Who are you and what do you do?
I find myself in the unique position of going through accounting school and working in an accounting firm at the same time. As a result, I spend an inordinate amount of time at a desk during the day.
During the day, I work at a pretty uneventful desk with an HP laptop and a small 20″ Dell display.
In the evening, I find myself completing homework, writing articles and editing photos at a simple setup in our apartment’s extra bedroom. I aim for simplicity and room to breathe when at my personal desk, but it’s really hard to maintain that level of cleanliness and organization. Here’s my desk in its absolute best form:
What’s the longest-standing item on your desk?
The oldest tool I have sitting on my desk is the Rain Design mStand. I admire its beautiful, Apple-like design and love how it compliments the rest of the tools I use at my desk.
It’s also the one tool at my desk that promotes better posture. If I’m going to spend all day sitting, I may as well do it in the most healthy way possible.
What’s new to your desk?
The single newest tool I have at my desk is the iPhone 6 Plus. However, I don’t think this is exactly fair to say — I’ve had an iPhone for over four years and the iPhone 6 Plus is just an upgrade to a tool that I’ve had for a long time.
Instead, I’ve become obsessed with pens and paper as of late. My wife constantly reminds me that I don’t need any new pens or notebooks, but you will always find a new pen laying on my desk. Right now, my favourite pen is the TWSBI Diamond 580AL with a fine nib and Pilot Iroshizuku Shin-Kai ink. I love the TWSBI’s smooth writing experience and its extra large ink reservoir. TWSBI makes great pens at very reasonable prices and I couldn’t be happier with my 580AL.
What gear do you use to get your work done and how?
I have found recently that I have gravitated away from my MacBook and towards my iPad, iPhone and analog notebooks for productivity purposes. I lead a fairly busy life as a full-time student and full-time employee, so setting my schedule first thing in the morning is of the utmost importance to a smooth day.
I generally start the day off by flicking through meetings, appointments, and classes on my iPad in Fantastical 2, then checking my OmniFocus forecast before writing out my plan of attack (using Patrick Rhone’s Dash/Plus system) in my Baron Fig Confidant notebook. During the day, I maintain my Omnifocus and Fantastical lists using my iPhone and check off my tasks and goals in my Baron Fig. It may be a bit redundant, but physically writing out my schedule every day commits it to memory and provides focus first thing in the morning.
What’s one thing there you’d recommend to others?
Further to this, I wholeheartedly recommend carrying around a memo book and small pen at all times. I can’t tell you how often I’ve had to scratch out some quick calculations or thoughts in my Field Notes books that would otherwise be difficult to perform on my iPhone. Pen and paper have been around forever and there’s no doubting how useful they can be for just about any task.
What item causes the most friction in your day-to-day workflow?
Right now, my MacBook Pro’s internal storage causes the most friction on a daily basis. My photo library grows at an alarming rate, and I’ve had to resort to storing my entire photo library on an external drive. The inconvenience of having to plug in that drive when out and about has been enough for me to consider a new notebook.
But more importantly, the entire MacBook Pro is getting on in age. I purchased the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro a month after it was first introduced in 2012 and the entire machine has begun to drastically slow down when I put it under a little pressure. Lightroom and Photoshop just about buckle the MacBook Pro’s knees. If (and when) Apple introduces a Retina iMac, I’ll definitely have some considering to do.
What’s an item on your wishlist?
My wishlist is seemingly endless. New pens, new notebooks and new hard drives are always on my list somewhere. However, the single item I want most is the 75mm f/1.8 Olympus lens for my Olympus OM-D E-M10. The beautiful bokeh and blindingly fast aperture make the 75mm Olympus lens one of the best micro four-thirds lenses money can buy, and I can only imagine how much better my photo library would become.
Secondly, I would definitely like to pick up an external display of any kind for editing photos and writing papers and documents. While I’m aware that it is certainly possible to be a productivity machine with a small screen, larger screens for editing photos would definitely make the process more enjoyable. For now, I’ll continue to wish!