Lifehacker does this cool series called “How I Work” where they ask luminaries in different fields the same questions about their work habits.
They’ve talked to everyone from ESPN fantasy football expert Matt Berry, to celebrity chef Aaron Sanchez.
As somebody who has a deep love for learning the “behind-the-scenes” of how people live their lives, this is a fascinating series.
And now they have put out the call to readers to share their stories. But since I am pretty sure Lifehacker is not planning to feature me in their series any time soon, I’ll just do it on my blog.
Here we go.
Location: A suburb of Detroit.
Current Gig: I work for MSLGroup as a practicing public relations professional. (Or, as I like to say, a professional storyteller.)
Current Mobile Device: iPhone 4S
Current computer: I use a 13-inch MacBook Pro at home. At work I use a 15-inch HP EliteBook.
One word that best describes how you work: Spurts.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Right now it’s Evernote. It’s where I store everything: blog posts, ideas for a novel, grocery lists, websites to check out, etc. I’ve even started taking pictures of my handwritten notes, and uploading them into a notebook so everything I need is in one place.
I’m lost without GetPocket. It’s where I store everything I want to read, and it’s especially helpful at work when I come across an article that I don’t have time to read. I click the shortcut in Google Chrome and it’s on my iPad for consumption at home when the kids are sleeping.
And when it comes writing, I rely on Microsoft Word. I’ve used it for so long that I know all of the shortcuts. It just feels intuitive.
I also love Twitter. I would be perfectly content if that were the only social network around.
What’s your workspace like?
I’m writing this at my kitchen table, which doubles as an office when I’m working from home. There’s a tentative plan in place to turn a storage room into an office, but that’s a lot of work. At work I have an unadorned cubical. So, yeah.
What’s your best time-saving trick?
Working from home. When school is in session and the traffic is heavier, I spend anywhere from 90 minutes to two hours in my car driving to and from the office every day. When I work from home, I can get started earlier, and get two extra hours of work in without working later.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Evernote. Even though the physical act of crossing off a task on your to-do list is one of the most gratifying feelings, I carry too many notebooks around to have a central list. I have a folder in Evernote that handles my to-do list, which I’m always adding to, and rarely making a dent in.
Besides your phone and computer, what’s one gadget you can’t live without?
It’s really those two gadgets that make up about 90 percent of my gadgetry, if you will. The only other gadget is my iPad, even though my daughters have slowly taken it over. I’m still amazed, though, that tablets are a thing. As soon as I can, I plan to buy one that will be all mine, that I will try to incorporate into my day-to-day work.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
I think I’m pretty good at finding the story. A majority of my work revolves around determining the best way to tell the story so that an outside party (reporter, blogger, etc.) will be interested in what I have to say.
As a content creator, it’s up to me to figure out what the story is, then tell it. Finding an unorthodox way to start that story is my favorite part of the job, and one that I think I’m not terrible at. It’s fun to surprise the reader at the beginning, then close it out by connecting the dots.
What are you currently reading?
I’m going through a Nordic author kick. The book on my nightstand is The Bat by Jo Nesbo. But I really want to read The Absent One by Juri Adler-Olsen – a Danish author who I learned about through my brother. I tend to skew toward fiction, but I’ll read the occasional nonfiction book.
What do you listen to while at work?
Nothing. Especially when I’m writing, I need quiet. (The steady hum of a fan is nice.) If I try listening to music, I get distracted. Music is only nice when I’m cleaning out my inbox. For the rest of my work, it’s silent.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Introvert. Totally. But I’m working on trying to be a little more outgoing.
What’s your sleep routine like?
On a perfect night, the girls are in bed and sleeping by 8 p.m., which gives my wife and I time to catch up on Breaking Bad. She goes to bed before I do. I usually use that time to read or just lounge around. I am in bed no later than 11, and I set my alarm for 6:30 a.m., but I usually get out of bed closer to 7 a.m.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ___________ answer these same questions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
The only constant is change. If you think that way, you will rarely be surprised. And, in my opinion, the less surprised you are, the more effective you can be.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
No, I think we covered everything.