How I work

Ned Potter has thrown down the gauntlet by name-checking me in a very interesting post about how he works.  In between my 2nd and 3rd MBA induction of the day I’m going to attempt to do the same. See Ned’s post to find out where this meme came from.

Location: Cambridge
Current gig: Information & Library Services Manager at Cambridge Judge Business School
Current mobile device: iPhone
Current computer:  A regular DELL PC with a nice wide screen monitor
One word that best describes how you work: RelentlesslyWhat apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Has to be Twitter because of the content I access via it and the community of librarians and other peeps on it whose opinions and tips & tricks I value.

What’s your workspace like?
Pretty tidy. In fact sometimes I fear that visitors to my office might wrongly conclude I don’t have enough work to do. I bloody do. I can’t bear mess but occasionally I get a bit overwhelmed and a clean-up is required. I’m easily distracted so that’s the chief reason I keep it pretty spartan.

What’s your best time-saving trick?
Only do the important stuff that adds value to the service. Not really a trick, more common sense. I’m a big picture person so quickly make a judgement call on whether the work I have (or my team has) to do is worthwhile and really adds to our offering or not. Sometimes I can reach this conclusion too soon though, not allowing enough time for reflection or recognition of alternative applications/related ideas.  When I have heaps to do I write a paper joblist to tick off and when things are really bad I block off time in my Google Calendar with the tasks so I am reassured that I can get everything done in the time available.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
My physical notebook. I’ve tried various apps. Nozbe almost caused me to have a nervous breakdown with its incessant task reminders. The best thing I could do for my productivity was delete it.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
I’m desperately trying to properly integrate my Android Samsung tablet into my life but I am mostly failing in this mainly because I never have time to explore how I could be using it better. It looks at me sometimes saying ‘I could be helping you out here, idiot.’ And then I hate the thing for being smug and the cycle continues.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?
Writing prose/text very quickly. I can write reports, cases for funding, blogposts, academic chapters and my non-fiction TV and theatre stuff very quickly and not too badly either, or so I am told.

What are you currently reading?
I’m reading The Garden of Evening Mists – eloquent but simply written (I can’t bear heavy ‘intelligent’ books). Garden of Evening Mists reminds me of my favourite book of all time: Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating World.

What do you listen to while you work?
My team working downstairs, or if they’re quiet – nothing. We have a weird arrangement whereby there’s a gap between my floor and their ceiling. I can hear them, they can hear me. Eavesdropping on both sides – for the win. If either they or I need to let off steam we go elsewhere, although they may have heard the occasional swearword emanating from above their heads. Because of this arrangement they sometimes call me ‘The Voice of God’. Not always respectfully.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I used to be a definite introvert but becoming a manager, presenting more, increased confidence in my vision for our service, and various big public events I’ve been involved in have, over time, made me a confirmed extrovert.

What’s your sleep routine like?
I had 8.5 hours last night – perfect, but I usually get 7 and can on occasion become the Black Eyed Beast of Cambridge. Raaarrrghh!

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see ______ answer these same questions.
I was going to say Emma Cragg as she’s pretty darn fabulous, but I checked and she’s just done one so I’m going to say Emma Coonan, because I bet she’d be witty and interesting. I’m not obsessed with people called Emma. Other names are available.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Show don’t tell’ from the actress Lucy Fleming. This belief regularly pervades my thinking and actions. Also less profoundly, but just as valuable, from my fantastic wife: ‘Everything will be OK’.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Usually you can’t shut me up, but no I’m outta here.


One thought on “How I work

  1. Sarah Wolfenden says:

    Really enjoying reading these posts. Thanks for yours.I was beginning to think all the amazing people had messy desks to highlight their ‘creativity’ so relieved there’s a tidy one out there.
    I enjoyed the Garden of Evening Mists too so will have a look for Ishiguro’s.


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