How I Work

Recently, I’ve been challenged to think a lot about myself and my skills. Doing this has really helped me to understand the things I’m good at, some of the things I need to work on, and now, I’m thinking more specifically about how I work. This isn’t really something I’ve thought about before.

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Current gig: Barista and barista trainer at Starbucks.
Current mobile device: Google Pixel 3 XL.
Current computer: MacBook Air, early 2014.
One word that best describes how you work: Scattered.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?:
Lists: I have them literally everywhere. There’s nothing like a good, detailed list to help you get through whatever you need to be doing. I like to keep my lists in Google Keep and on sticky notes, stuck on whatever I know I’ll see the next day. They’re like outlines for what my day is going to look like.

Grammarly: I’m not the best at punctuation or grammar, and I breeze right over the little mistakes that I’ve made when I read my work. The Grammarly Chrome Extension has helped me catch a ton of little errors that I’ve missed in the past, and I’m slowly learning from it.

Feedback: I strongly believe that you can never give too much constructive feedback. I love hearing about the tips and tricks that I could use to improve myself or my work. Most of the time I ask my dad or my best friend, but feedback in general helps spark my creativity.

What’s your workspace like?:
It’s an organized mess. I have a second monitor that I like to hook my laptop up to and a white board/calendar on the wall for lists and important dates. There is always a pad of sticky notes and several writing utensils within reach. The mess comes from all the things that I do when I get distracted then leave on the desk when I remember that I’m supposed to be working. I have hair ties, bobby pins, three tubes of chapstick, a nail file, and a small stuffed koala on my desk at the moment. I have no idea what I was doing to need these items, but they’re here.

What’s your best time-saving trick?:
I like to think that I do a lot to save time, but the truth is that I don’t have a time-saving trick. I get distracted incredibly easy. Most of the time it’s not even by outside distractions, it’s by other projects in tabs that I’ve left open.
That being said, it’d probably save me a lot of time if I just exited out of my tabs when I’ve decided to put something away for the evening.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?:
My really important to-do lists are all physical. I stick them to my monitor or I’ll close them into my laptop so that I always have a physical reminder about what I need to do for the day. If I have to open an app to get to my lists I’ll 1) forget that it’s even there and 2) get distracted by something else on my way to the list.

My small lists tend to be digital, and I keep those in Google Keep or the Notes app on my laptop.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?:
My JBL Charge 4 bluetooth speaker and my Sony Noise Canceling Extra Bass earbuds. If I don’t have a very specific type of background noise, I’m completely unable to focus because I get distracted easily, especially by voices.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?:
Accepting the situation I’m in, understanding that I’m doing everything I can to change it or learn from it, and knowing that getting upset over it is just going to make everything worse.

Everyday I’ve seen at least one coworker get upset over the day being unexpectedly busy, or someone in my family will get overly stressed about something that is easier handled with a level head. Being able to look at the negative on a day to day basis and still understand that I can use it for something positive (experience, practice, understanding) is something I’ve seen in a very few number of people.

What are you currently reading?:
The Last Safe Investment by Bryan Franklin and Michael Ellsberg. It was a book sent to me by Praxis, and I’m slowly making my way through it.

What do you listen to while you work?:
The Good Vibes playlist by Spotify. I’ve been listening to this playlist for about a year now. I’ve tried others, but this one falls into the background the easiest.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?:
Definitely an introvert. Being out and socializing all the time makes me tired. It’s nice every once in a while, (like, right now I can only go do things with a large group of friends about once a week) but If I were to spend anymore time out of my house than I already do, I’d probably melt into an agitated puddle of goo.

Talking a lot just drains my social battery. That being said, the friends that are closest to me are the ones that are totally okay with just watching a movie or scrolling through our phones without talking.

What’s your sleep routine like?:
I don’t have one. I sleep sometime around night, usually for five or six hours at a time, but it’s not constant. This is partially due to my crazy work schedule. I have to wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 a.m. Monday through Wednesday. On Thursday through Saturday, I close, so I can’t get to bed until 11:00 or 11:30. To top it off, I’ve had insomnia since I was a kid, so just getting to sleep and actually staying asleep is already difficult enough. Some nights I’m just not able to sleep until my next shift, so I don’t. Others, I wake up a couple of hours before my early morning shift.

I’ve considered asking for a more consistent schedule, but I like to open and close, so I can’t pick one to do all the time.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?:
Worry less, do more. It’s harder to worry about the problems that you’re actively trying to fix than it is to worry about the problems you’re doing nothing about.

Someone also told me once that if I wasn’t woking on fixing a problem, then I had no right to complain about it.

I pretty much live my life by these words.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?:
Don’t be so harsh on yourself. You’re probably doing a lot better than you think you are.