How I Work

Here’s my version of How I Work from the Lifehacker Series.

How I Work

Location: Twin Cities Area, MinnesotaHow I Work - My Computer

Current Gig: Results Processing Coordinator, Lifelong Learner

Current Mobile Device: *Update!* T-Mobile Moto X

T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S2 running CM 10.1.3, Nexus 7 running CM 10.2.  Waiting for dat glorious KitKat ROM.  (And considering purchasing a Galaxy Note 3.)

Current Computer: Custom-built mid-range computer and a 17” HP Pavilion dv6 laptop that desperately needs to be replaced by an Ultrabook.

*Update* Replaced the laptop with a Chromebook.  It has its pros and cons, but it works much better than the old HP.

One word that best describes how you work: Prioritizing.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Evernote is my main productivity tool.  I have a to-do list for every day that I move to a to-done list when the day is over.  I’m also starting to re-work Microsoft OneNote into my tool-list, since TiddlyWiki wasn’t working out for me.  I’ve always got at least 3 Chrome tabs open (Fantasy Football, Facebook, Gmail, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, Google Music, Reddit, Pinterest, Amazon…  3 is low for me).  Dropbox and Airdroid are great for transferring files across devices.  Using the Microsoft Office Student Edition has been one of the best choices I’ve made in the past few years, after using LibreOffice for half of my college career.  VLC for video watching, Handbrake for video converting, Steam for friend-talking.  As far as tools, mostly my PC, phone, and tablet.

What’s your workspace like?
Pretending to be clean, but actually really cluttered.  I like having things I’m using, or will be using in the future at the ready, so it’s all just sitting on my desk.  I clean it once or twice a day, but there are always things that it’s just easier to leave on the desk.  It’s a nice workspace though, a decent-sized desk, with my PC and laptop, speakers, headphones, external hard drive, wireless keyboard and mouse, wall-mounted TV with DirecTV service, and Xbox 360 (9 days until Xbox One).  Good for multi-tasking and ingesting excessive amounts of media.

What’s your best time-saving trick?
I serve as tech guru to my friends and family, and as such, spend a lot of time trying to figure out what’s wrong with their devices, and how to solve the problem.  To answer all of their questions, I have an advanced degree in Google-Fu.  Not a doctorate yet, but I am able to solve a majority of their problems, and save myself tons of time by being fluent in Googlish.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
I’ve tried Astrid, Wunderlist, and a handful of others, but the only one to stick has been Evernote.  I’m going to work on having a Bullet Journal along with Evernote (starting tomorrow, I’ll let you know how it goes), but one of the best parts of Evernote is how centralized it is to use one service.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I think my tablet has been one of the best investments.  I used to have a 10″ tablet that was really clunky and unresponsive.  Then I got a Nexus 7 for Christmas, and it’s a completely different experience.  It’s great for reading, games, and not clogging up my phone with apps.  I’m also a fan of my Fitbit (although will happily replace it when a better generation of tracking devices comes out).

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Oooh, this is a tough one.  I’d say I’m one of the best media trackers on the block.  Using Trakt.tv to track which movies and TV shows I’ve seen, own, and want to see, Goodreads to track books, an Excel spreadsheet to track music (I haven’t been able to find a service that allows the monumental level of music tracking that I’d like, so I have to use my own low-tech solution for the time being.  I’m a fan of other types of tracking (hence the Fitbit), but I’m not an expert at any of that yet.

What are you currently reading?
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain, Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, and A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin.  I’m a pretty slow reader, but also want to read all of the things in the world, so I read multiple things at the same time.  I also have a backlog of hundreds (possibly thousands) of articles on Pocket and Saved Links on Reddit to read.

What do you listen to while you work?
I have a large collection of music that I’ve uploaded to Google Music, and every couple weeks I make a new playlist of work music.  It’s usually pop or alternative or rap, and it’s the same music I listen to whether I’m working or not.  The top listens are the likes of Lupe Fiasco, Yellowcard, Relient K, Death Cab for Cutie.  I also have to remain faithful to the musicians and popular songs that I discovered (A Great Big World, Secrets by OneRepublic, and several others).

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Definitely an introvert.  I love hosting parties and get-togethers, and when I get talking with interesting people, I have a great time, but I definitely recharge when I’m alone.

What’s your sleep routine like?
Pretty regular, 7-9 hours.  Fall asleep between 12 and 2 AM, wake up between 8 AM and 10 AM.  I’m sure that will change when I get a job, but I’m enjoying what I’ve got (and utilizing those night time hours as personal recharge time).

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.
Elon Musk, Marissa Mayer, Laszlo Bock, Albert Panello, George R. R. Martin.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Another tough question.  I dunno if anyone ever actually told me this, but my family and general upbringing taught me patience and adaptability, which are traits that I recommend everyone try to cultivate.  I think the world would be a very different place if we weren’t always rushing, and if we could all roll with the punches a little more.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Breathe.  Just breathe. :)