I have a friend who is one of the most successful entrepreneurs I’ve ever known. I consider myself lucky to have him as a close friend and a good business partner. One of the things I’ve always admired about him is how light he has always traveled. I remember when I met him over 15 years ago, he was just finishing work on his basement and he put in his first home office. No windows and inexpensive “put it together yourself” furniture. That was about as close as he came to having a real office as I have seen. These days he runs multiple companies and has 50+ people who work for him at an office in St. Petersburg, FL. His actual office in that building looks like a temporary space, and multiple people actually work in it.
He has one laptop, that’s really all I’ve ever seen him with, he recently upgraded within the last couple years from a “off the rack” PC laptop to a MacBook, but again nothing fancy. As for paper files, almost none, he keeps a yellow legal pad, and he has a fancy leather bag that he carries his laptop and pad(s) in, and that’s it. He has no need for much of anything else, and he’s always been that way.
More impressive than all of the above, he has 1 email address. It’s not tied to any of the companies, it’s just an email attached to a domain name he registered in the 90’s similar to his actual name. This is the only email he’s used for 95% of all his email communications. Not only do I admire that, I envy it even more. It’s a goal and a dream I’ve been chasing for years, and with that dream, let me tell you where I am…
Right now I’m sitting in a beautiful home office with 3 monitors and the following computers:
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon Laptop (2018)
MacBook Pro (2017)
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 (2016)
Dell Latitude (2015)
Lenovo ThinkPad T530 (2014)
Lenovo ThinkCentre M92P (2013)
With the exception of the MacBook, the other 5 systems are plugged in and I use all 5 for different things throughout the day. In addition to the ridiculous number of computer systems, I use 3 different cloud based folder systems:
All have different files, many duplications and require a spreadsheet organizing system and a monthly cleaning process that takes hours and sometimes days to clean up.
Finally, I have gone to great lengths over the last few years to clean up my email accounts. Today I have 10+ active email accounts I use to communicate with people and that’s a third of what it use to be. I’ve been a blessed and fortunate entrepreneur for 30 years. If I continue to be blessed and lucky, I’ll be able to retire a little early, and retirement to me is NOT the complete absence of work. Retirement to me is simple…
I will consider myself RETIRED, when I no longer have an email account…
I do not lack self-awareness either, I know I’m absolutely crazy, I know I could flip a switch and be just like my friend overnight and trip through some frustrations, lose some data, spend a little more time recreating a few things, but be lighter, and happier for it. That is my goal, it’s also my goal for 2020, let’s chase it together, what do you say?!