Sara, who writes The Books and Looks, recently posted these interview questions from LifeHacker which asked leaders how they worked. I thought it would be interesting to fill out myself and maybe take some time each year to evaluate my working style to see what is going well and what I can change.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
The GoogleDocs mobile app has been a lifesaver for me. I love how I can have access to view and edit any document from my phone. I don’t know how that will translate to grad school because my work relied heavily on GoogleDocs. The Bank of America app is also very essential, especially since I’m reverting back to being a
poor student on a budget. I used to love using Google Calendar, but I’d rather use an agenda. It feels more concrete when I write something down.
What’s your workspace like?
I’ll have the standard dorm desk in my room. I haven’t moved in yet so I don’t know how everything will be arranged but one thing I will work on is not to let my workspace get cluttered. I’m going to be very strict with myself with keeping everything organized. Haha, how about this, I’ll make this promise to everyone under the honor code, if I let my desk get messy, I will post it on my social media accounts. The Internet is a weird place, but it’s a cool one where we can help each other out.
What do you listen to while you work?
Like Sara, I really enjoy listening to ambient music while I study. I have a playlist on Spotify called “Lady, Relax” and it’s the first thing that goes on when I need to concentrate. Here it is:
- Broken Social Scene- Anthems For A Seventeen Year Old Girl
- Trent Reznor- Hand Covers Bruise
- Radiohead- Let Down
- Brian Eno- Be Calmed
- David Bowie- Changes
- Broken Social Scene- Lover’s Spit (Bee Hives version with Feist as the lead)
- Brian Eno- 1/1
- Brian Eno- 2/1
- Brian Eno- 1/2
- Brian Eno- 2/2
- Drake- Marvin’s Room
- Beck- Ramshackle
- Sarah McLachlan- Last Dance
What’s your best time-saving trick?
I have a Split Screen app, which is really useful for research. I read websites on one side of the screen and I’ll have my write up on Google Docs on the other side. Also, I like to multi task while doing laundry. I’ll put the laundry in and do my homework in the mean time.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
One of our volunteers who has an affinity for Elvis =D If you’re reading this, you know who you are! In all seriousness, I’m still a big fan of pen and paper.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Probably my bike tools. Now that my bicycle is my main form of transportation, I need to be prepared for anything.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What’s your secret?
It’s something that translates easier when you get to know me, but I think I was born happy. It’s very easy for me to find a reason to smile and constantly I’m asked “you can’t be happy all the time, right?” Then they see that I really am. It’s to the point that people are really concerned if they see me feeling sad or down.
My feeling about life is that we only get one shot. You need to make the best of it. Are things really bad as they seem? I was reading an article in Smithsonian Magazine that was about if our genes can predict when we die. At the end of our chromosomes are telomeres which are very long when we’re born, but very little when we pass on. Scientists found out that the more stress you’re exposed to, the shorter your telomeres are. Yet, when you engage in healthy activities, they don’t degrade as fast. They don’t know the process of how you can either stave off or accelerate the erosion, but it’s absolutely fascinating and I’m looking forward to more research about this.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Your critics are the ones telling you they still love you and care. Worry when you do something badly and nobody bothers to tell you. – Randy Pausch: The Last Lecture
I believe that a true friend will stab you in the front. Will I want to always hear it? No, but I will think about it, appreciate what I’ve heard, and change what I need to. I’m also a big believer in this as well:
To improve is to change, to be perfect is to change often- Winston Churchill
I recommend you fill this out for yourself. It really makes you think about your productivity.