No matter what business you do in this day and age – you should have a great computer setup if you want to be your most productive. Does great mean expensive? No. This article will examine how much you should spend in order to get the best value. This way you can be the most productive you possible without needing to overspend.
Decide Your Machine(s)
What machine works best for you? For most people, it’s going to be a desktop replacement laptop. It’s powerful enough to multitask yet it’s portable. To make this setup even more functional, consider getting an external mouse, keyboard and monitor. This will make the work space as ergonomic as possible without increasing your budget much. You can even use two monitors when you have your laptop plus an external monitor. This may increase your productivity since you won’t need to be constantly popping in and out of problems all day long. You can have one program on one screen and another on the other. Many people use one screen for communications and one screen for software/web browsing.
Another setup that works for people is a desktop computer with another small machine like tablet or a Chromebook to use while on the go. Desktops are very low in price and if they work for you 99% of the time, this setup may be best.
Know Your Specs
Before you buy, know what specs you need and don’t go too far beyond what you need. RAM is an easy spec to consider. Most computers have either four or eight gigs of RAM. New operating systems like Windows 10 are designed to work on devices of different computer powering. This means those operating systems must work on smartphones where there’s only two gigs of RAM. This means four gigs of RAM is plenty for most people when buying a computer. This will save you at least $100 over the price of an eight gig machine. If you’re unsure if four will work for you, you can always make sure the machine you buy has expandable memory. Also check a computer’s processing speed. It’s really hard to say the speed you need so it’s a good idea to stop buy a store like Best Buy and give different processors a spin. See what works for you. Don’t be afraid to open tons of programs and really push it to its limits.
General Rules of Thumb
Make sure your setup is hassle free. This means paying attention to this like cords not getting in your way, having an easy place to hang your headphones, know where you’ll charge your smartphone, etc. When at your desk, you want to be as productive as possible.
Electronics also rarely go on sale. For days like Black Friday, they are about the least marked down item. And when computers do go on sale on sites likes Group or Woot – they are usually old inventory that distributors are just trying to get rid of. You generally don’t want these outdated machines. So don’t worry too much about getting a screaming deal on a new machine.
It’s also never smart to buy the cheapest version of your computer. Instead, go for a mid-tier or high-tier item. Because often computer brands will offer an extremely low end model just to appeal to buyers who wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Or so they can sell at a big box retailer like Walmart. Remember that you should be looking for value in your work machine – not the lowest price. Value means you don’t overspend though either.
Remember to consider ergonomics as well. Because saving money is all well and good but you definitely won’t be saving money if your cheap mouse gives you carpel tunnel syndrome or if you were too cheap to buy a large monitor and you begin suffering from eye strain.
I know spending money on yourself is something we can put off when you’re busy running a business. You feel there are more important things that need the attention of your wallet. But you owe it to your company to be as productive as possible. And computer components are getting so cheap now that you could probably buy your ideal computer setup after having only ‘giving up’ a few days worth of income. Not bad.