Never buy a work-related laptop under 15 inches. It’s saddening that students are taught to use 13-inch laptops just because a larger one is supposedly too heavy. They aren’t too heavy and they aren’t too big. My 17-inch laptop fits into a standard backpack laptop compartment — the standard backpack size that you get from surf shops for instance, which is the same size as a standard school backpack. And that doesn’t mean you need to look on the shelf for the largest possible sized backpack; just the standard size is the one that fits the 17-inch laptop perfectly.

I’ve bought all the different size laptops. I started working as a writer on a 10-inch. I actually had two 10-inches. Then a 13-inch, then a 15-inch. And I still said to myself you know what . . . this is still too small. Then I bought the 17-inch one and it’s perfect. The 17 offers the same experience as what you would expect from a desktop (24-27-inches); even comes with the same screen dimensions when you view websites. It just means you need to use the browser settings to zoom in on some sites, which is a simple two-click solution. But a 15-inch laptop is fine also. Much better than the 13 and 14.

If you do have a smaller-sized laptop, never have the taskbar positioned to the side of the screen; move it back to the bottom of the screen. You can’t work with it to the side. And you shouldn’t just because you came across one problem that required you to move it to the side. If it ever happens again, just Google: “how to move the taskbar to the side of the screen in windows 10” (the words that describe your problem) and read an article like what you find on ConsumingTech — that’s why we exist. You can’t compete with the best workers in the world on a laptop under 15-inches. It’s impossible — you will be beaten should someone be given the chance to compete with you.

It’s imperative that if you’re going to work behind a computer that you get behind one that has high-quality hardware as soon as possible, and that includes understanding the right screen size. Part of the reason I’ve always struggled to keep up with the cost of living is that for whatever reason, computer innovation/affordability has always been ever-so-slightly trailing behind general inflation (the price the rest of the world forced the world up). When I started writing online in 2010, I didn’t have any money to spend on a new computer so I was using one that the family bought closer to 2002. It was way outdated by 2010 and didn’t even come with a 64-bit processor. It wasn’t until about 2014 that I bought my first decent computer. My first 64-bit processor was actually on a 10-inch Surface Pro, which I still have in my drawer. And when I started writing from behind that thing it felt like I had just swapped my car for a Formula 1 car: I finally had the power to win. There was a brief period where the money actually came easy there while the job I was doing was still innovative, but it was only brief. It then became like most other industries: extremely oversaturated with competition, and subsequently, money became harder to come by. It didn’t take long to realize that I needed a better computer. Thankfully just out of coincidence, my parents decided to update the desktop in their home, and I spent a couple of years working behind that. But it wasn’t until 2018, thanks to a 2017 model coming on sale, that I had a really good computer of my own to work with. By 2020, I had realized again that things still weren’t quite right and I upgraded to my first computer where I officially felt really happy with the quality that finally allowed me to focus on just working without any limitations. But that’s way too late when compared to the competition that was coming at me through the computer screen on the software side of things. By that stage, the competition was very fierce. Now in 2022, if you don’t have the right sized computer and the right quality screen and all the features that the best computers have, you’re going to lag the competition and you shouldn’t even be employable . . . it’s that big of a deal. Many people take for granted the jobs they have and don’t realize how fierce the competition is (in the private sector particularly) if they were to be a single person representing the company by themselves and doing nothing but competing against other companies without having a significant financial advantage over that same competition. It’s the equivalent of trying to enter a car race without the same car. You’re not going to win, and not only that, but you’ll be at the bottom of the field. Thankfully for those trailing the race up until now, the hardware innovation is coming to an end and everyone will soon have great computers that allow them to just focus on work freely to showcase their skills. But the outcome of that competition is not going to be pretty for anybody, and that’s the next phase of capitalism we’re heading into over the next decade.

Note: I recently bought a 10-inch chess set which is the chess equivalent of a 13-inch laptop. For traveling, this is fine to use. And I generally love my 10-inch chess set. But it wouldn’t be fine if I were playing a professional game. School might not be directly known as “professional life” but that’s only because one isn’t yet developed enough to be a professional. That’s entirely different from grabbing the 10-inch chess set. You can be great at chess and still want the 10-inch chess set for the times when games aren’t serious. Schoolwork is directly related to your professional life and thus you should take it more seriously.