In late September, my ancient laptop gave up the ghost.

It was a 2012 MacBook Pro, and it had recently been showing its age after years of loyal service. I’d spent the last few months replacing failing components and watching the machine struggle to run multiple programs, and I knew the handwriting was on the wall. All my data was backed up. When the sad day arrived, I was more or less prepared. Or so I thought.

Finding a replacement took a little over a month, during which time I relied solely on my work laptop for all my computing tasks. This had been the plan all along.

But it was a terrible plan.

Without my dozens of macros, keyboard shortcuts, and quirky preference customizations, my productivity dropped to near zero and improved only slightly. Simple tasks, like taking notes at a meeting, now took forever. Complex tasks sat undone. Long-term goals saw little progress. I paced around the house like Nixon in the waning days of his presidency, my mood darkening by the day. Not only could I not work effectively, I couldn’t run my life effectively.

I did not anticipate any of this.

Why did it take me a month to replace my MacBook? I wanted to get a good deal. And I did, at least in monetary terms. I bided my time and pounced on a great used MacBook on eBay, saving a few hundred bucks over buying new. But waiting for a deal cost me a month of productivity, and that was not a good trade.

My new MacBook is great, saints be praised. I have my mojo back. And I’ve also learned an important lesson: good tools are worth the money.