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How I Work

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Lifehacker has a great series called, How I Work. Often they have CEOs of companies and other extremely smart people, but they've recently done something that I find far more interesting.

They are having the editors of Lifehacker write about how they work. These are the experts on productivity writing about how they are most productive! I'm going to steal borrow their outline today and tell you a little bit about how I work.

I'm going to use their format:

Location: Rhode Island
Current Gig: Personal Finance Writer, dog sitter, defendant (it feels like a gig)
One word that best describes how you work: Dogs. If Kristin Wong can say cats, I can say dogs.
Current mobile device: Nexus 5
Current computer: Dell XPS 13 (9300-something edition) with 4GB of Ram (sad)

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without? Why?

I'm a Firefox guy (see 10 Hacks to Speed Up Your Browser and Firefox Profiles for Increased Productivity). Google and Microsoft control enough of the tools I use, so if it's close I'm going to go with the independent.

I read my news with Feedly on my phone. I use Pushbullet to send interesting articles to my laptop. I save and tag articles with Pocket.

I write my articles either directly into WordPress and sometimes into Scrivener. I want to use Scrivener more, so I can rearrange blog posts in to an ebook.

Excel is currently my to-do list, my accounting system (which will likely change to Quickbooks soon), and my General Organizer of All Things.

I use Personal Capital to keep my net worth constantly updated.

What’s your workspace setup like?

Sadly, it is my lap on a couch. Sometimes, it is the barstool in the kitchen. I'm trying to use my desk more often. It should be my treadmill desk, but I get a lot of walking in due to the dogs.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

I'm going to give a few hacks:

  • Going to the library. When I work from home, I can get distracted by chores and other things (subtle code for the Patriots Sub-Reddit). When I'm at the library, it's 100% grind as Mark Cuban would say. I can sometimes get more done in two hours than I get done in two days.
  • I like to plan my most productive day. I never do everything exactly right, but it gives me something to strive for and keeps me on track. That article is just a smart part of my article exploring How to be Productive.
  • Aside from those two, really look into Pushbullet (mentioned above.) It's such a great way to get photos and websites from your computer to phone and vice versa.
  • What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

    I use Excel for my own work, but when I need to manage family tasks with my wife, Wunderlist is the way to go.

    Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

    Amazon Echo (Review and Revisited Review)

    It is just so easy to say, "Alexa, play the Beatles" or "Alexa, play Pandora" and have music. Too often technology makes things more complicated. Amazon Echo is the exception.

    There's a lot of other things it can do that I simply haven't dug into yet. My wife has used it to play Jeopardy. I use it to read my Google calendar. It integrates with my Ooma free home phone service. I'm tempted to get a Spotify subscription to expand the music available to me, but I'm frugal so Pandora works.

    Because I have only 4GB of memory on my computer, I am happy to off-load whatever I can to other devices like the Echo.

    What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?

    Googling information. I'm sure that some of my friends (and readers) think I'm the offspring of Lucy van Pelt and Brainy Smurf. (Good luck trying to get that image out of your head.)

    What do you listen to while you work?

    Since I already gave The Beatles, I'll go with Jack Johnson and "Classical for Reading from Amazon Prime." (I stumbled on this playlist randomly, but it's great with the Echo.

    What are you currently reading?

    A bunch of articles on the internet. I can't seem to make any headway reading books.

    How do you recharge?

    Naps and dog walks. These 200mg caffeine tablets and this pill splitter are also helpful.

    What’s your sleep routine like?

    Usually somewhere around 6 hours from 11:30PM to 5:30AM. The 30-40 minute siesta is usually around 2:00PM

    Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

    Tom Brady. Some 99.999% of the time, I think athletes should not be role models. He's one of the very rare exceptions. I almost always learn some new life lesson from his Monday interviews during the season. For instance, he said that The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom helped him deal with the Deflategate haters.

    What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

    The best advice comes from my mother: "Do onto others as you'd have them do onto you." I distinctly remember this, because she said I could stop going to school when I learned that Golden Rule. I didn't get out of going to school, but the rule stuck with me.

    I'd want someone to help me with personal finance or to get me out of an MLM cult. So that's why I want to help others with that.

    Last updated on February 28, 2016.

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    4 Responses to “How I Work”

    1. Big-D says:

      Love this. Let me know if you want readers to do this. I have always wanted to do one of these :)

    2. I love this! It gives some interesting information and insight to the life of people. I love your idea about using the library to get rid of distractions. I routinely have to “hide” myself from distractions as well.

    3. […] week, I wrote about How I Work by following the Lifehacker outline. A regular reader, Big-D, loved it, and suggested readers could […]

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