This Is How I Work (Series)

I was asked to participate in Lifehacker's How I Work Series where writers answer a series of questions on their work life. I thought I'd post my answers here. Here goes. Location: I'm based in Manhattan (live in Flatiron, office in Soho) though I'm on the road in another city about 40%-50% of the time.

Current Devices: iPhone 5S, ThinkPad T420s, Eccolo journal, Cross pen, Kindle.

What apps, tools, software can't you live without: A bunch. I use Wunderlist to manage my to-do lists, the Cal app to manage my calendars, Evernote to manage notes, TripIt to manage travel itineraries, Google Maps to navigate, Salesforce to manage client stuff, LinkedIn to manage connections and Feedly to keep up on work-related news and blogs. I use a lot of others but those are probably the apps I use most frequently for work.

What's your workspace like: I try to have a minimalist workspace so that it feels the same no matter where I am (home, office, plane, train, hotel, etc.). I try to eliminate paper and just have my laptop, phone and notebook on my desk. I do all of my calls from my iPhone with my headphones. I even try to do group conference calls from my iPhone's speakerphone. It's important to me to be equally productive regardless of where I am. A minimalist approach helps me do that.

What's your best time saving short-cut/life hack: Working offline. At least twice during the work day I’ll turn my email to “work offline” mode and close my browser so there are no digital distractions.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else: I'm not sure I'm better than everyone at anything, but one thing I think I do well is to take a complex situation, strip it down to the core issues that really matter and identify and prioritize solutions to improve it. I think I’m pretty good at getting through the clutter that makes situations more difficult than they need to be and coming up with actionable solutions that will work.

What's your favorite to-do list manager: I've used a ton of different to-do list tools over the years and I think (hope) I've finally found a keeper with Wunderlist. It's super simple and the mobile and desktop experiences are really seamless.

What do you listen to while you work: I almost always listen to music while I work. The music I listen to while working is pretty different from what I listen to when I'm not. Right now it's the Bon Iver station on Pandora and a couple of different playlists on Spotify -- the "Your Favorite Coffeehouse" playlist is a good one.

What are you currently reading: Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire by Paul Smith and That Used Be Us: How America Fell Behind in the World It Invented and How We Can Come Back by Thomas Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.

What's your sleep routine like: I take sleep really seriously. I freak out if I don't get at least seven hours. I try to get to bed by 11 and up between 6:30 and 7, though more often than not I go to sleep later and get up earlier.

What's the best advice you've ever received: This is a tough one as I've had some great mentors that have given me some great advice over the years. But one that sticks out is: "attitude is everything". The most consistent trait I've seen in people that are successful is that the vast majority of them have a great attitude in work and life.