The Way I Work : Round 2

7 months later.. the follow up to : The Way I Work.

Again you may recognise some of this from ma.tt‘s blog. I still see Matt as the benchmark for the new productive geeky entrepreneur.

The new Joe at work:

On a good morning there’s no alarm clock. I wake up with the sun. I make tea (I don’t drink coffee). I put on some music. I check my mail, Facebook, news feeds and Twitter. In that order.

I’d like to say I read business books or even novels, but I probably only read about one book per month at the moment. I just finished Outliers.

I don’t really have an office at the moment but I go to Frogfoot’s office maybe once a week to process and upload my photos. The rest of the time I work from home in Bakoven (kinda like a seaside village inside Cape Town) or I’m a mobile warrior working from coffee shops or any random location.

I often work for about an hour or two at home before going to gym or I walk up Lions Head early in the morning. At the gym I go for a morning cycle, power-plate, weights and swim. I find morning exercise suits me.. easier to plan and get it over with.

My preference is to work from home where I have a good selection of music, nice views, a 26″ LCD and a Herman Miller Aeron chair.

I use mostly email and mailing lists for communications. A bit of Skype, Facebook and Twitter.. but I maintain my own micro-blog which syndicates to Twitter, so I don’t see myself as really using Twitter. I very rarely use the SIP phone on my desk and these days I seem to do most of my required telephone time in the car (with a Bluetooth car kit). I figure driving is pretty unproductive time so I may as well catch up with a few people. I use Mutt.. it’s a text based mail client. I’ve been using it for more than 10 years.

In my home office is a Macbook Pro 13″.. nice and portable, but with 8GB memory so it’s snappy. I have a Nokia E71, which I guess is also part of my home office, but I’m thinking about getting a new phone. iPhone seems cool, still have to convince myself about the closed nature of it. Oh, and there is an Ubuntu PC in the lounge that plays the tunes, or movies for Mia.

At the office I have a Debian Linux workstation and a Mac. I say workstation because it’s a pretty high end machine with redundant disks in a fat server casing. I have two LCDs on my desk, not linked.

Most of what I do happens on my laptop now. The keyboard is, of course, Dvorak, a more efficient keyboard layout that I switched to 8 years ago.

My biggest time-suck is email. I used to have a pretty complex procmail setup to sort mail into 42 different inboxes. I’m getting better, I’m down to about 20. I send about 800 emails on a busy month. I sadly check emails every 10 to 15 minutes. I often respond immediately.. if it’s a small bite-size thing. If it’s more complex I flag it and work on it later. I keep my primary inbox below 15 emails.

I like to listen listen to music all day. There’s a lot of jazz, Madeleine Peyroux, also things like Fleetwood Mac, The Talking Heads, Morcheeba and R.E.M. I use a pair of Sennheiser headphones at the office and I have a pretty cool hifi system at home.

I seem to have two modes of working. 1) Road Warrior 2) Apply bottom to chair. On “road warrior” days anything goes, meetings, short projects, emails, phone calls etc. On “Apply bottom to seat” days I make a list of longer attention span projects and try to complete one or two. I also have a “working out of phase” mode usually starting at around 20:00 and working till 0:00ish.

I don’t do much people management these days. I don’t think I’m that bad at it, it just got a bit much at some point, so I try not to demand much time and effort from people around me. Working with self-motivated people rocks!

I go out for lunch on road warrior days, which fits well with my preference for no meetings before 10:00. Most mornings I just make myself an uber-healthy smoothy which I’m almost convinced is really all I need to eat. Weekends are usually fresh juice days. I love making fresh juice.

In general, I’m pretty organised, not often late and good at keeping a schedule. I don’t have a PA at the moment, but it seems like a good idea. I don’t like to travel (for work). I try to limit things like Joburg trips to about 1 per year. I’m very happy in Cape Town.

My primary job is MD and Product Owner of a new start-up called TrustFabric. I recently sold my shares in three businesses so I can focus on this one project. A big, scary, global, change the world idea that’s been bugging me for the last 6 years.. a.k.a. a dream. I believe in the idea that we are drawn to exciting projects and happiness is a product of excitement.

I used to do lots of non-profit work (WAPA and ISPA). It was fun to unfocus, but I’m very happy to be focused again.

I’ve been called a “social media slut”. I like to network, meet interesting people, connect people and ideas and generally have fun with social networking. I help organise GeekDinners and I often speak at geeky events.

My photos are autobiographical — though I have a good memory, photos help trigger memories. I’m maybe a bit overly sentimental about photos. If the difference between an amateur photographer and a pro is that the amateur shows you everything they shoot.. I’m an amateur.. but I also have a photoblog now where I publish my better work. I need to have a bit more discipline in keeping the photoblog active.

I have a Canon 5DmkII SLR at the moment and I sometimes take photos with my little waterproof Canon Powershot D10. I have two lenses for the 5D: a 16-35mm f/2.8 wide angle and a 85mm f/1.2. I like these because they are so different to what the human eye can do, the first is very wide and the second lets through an insane amount of light. I’ll probably get a nice zoom lens soon.

I never really cared to build an audience for my blog. I blog for me and maybe about 15 friends.. and Mia, my daughter who is almost 4yo, if she cares to read the stuff I write one day. I try to at least write one post per week.. a brief bullet list style diary of sorts. The rest of my posts are a bit random.. I write when I feel like it. I figure I have about 70 regular readers.

I used to go out for every meal, but I’m getting better at simple and practical cooking. To be honest I really only make an effort to cook when Mia is around. I’ve taken and published about 2400 photos so far this year (two months).. I published about 11000 photos in 2009. Probably about 60% of these are from time I spend with Mia. She’s fun to work with as my primary model.

My blog does not get lot of comments but I read and manually approve each one. I’ll happily approve a comment from someone who completely disagrees with everything I believe in. In fact I really appreciate it when people point out when I’m wrong. What is a mind worth if it can’t be changed right?

I’m a bit sad that Twitter seems to have taken over much of the blogging time of the friends around me. I love reading interesting blogs. I like it when people sit down and do some longer attention span writing on a topic close to them.

I do my best work mid-morning and late at night. Some people don’t need sleep, but I actually need 8 hours a night.

On weekends I don’t do much work, mostly because I’m entertaining Mia, but I still check email or write the odd blog post after I put Mia to bed. I now see Mia 3 days a week. In some ways it’s nice.. work life separation vs. work life balance. I think many people have flexible work times (balance) but clear “no work” times (separation) are good.

Yes, my Mom reads my blog.

I would have loved to write about a really cool open source software project, rapid growth stats, building something which would last 15years+, BDFL role and 24-hour nature of a business… then again, we have to leave something to aspire to. Still not there yet, but I think I’m much closer. I’m in the process of convincing people to invest in our new project which has an open source business model.. you could call it a bit of an “ethical empire” business model. Doing well and doing good.

I’d like to read about how other people work, so if you find this useful, please write your story and link here. I think it’s useful to track how we evolve in out quests to work smarter.

8 thoughts on “The Way I Work : Round 2

  1. Cath, yeah.. I’m kinda looking forward to writing version 3 in about 6 months.

    About the iPhone. Georg was more than a bit unhappy about that statement. I’m looking around. Maybe the 4G iPhone will be something which is out of beta. It seems they don’t allow you to set an mp3 as a ringtone unless you buy it from Apple.. this is a problem.

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