How Tech Has Created A New Kind of Work Space

Much like Starbucks purported itself to be the new Third Space, attempting to replace “home, office, church” with “home, office, Starbucks,” (finding it at least a little ironic that now some churches serve Starbucks), and that storytellers try and hide the Fourth Plane, that of being the metaphorical wall that hides the author’s hand from the eye of the beholder (whether camera or written plot device), I am joining many before me in shedding some light on my Second Office, or what I tend to think of as my Life Office.

Work spaces are important. They need to have certain qualities that help promote focus, efficiency and productivity. These include comfort, a level of seclusion, and services, all of which depend greatly on the nature of the work and the individual worker.

While I’m busy redesigning New Life’s office wing, including our front office and conference room, I’m also aware that in 2013, devices–not just spaces–help decide where an office can be.

“Taking the office with you” has been the axiom and pursuit of the Mobile Office since the invention of the laptop, furthered by the PDA in the 90’s. But there remained a barrier between the rest of the world and the Mobile Office user, a barrier that was blown apart with the creation of the iPhone.

Unlike a Mobile Office that merely permits me to work while “on the go,” a Life Office permits me to engage and respond to the various environments that I find myself in. So my life has the capacity of informing my work, regardless of vocation.

My Life Office is interactive, as the devices I carry don’t seclude me from my environment–if I discipline myself correctly–but actually involve me in my surroundings in new ways, ones I previously under-appreciated. They do this in numerous ways, the most powerful of which is the recognition that I have and am aware of an audience.

Now, no one should live on stage indefinitely. It’s exhausting. And does strange things to the ego. But living life in such a way as to believe others are always watching, and to “perform” with their concern in mind might not be as secular as you may think.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

– Author Unknown
Hebrews 12:1

In fact, there are untold hundreds of scriptures that talk about living rightly, that God is watching, that our deeds are being recorded, and that we’re setting precedent for the generations who follow.

I dare say that living with an audience in mind is one of the healthiest and most Biblical behaviors we can engage in as people. And digital devices have actually had a role in not only shaping what I see and how I see it, but in how I remember and how I invest.

iPhone: Connect, Capture, Consume

My iPhone has been a constant companion. Interestingly enough, one of its least-used functions in my world is as a phone. I use it to text (as these “mini notes” are far more efficient, with my minimum “short” phone call being eleven minutes), and send voice snippets in Voxer–a glorified, recording walker-talkie. If I only had three or four important issues to attend to in a day, I’d love them all to be around face-to-face encounters, or as personable phone calls, but I don’t have such a luxury.

The iPhone’s two other most powerful features are its camera–which constantly challenge me to see normal settings with new perspectives, thus making me appreciate them more fully–and its note-taking functionality, either in text or audio form. I make quick notes on the fly in Evernote, marking down ideas for a book I’m working on, a meeting coming up, or a new song I’m crafting a melody to. Instagram is my primary method of sharing the images of my life, something that’s become more of a discipline than a need. This populates Twitter automatically, and these images are used in my blog (which is finally linked from Facebook).

While my iPad is my preferred reading device, my iPhone still holds the record for the most amount of non-dedicated reading: web references, emails, articles, scripture references. I’m not really savoring material on my iPhone, I’m consuming and processing at a high rate. Unlike the comfort associated with my iPad (which I’ll get to in a second), here on the iPhone, it’s all business.

Interestingly enough, 90% of all my blog posts–including this one–are composed, edited and published through WordPress’ iOS app with my right thumb.

iPad: Impart and Savor

My iPad has completely transformed the way I communicate to professional and religious audiences. I don’t have a three-ring binder full of songs anymore; I have OnSong with all of my music lead sheets. And I prepare in and speak my messages–whether sermons and teachings for church settings or lectures on business at a school–directly out of Evernote.

My iPad is also my primary reading device for material I want to savor, like books, including the Bible. I use Kindle for novels and non-fiction, and OliveTree for studying and annotating scripture. I say “savor” specifically because I like using the iPad on the couch, on my boat, or somewhere where what I’m reading has my undivided attention.

MacBook Pro: Create

My Mac is my main workhorse. My product creator. Its operating the entire Adobe CS6 Suite, as well as Logic, ProTools and GarageBand, and cranks out unprecedented amounts of text, audio and video. When it starts to buckle, I move to a MacPro tower in our production hall at New Life, but that’s for big stuff–and definitely not a part of my Life Office platform.

My MBP always has at least a dozen tabs open in Chrome at any given time, and is my main processor of the hundreds of emails I receive every 24 hours.

And unlike blog posts which are created on my iPhone, all my novels are written on my Mac in Scrivener (which I’ve been a huge fan of for years).


The key with incorporating any man-made tool into our daily lives, whether a trowel or an iPhone, is managing it. If our tools manage us, we lose an appreciation for the very life we’re meant to be living. If, however, we can set boundaries and form good habits (a post for another day), these tools can actually amplify the quality of life-living we’re engaged in, and then inspire others to see the Creator’s world around us with new eyes.

Life, after all, is meant to be lived voraciously.




Nathan R. · 8 Mar ’13 at 9:04 am

You might like this: http://coffitivity.com (coffee not included)

DaddyH · 13 Mar ’13 at 9:39 am

Christopher: This should be published in a tech.mag. Really. I love its conversational style;it’s fun to read,but techno-informative.You have given me a peek into your inner workings… I always wanted to know how a genius sets up his digital shop! Thank you! FYI: I have greatly missed (longed for is much more the truth) my chosen,unique “workspace”. Perhaps I will have the joy of one again….. soon?

    Christopher Hopper · 13 Mar ’13 at 10:05 am

    Thanks, Daddy. Though I shy from the word genius. You just be referring to yourself?

    Given last night’s board meeting, I think your preferred workshop is just around the corner. So excited.

Comments are closed.