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How I work

Note: While reviewing this post on 2015-06-26 it needs to be refreshed.

It’s an interesting challenge to disclose one’s way of work. Still it took me a while to prepare it. I realized that many people I follow on twitter did the same and there is an even longer list on lifehacker.

It’s also an assignment for a MOOC I attend (seems I am not the only one) at https://venture-lab.org/designthinking  #DTActionLab, so let’s do it.


(This is what I look like when I work)

Location: Today, summertime, I am in Central France, in a large old (200y+) house surrounded by volcanos.  I also stay long periods in South India or in the Bay area, California.

Current Gig: Sole Entrepreneur at Kneaver Corp, I design software for Personal Knowledge Management

Current Mobile device: LG Android

Current Computer: HP Pavilion dv7

One word that best describes how you work: Enjoy

What apps/software/tools

Kneaver (eat your own dog food 🙂 , Various browsers, Outlook

I started Kneaver based on my needs. Taking notes continuously (#workaloud), file and dispatch, weave a web of interrelated concepts, optimize my watch of social media, blogs. So Kneaver is really my workhorse. All my knowledge, experience resides there.

Since I am a software developer I also use plenty of technical tools: compilers, IDE (devstudio, eclipse), VMWare, rsync, git.

What I keep next to me when I work:

  • Booklet. I write down short-term notes when my screen is already busy, specially during debugging session when you can’t disturb the screen. Use it also to draw schemas, pictures. Scanned regularly.
  • Color pen Stabilo 68, same brand since I’m a kid. Next room I have plenty of paper of all sizes and I often sketch and draw my notes.
  • Post-it tags I have them all over the place. I don’t write on books, I place a tag and read again later and scan what I need. I gave up posters and post-its.
  • A camera always ready. I use it as a scanner when I travel.


I don’t really have a desk, a dedicated work area.

When I travel I will work from my hotel room, the next Starbucks, anywhere. I’m also coworking in San Francisco, New-Delhi, to taste different atmospheres of work.

 What I see when I work

(This is what I see when I work)

Here it’s a large place and there is a dedicated office but I prefer to stay in the kitchen: less doors to the fridge. The kitchen is full south, directly open on the garden: cats, birds, flowers. I prefer not to work in front of a wall, I like to have a perspective, not to be cut from the world while I work.

I’m on a bare table sometime embarassed by non-work related stuff: garden tools, vegetables, drafting tool. I work almost without paper. Incoming paper is scanned at once, I print very rarely.

I use a lot of cloud storage, cloud computers so my computer is often just a terminal.

Time-saving trick

  • In my job there are a lot of delays (compilations, transfers, tests). Too short and no predictable duration to really do other things completely. So I got used to multitask a lot with discernement. I chunk the tasks in advance and I keep track of interruptions on the booklet next to me.
  • Like pomodoro: 10′ concentration with a timer
  • do boring stuff first with a time limit (like noon)
  • alternate breaks and concentration

Todo list

I put everything in Kneaver and sort afterward. I extract a list of a few things to do every morning and check how much was done on the next morning then only I remove items from the to-do list. It happens often that after a night of sleep my evaluation of how much was done and what should be done next is different. Sometimes I realize that what I did was not good enough to consider the task done, sometime I found a solution during the night or during breaks.

I am not selective to accept things in my todo list but very selective when I review them. I would requalify as suggestions, nice to do, documentation area and keep only necessary and strategic things in my to do list. I keep this style because I noticed that concentrating only on important and urgent stuff, ground work, creative work, refactoring is never eligible to happen.


Karotz: This is the white rabbit like device in front of me. At times, it will play radio, tell jokes, read messages or remind me of important things. It can take vocal commands as well. It’s distracting but short. It’s a part of the Internet of Things #IOT. It’s connected by WiFi, RFID, moves of ears, webcam. It can move ears, play music, radios, read statuses, weather forecast etc.. From time to time it would say something, totally out of subject. From the programming side it’s a linux box, with http, node.js etc..

The thermometer is RFX based and sends data to the home server. It’s used to track the temperature, regulate the heating with a program I wrote. It takes as input the time of day, presences, UV measure, wind etc to save energy.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I’ve been told I cook pretty well. Since I work in the kitchen I’m also in a strategic position to keep an eye on what’s going on. I blog about cookery on my personal blog: http://winck.org

What do you listen to while you work

Music that I know, it will be a background sound and comes to my consciousness from time to time, It’s both an ambiance for concentration and a call to relax.

I realized that when I write a blog post I tend to switch off the music. This is because I like to hear what I write.

Are you more an introvert or extrovert ?

I’m an undercover introvert 🙂

Sleep routine

I tend to be a nocturnal. I would do most the activities with little need of concentration during the day and get to the hard stuff in the evening, sometimes to the next day.

When I go to bed, I read a few pages, fell sleep. I wake up by myself in the morning. 100% natural. I typically sleep one stretch between 5 to 10 hours.

I’d love to see xxx answer the same questions

Should check first if (s)he didn’t answered yet 🙂

Best advice

Have fun, right now.  Happiness is a given not an outcome


Here is a serie of blog posts on the same idea:

Mark Britz : http://learningzealot.blogspot.fr/2013/05/how-i-work_30.html

Tracy Parish : http://www.tracyparish.ca/2013/05/this-is-how-i-work.html

@eGeeking: http://e-geeking.blogspot.ca/2013/05/im-bianca-woods-and-this-is-how-i-work.html

Mark L. Sheppard: http://h2g2l.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/how-i-work/





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