A minimalist approach to tech

You don’t need expensive gear to do great things

Words by Shashank SN

A minimalist tablet illustration

Being a minimalist, it’s important to make sure I don’t splash the cash on tech and then let it rot. Also, being a graphic designer, I need to make sure my gear is compatible with the latest software. Five years ago, graphic tablets weren't even a thing. But now owning one has become a must for every graphic designer.

This one example illustrates how markets influence our purchases. I’m not saying graphics tablets are useless. They really are a must for illustrators and digital artists. But not for a brand identity designer like myself.

You’ve probably seen people constantly change phones and laptops once a year. I relate to them because I was that guy who would constantly change phones every two or three months. I still feel guilty for spending money on useless things. I wasn't even a tech YouTuber. I just did it for fun or to brag about it.

But now, post-minimalism (yeah, I’m dividing my life before and after discovering minimalism). I have a simple rule towards tech: Change or upgrade it when it becomes obsolete or cannot perform the task I want it to. Now I have an iPhone that’s eight months old. I know I'm bragging about it, but it's a huge achievement for me personally.

Also, my MacBook is a year old and I have no plan to replace it until I drop it from the second floor. I still constantly learn about tech and watch the latest tech reviews, but that doesn't make me want to buy it. I would credit this to minimalism. If I didn't have this approach to tech I’d probably be using a ConceptD for no reason.

Have you seen the film Begin Again? In it, Mark Ruffalo's character decides to produce Keira Knightley’s song on the streets of New York in an open space and with some bang-average tech. You know what happens next. Typical movie stuff. It hits the ceiling and sells 10,000 in a day. Pretty impressive right? I’m not telling you to start using a 2001 PC, rather try to get the best out of what you have.

This kind of approach has benefited me a lot financially. I’m not asking you to live like a caveman. Tech is not very cheap today. Getting a bad phone or a bad computer can ruin your career for years. Make wise decisions when it comes to money and only buy things that are absolutely necessary.

Apply the 30-day rule to tech, too. If you feel like buying something, add it to the list and wait for 30 days to see if you need it. I do this all the time. When I upgraded my graphic tablet to a bigger one, which was also double the cost, I didn’t think it through. It was a bad decision, and I regret it even today. But a friend of mine uses it now. So, I guess, meh…

So should you stay away from the latest tech news? No. I follow and watch a lot of tech videos on YouTube. But make sure you don’t panic buy or buy things just because they're on sale.

Remember, you don’t need expensive gear to do great things.

Shashank SN

Shashank SN is a "wanna be" comic who started as a graphic designer and settled as a brand consultant. He mostly spends his time running It's a Design Studio in front of his Mac. He writes about minimalism, design, social media, and branding twice a week. He's been a proud minimalist for the past five years.

Newsletter
shashanksn.substack.com
Website
shashanksn.com

Our Book, Inside Minimalism Vol.1

A collection of 50 short and relatable essays on simple living by a small team of writers from different backgrounds, but who all share a deep appreciation for minimalism as a way of life. This book covers many topics such as slow and quiet living, curation, consumerism, and family. It is not a strict guide book or a rule book. Rather, it is a book we hope will inspire, motivate, and encourage you to take a slow and simplified approach to life.

Read our book

Available in paperback and eBook formats