The Hustle

The best productivity software is a keyboard from 1993

A brief foray into the cult of the AlphaSmart.


September 7, 2020

Since the start of quarantine, companies have done everything imaginable to make you more productive.

They’re teaching you how to cut down on your tabs. They’re using AI to fix your digital calendars. And some of their trusty partners, like the project manager Asana, are filing to go public.

But to really get your work done these days, it turns out all you need is a glossed-up typewriter from 1993.

A growing number of writers are raving about a discontinued word processor called the AlphaSmart. Some claim the device has revolutionized their writing process.

Here’s the beauty of it 

The AlphaSmart is just a keyboard. It doesn’t connect to the internet, which means:

Writing a proposal? A blog post? A long email? Pulling out the AlphaSmart forces you to focus. One author, Alexis Henderson, told OneZero that she penned much of her first novel using the device.

Anti-distraction software is getting distracting 

It’s a perfect sign of the times that, even during an explosion of new tech tools, anyone would turn to the early ‘90s for help.

But as we enter month 6 of quarantine, productivity tech is getting exhausting. Next time we draft a presentation, we want to do it on a janky word processor, dammit.

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