workhardThis is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series.   I was really excited to see the series a little closer to home from Anthony Iannarino and some of the sales experts & thought leaders I read, follow and aspire to emulate (including Dave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi).

I think a lot about how I work, how to do it more effectively and efficiently (including a best practices guide on productivity & work/life balance), so wanted to add my take on the typical questions.

Here goes:

Location: Live in Kirkland, Washington and work in Redmond, Washington (about 20 minutes in the morning, 30 in the afternoon)

Current computers: Asus desktop at the office, Dell desktop at the home office, Macbook Air 11-inch version everywhere else

Current mobile devices: iPad (third edition) and iPhone 5

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?

I have a series of tools & applications that I’m using every day on a regular basis.  Outlook Tasks is my core organizational system.  I’ve customized it to map closely to David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) system, such that I’m tracking tasks by context as well as keeping a running list of Projects and ideas.  I’m starting to use Evernote a bit more regularly for this too, but more on that later.

We use for contact and pipeline management.  I’m it every day managing short-term prospects as well as our inbound leads.  I also use LinkedIn, Twitter, Buffer and Hootsuite on a daily basis to manage our social media presence.

I write every day, but can do so in almost any medium.  Sometimes I write a blog post directly in WordPress (as I am today) but sometimes I write first drafts in Word, or in an email draft in Outlook.  Doesn’t matter really.

Everything gets stored in the cloud.  I use instances of both Box and Dropbox for different situations, but it all syncs to every device I use.  I have a Fujutsu ScanSnap device both at the home office and office office.  Every document that crosses my desk gets scanned and stored for future reference.  Even notes I take at meetings on pad & paper get processed this way.

I read a ton and use Feedly, Pocket and the Kindle on a daily basis to keep up with stuff.

When I travel, Tripit is indispensable to keep my details in one place.

In my personal life, Evernote has become increasingly important to keep weekend “honey do” lists, grocery lists, hardware store lists, etc.

What’s your workspace like?

My desk at the office and home is as clean as possible.  At the office, it’s usually just my two huge widescreen monitors, keyboard and mouse, and that’s it.  I’ll have my folio or paperwork I’m working on at that moment to the right of me (I’m left-handed), but that’s about it.

I also have a wireless headset for my phone at the office, which let’s me stand and pace.  Keeps my energy high.  I have a huge library of business books at the office too, and a collection of autographed baseballs in a case behind my desk (it includes everything from Hall of Famers to a game-used baseball from t-ball that my dad signed for me years ago).

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?

Capture and triage every idea or task.  Write it down and process it using a trusted system (Getting Things Done again!).  In the car I use Dial2Do and even have a waterproof notepad in the shower.  This frees my brain to think about the task at hand or the next idea.  I swear, this is the single most important element for me to stay productive.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?

I’m really not better than anybody at anything in particular, but I do think I’m a pretty good writer.  I can churn out copy relatively quickly that’s fairly clear, concise and close to ready to publish.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

It’s still Outlook Tasks, but I use TaskTask for the iPhone and iPad which basically pulls from and syncs with Exchange.

What do you listen to while at work?

Most of the time I don’t work with music.  Lyrics distract me.  I do sometimes listen to classical music in the office.  Friday afternoons maybe a little Metallica.

What are you currently reading?

Three books – The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee, Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber, and The Power of Why by C. Richard Weylman.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I try to get in bed by 10:00 at night, then read for 30-45 minutes before falling asleep.  I like to try and get up by 5:30 a.m. to get a start on the day, get coffee, and be ready for the kids when they wake up.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Life is short, work with people you enjoy.  That and relationships are at the heart of everything.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions.

I’m going to shoot high and go for both Andy Sernovitz and Justin Gray.  They’re both very successful, highly productive people and (selfishly) I’m hoping they’ll share some insights into the secrets to their success & productivity.