What’s your preferred method of working?
How do you make sure you’re being productive?
For me, I’ve found being in a particular kind of space, both mentally and physically, helps me work better, faster and productively.
Here are a few things about how I like to work and what I do to ensure I work efficiently:
Somewhere that’s quiet and not busy.
I am a combination auditory and visual learner. Sitting in a space that’s visually stimulating makes it really hard for me to focus, so I have to find places that aren’t busy in that way. I need background music to help me focus, but not songs that have too many lyrics or a distracting melody, because then I can’t keep my mind on the task at hand.
Because I want work to be separate from other spaces in my life, I don’t work at the kitchen table (that’s for eating), or my bed (that’s for sleeping). I try my best to not think about work first thing when I wake up, or right when I go to bed. This creates something in my mind that reminds me where work is allowed to happen and where it doesn’t belong. Which is also why I don’t use my phone while lying in bed; it’s on a bedside table where I can’t reach it without getting up.
What kind of location helps you focus? What is a place you can set aside, specifically for work? This is extremely important, especially if you work from home.
Praxis participant, Bakery Wrapper at Costco Wholesale
I work part time at Costco, packaging up food in the bakery department, and helping to portion out products before baking.
When I’m at home, I work on deliverables for Praxis. I’m working on designing my website, editing my pitch deck, writing blog posts, and commenting on fellow Praxis participants’ deliverables. I’m learning how to leave a digital footprint, and being professional in my communications.
I keep my two forms of work separate. While working on Praxis, I don’t think about Costco, and vice versa. I’m where I am supposed to be, and I focus on my environment while I’m there. This keeps me from getting stressed.
What do you do to make sure your work stays at work, and doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life?
Current mobile device:
iPhone 6. Not the newest iPhone, but one of my favorites.
A good smartphone is a smartphone that I don’t have to think about. I don’t want to worry about what my phone can and can’t do, so if it can text, call, play music and videos, access the internet, and be reasonably fast, I’m happy. I prefer iPhones to other smartphones, mostly because of iMessages, and because I’ve grown used to how they work. Someday, I want the iPhone 10 because its camera is so good.
MacBook Pro, 2015. I just got this computer, and I love it. Since I’ll be video editing during my Praxis experience, I needed a computer that could hold the large video files and run fast enough for editing. A good friend of mine has this exact computer and when I edited with it last year, I fell in love with it, and I’ve wanted to buy one ever since. Now I’m the proud owner of my own Macbook Pro, and it’s definitely worth the high price tag.
One word that best describes how you work:
Determinedly. When I get an idea in my mind, or have a task to complete, I can sit down and block out the rest of the world to get it done. If I’ve decided to accomplish something, then I will get it done.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Google Keep: I use this one on my phone to record my thoughts throughout the day. I write notes on everything, whether it’s work/Praxis related, relationships related, lists, or reminders. I prefer Keep to the Notes app iPhones come with, because you can color coordinate your notes and last I checked, Notes didn’t have this super cute feature. Plus, it’s connected to my email instead of my phone so I can easily access it online.
Video editing software: I’m in between softwares right now, but I loved Premiere Pro. I’m moving to Final Cut Pro, for money reasons (have you seen the price tag of Adobe Creative Cloud? it’s insane), and while I save up money for that, I’m working with iMovie.
Spotify and YouTube: I don’t know where I’d be without my music. I use these both on my phone and my computer. I don’t have Spotify Premium or YouTube Red, so sometimes ads are annoying, but I just mute my device until they pass.
What’s your workspace like?
Organized as efficiently as possible, but if I’m in the zone, it can get a little crowded. I tend to carry around everything I need for my daily goals, so I have a book by me, my water, my notebook, and anything else I may need to be accomplished. That sometimes makes things cluttered.
What’s your best time-saving trick?
Lists! All the lists. If you have a couple things you need to do that day, make a list. If you have goals for the week, make a list. Being able to have a physical representation of your goals makes it easier to accomplish them.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Any piece of paper that has lines on it. A notebook usually, or lately, I’ve been using index cards. I put a goal per line, and any details I need for the goal in parentheses. Like for instance, on my list today I had:
Daily goals (read, write, walk, DuoLingo, Praxis)
My daily goals are something I accomplish every day, but I like to put them on my list just as a reminder, and I like to list what “daily goals” means.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
Not sure it’s technically a gadget, but I would say I couldn’t live without my car. Maybe for a few days I could live without my computer. I can handle not having my phone for hours and be good. But my car? No, no, no. I like traveling and seeing people too much for that. I can’t live without it.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Switching from task to task. I can take a task and become completely focused on it, but I also know how to change my thought processes to another project if I need to.
What are you currently reading?
Under Our Skin, by Benjamin Watson. This book addresses racism from the perspective of a Christian black man, and talks about the black experience and perspective as opposed to the white’s. It’s a very emotionally charged book, addressing the feelings connected to racism and where racism stems from, and has suggestions on how to fix our cultural approach to racism. I’d recommend it.
What do you listen to while you work?
I’ve made several Spotify playlists, each addressing a different emotion, so I listen to whichever will address how I’m feeling and help me work at the same time. For background music, I enjoy The Piano Guys, Port Blue, and electro music (like Owl City or Swimming with Dolphins).
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
Extrovert, all the way. If I have too much time to myself, I get irritable and unable to focus. I’m a verbal processor as well, so if I’ve done a lot in a couple hours but haven’t talked to anyone, calling my Mom for an hour or two makes me able to get back to work with renewed enthusiasm. I do wear out eventually, and when that happens, I need to spend a few hours driving by myself, or reading in my room.
What’s your sleep routine like?
Ideally, eight to eight and a half hours of sleep each night. I’ve found 11 PM to 7:30 AM to be about perfect. Depending on how much work I have to do or how tired I am, that can fluctuate an hour or so either way (like 10 PM or till 8:30 AM). I try to stay consistent with my sleep schedule, and avoid sleeping till 9 or going to bed after midnight, if I can help it.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Be yourself, and don’t be so dramatic. — Cinematic, by Owl City, 2018
Anything else you’d like to say?
You can’t make people change. You can’t save them. You definitely can’t control them. But what you can control is yourself, so hold yourself to a higher standard than anyone else around you. You’ll learn how to respect and love yourself that way.