Finding the Technological Comfort Zone

I moved back to my office this morning. In my case, this is a matter of unplugging the laptop computer and walking the 50 or so feet around the corner from the dining area where the kids’ long-forsaken homework desk resides and down the hallway to the back bedroom of our home. This remarkably cluttered room – not Hoarders-level cluttered but approaching “unhappy fire marshal” stage – had been the home base for my real estate business since I started in July 2004.

“Clearly he’s not professional,” you may say, eyeing the Jimmy Buffett flag and the bottle of nail polish belonging to one of the trio of females who wander into this room at their own risk to play Pogo (the wife), download music to their iPod (the eldest) or goof around on YouTube (the princess). I would argue the opposite as working here is absolutely a business decision. Does it make more sense to pay three figures a month to have a desk in an admittedly really nice office or to funnel that same money back into marketing properties and advertising the business while working from here?

If my desk were dirtiier I'd name it Tucson

Not to mention, it’s hard to put a price on having a beagle laying in wait under your desk hoping you’ll pet them. Or drop some food.

Following my heart surgery in August – oy, he mentioned it again. How long will these references continue? About another two months unless I’m desperate for some Kris Berg-style slice of life analogies – I started working on my laptop rather than the big desk because it was easier to be two feet from the love seat, my new best friend. Work for a while, sit on the couch and rest for a while, go to the recliner and nap for a while, go back to the desk and work … you get the picture.

What’s that they say about making an action into a habit? I essentially wrote off the desktop computer entirely, which wasn’t an easy task for someone who had been sitting in front of a keyboard and monitor since 1984. (I think they called the monitor a “television” on my Texas Instruments 99-4A, but I’d have to go check the owners’ manual to be sure. Yeah, I still have it. And yeah, you can keep the Hoarders comments to yourself.)

After three solid months of running the business exclusively off the laptop I finally pulled the plug. No, dear readers, not on the business. But on the homework desk. My power cord now has moved to the office and my laptop followed, which has me sitting with a laptop on one side and a humming monitor over my right shoulder feeling neglected. And dusty. (No windows back here for 40 days, but that’s a hail of a story for another time. Hail of a story. Oh, never mind.)

What does this have to do with real estate? Hail if I know, but Kris would come up with some cute parallel so I feel like I should too.

Oh, yes … here’s something.

My desktop has been security blanket for so long, I thought it was about the only way to do things. All I could think of were the mostly contrived difficulties that would arrive should I abandon the 9-year-old monitor and computer tower for the efficiency of working simply off the laptop. (Not that the difficulties were more contrived than my analogy, but hey … don’t make me pun again.) What I was doing was working … just not as well as it could be.

Searching online for homes isn’t much different … it works for some and to some degree, but the search isn’t nearly as efficient as it could be. Part of this is the ever-popular concept of GIGO. Part of this comes from the limitations of certain search portals. As good as the search is on this site, for instance, there are many categories that you aren’t going to find.

Some of this is by design, not as part of some criminal plot or because of some stupid agent trick but rather because the more specific your search, the fewer properties you’re going to see. Which is logical and sounds like a good thing until you have an agent run the same search, leave out a specific criteria or two, and discover properties that really meet your specifications but weren’t appearing because your specificity booted them in their booleans.

It takes a lot to surrender some control, some comfort in a day and age when you can look up whatever you want in seconds. Like GIGO or booleans (silly readers, wikipedia links are for kids.) But what you’ll find, as I found by abandoning my now disconsolate computer in favor of the laptop, is that there are better ways of getting to where you want to go if only you take the first step in a new direction.

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at


  • jim little 7 years ago

    “Work for a while, sit on the couch and rest for a while, go to the recliner and nap for a while, go back to the desk and work … you get the picture.”

    I have an idea, work, sit and nap on the recliner, it is much more efficient. The beagles will come to you.

  • Kris Berg 7 years ago

    Congratulations for crossing that line! I pulled the plug a year or so ago. That’s not to say that it was only a year ago that I got a laptop; rather, my unassuming portable device rested keyboard to keyboard with my quite assuming 4 ton Dell tower in my own home office. The tower new how to command a room, and I imagined that all sorts of apocalytic and sinister things might happen if I dared to even make eye contact with the power cord.

    But we have a rule at our house. If you haven’t needed it in six months, you probably never will. So the ginormous testament to the ’90s now lives in the half-way house known as our garage until I can figure our how to remove its hard disk and take it on a little drive to the country — or the Best Buy recycling center.

    I like your analogy, by the way. And thanks for the link! My three readers were getting lonely and could use some company.

Comments are closed.

Real Time Web Analytics

Send this to a friend