I grew up learning to use a computer on a weekly basis for basic word processing and learning.

At home we had an Amstrad computer, which ran on cassettes, bought with the help of my uncle, who was an early adopter – I still remember seeing his first mobile phone with a huge battery in the boot of his car. Then we got an Amiga 1200; it wasn’t entirely mainstream, as my most of my friends had Spectrums. I used these computers for a mix of educational and gaming purposes.

It never occurred to me back then that they would have the potential to transform productivity.

When I went to secondary school we bought a custom-made PC with the brand new Windows 95 operating system. It also came with a modem and for the first time we could connect with people and websites around the world. It was exciting and there were so many possibilities.

With hindsight I should have cracked on with some serious computer programming and I would have become a tech billionaire by now!

Over time I was became increasingly reliant on the use of computers for regular tasks. They were used for word processing, for looking up information, for storing photos. I began to connect with people around the world. I had an email address for the first time.

The hardware was quite large and of course immovable. I started to see people with laptops and was envious about their portability. Little did I know the batteries were terrible and the laptops were heavy as breeze blocks. It wasn’t until I got to Sixth Form that I got my hands on a second-hand laptop.

The possibilities with a laptop seemed endless; I could take this thing anywhere.

At university technology became part of our everyday student lives. Things began to be communicated by email. And the professors were lamenting a new rule that essays had to be typed and printed, rather than handwritten. I managed to transport my laptop between the library and my college room, but only in a big laptop bag.

At the end of university, I succumbed to the beautiful new designs of the MacBook and ended up buying one with what little money I had. It looked great but took a while to get used to a whole new operating system. It can’t have been that bad because since then I purchased a MacBook Pro 2006, which I still have nearly 11 years later. Ok, I say still have but I no longer use it; although it still connects to the internet and has a lot of my old photos on it.

At each of my workplaces there’s been a desktop PC. My current job uses a laptop with a docking station. Things are more portable and convenient than ever.

All this leads me to the main point of this post is that technology is increasingly part of our lives in such a convenient way.

So what do I use today?

I still use a laptop PC for most of my daily work. And I had a couple of iPads in the past. However, things really changed when I got my hands on the latest iPad Pro 7 inch. I almost cannot fault it and I can take it anywhere to replace most of my PC work.

The most amazing thing is not how great it looks or how smoothly it runs apps, but how portable it is. It’s currently transforming my life; my ability to have a full time job, take care of my daughter and start up the Millennial Dad blog is largely due to using the iPad Pro. I’ve been able to get things done in incredible ways that just integrate with my daily life. Right now I am writing this post while waiting outside for my daughter to finish her ballet class. And the best thing is I just tucked it under my arm as we walked here. No large laptop bags or clunky chargers. I’ve also got a Logitech keyboard to go with it. The keyboard helps me to bash out documents and emails with surprising speed and comfort. It’s not as large as a normal sized keyboard but I can go for a long time without my hands getting tired. (Less of the small hands jokes, please!) I even once went for a four hour walk with the iPad in my backpack and got it out to do some typing at a café at the end. I didn’t even notice it was there. That wouldn’t happen with a laptop.

If the point of technology is to help us get things done, then I think we’re living in pretty amazing times.

The Millennial Dad movement is all about getting things done while being the best possible father and there are plenty of resources out there to help us be more productive. I’m going to road test a few different things and share what work technology works best for me. For now, I hoped you enjoyed my nostalgic trip through the past!

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