How I Work
Location: Lytham St Annes on the west coast of the UK
Current Gig: Mainly workplace wervices strategy and optimisation
One word that best describes how you work: Differently
Current mobile devices: iPhone 4S and original iPad mini retina 4G
Current computers: Lenovo Thinkpad X230 laptop, with 160GB SSD and 8GB RAM and a Thinkpad X230 tablet connected to a 27” Dell Monitor. I also have a wonderful little HP Microserver that runs all the time, serving all of my media and many other tasks
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why?
On my desktop and laptop I rely on Chrome and many Chrome apps, I use NewsBlur for RSS and push everything I need to read or watch into Instapaper. For email I rely on Lotus Notes and create stuff using Microsoft Office, I watch video using Windows Media Centre and Plex. Stuff I need to keep goes into Evernote.
I spend a lot of time working in various seaside cafes and out walking. When I’m in the company office I work in a great breakout area made up of four comfy chairs clustered around a table on a sunny balcony. When I’m at home I work in a conservatory office with a big sofa (that I share with the cats) and a desk with multiple displays.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
I like to partition my time, so that I do research and reading in cafes in the morning. I do collaboration face to face in the office in the afternoon and do creation when I’m at my desk in my home office. I write my blog posts in the recliner just before we sit down for an hours family TV time at 8pm, but publish them in the morning.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
I use my email inbox as my day to day to-do list. I only show unread emails and these are the ones that I need to action. For longer term to do items, and recurring items I use TickTick which works on the web, iPad and iPhone, has very quick task creation and flexible recurring task management.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
Without a doubt it’s my iPad mini, but if that counts as a computer then it would be my TomTom iPhone car kit or my Voyager Pro USB headset. I spend a lot of time driving and I love the way the TomTom car kit holds my phone which I’m using all the time as a satnav and podcast player. I spend a lot of time on conference calls and I love the quality and freedom of the Voyager Pro.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I’m good at making connections between disparate information and spotting when something’s ‘not quite right’
What do you listen to while you work?
I like the background buzz of cafe chatter and music, so although I don’t normally listen to anything at home I’m experimenting with ChatterBlocker
What are you currently reading?
You can find my daily reading list at @steveisreading. I’ve just finished listening to Robin Hobbs Fool’s Errand which was amazing, on my Kindle I’m reading The Wahls Protocol and Emperor: The Field of Swords about the life of Julius Caesar.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m definitely an Introvert, but I can be quite assertive in some business settings
What’s your sleep routine like?
I have a good sleep routine. I stop watching TV at about 9:00, finish reading in the bath at 10:00 and sleep through to 6:00, so a solid 8 hours. I use candles in the bathroom while reading on my Kindle Paperwhite and Flux on my laptop and desktops to reduce my exposure to blue light before bed. When I wake up in the morning I make sure to get a lot of exposure to lots of natural daylight.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My engineering teacher at school taught me how to think around a problem, basically teaching me research and problem solving techniques. One of my customers taught me the importance of attention to detail and consistency in my presentations and documents.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers?
The photo today is of one of my favourite work location, parked up by the beach in Cleveleys