I'm Doug Walters and This Is How I Work

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Every now and then I see Lifehacker write about how various people work…big names in the tech and creative fields talking about their habits, tools, best practices, etc.

I thought I would do my own “How I Work”. I’ve never really shared it with anyone before. I’m stealing some questions from Lifehacker’s interview of Walter Isaacson.

How I Work

Location: New Freedom, Pennsylvania.
Current Gig: Owner of WaltersWorks.
One word that best describes how you work: Discontinuous.
Current mobile device: iPhone 5S.
Current computer: Toshiba Windows laptop, Acer Chromebook C7 running the XFCE flavor of Ubuntu, iPad and iPhone on the go. I like to use a little bit of everything.

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?

I’m a heavy G Suite (formerly Google Apps) user, both personally and professionally. That’s where my email, file storage, and document/spreadsheet creation happens. I like being able to access it everywhere and at any time.

I use Evernote to jot down notes and snap pictures of things I need to remember. I also use it to do some journaling. I often think of it as my external brain. When I’m not in a position to drop my thoughts into Evernote, I’ll create a voice note on the iPhone so I can replay it later.

Trello is my project management solution. I’m a visual organizer so being able to drag cards around a screen, put them in columns, and give them colorful labels is pretty much the best thing ever. It beats having an office full of Post-It notes.

For web design I’m all about WordPress and Webflow. When it comes to graphic design, I’d rather use Canva than Photoshop.

I get my news and information from the internet. Twitter is open all day. I also use Reddit, Facebook, and every now and then I’ll crack open Google+. I just started using Pinterest to curate some social media content – it very well may become part of my every day repertoire. I struggle every day to keep myself “social media sober”.

Chromecast and Fire Stick have helped me to completely eliminate cable at home. I’m that guy binge watching House of Cards on Netflix.

What’s your workspace setup like?

I like neat little piles. I try to go paperless as much as possible but then I wind up with devices stacked on devices, so it’s piles all the time. You’ll often find me with all of my devices on simultaneously.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

I’ve tried several, and when it comes to do-do lists the most important factor is reminders. I use Siri on the iPhone and iPad to remind me at various times and locations. I can’t count on myself to remember to check a list all the time. The next best thing is the Tasks feature in Google Calendar – I’ve got to check the calendar anyway so my to-dos might as well pop up there as well.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I’m the best at finding information online. I’m not afraid to say “I don’t know”. Sometimes it’s just about being aware of the tools at your disposal. A weird package showed up in our tech department one day, nobody could figure out what it was. I snapped a picture of it and within about 30 seconds I had used Google’s image search to find an exact match. I’ve been highly web literate since a very young age. I don’t have any formal education in the field, but my own rabid curiosity has driven me to excel in reading the web and now writing and participating on the web. Maybe that’s just a long-winded way of saying that I’m a decent Googler.

What do you listen to while you work?

Depends on my mood. I run to Linkin Park and Young the Giant. I drive to Josh Turner. I dance to Bruno Mars. When I was learning how to code I loved using turntable.fm, but I’m a premium Spotify user now.

What are you currently reading?

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. I’m an INFP on the MBTI. Labels like that aren’t the be-all-end-all, but I would encourage anyone to do some self-exploration.

How does being an introvert affect your work?

Being an introvert doesn’t automatically mean you’re awkward with people. I work well with others and I have no problem standing in front of a crowd to teach people or sell an idea that I feel strongly about. But I do hate phone calls and voicemail. I’d much rather speak face-to-face or through text, email, or social media. I do get into a zone when doing web design work and I think that suits me very well when I need to recharge my internal batteries, so to speak.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I’m a night owl. And I hate mornings. I’m usually in bed by 11 and awake by 7:30.

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

When I was a Boy Scout, my dad taught me to always leave the campsite better than you found it. It took a few years for me to really understand it. Whether it’s my 9-5 work or my growing list of side projects, my community or even my own growth on a day-to-day basis, I’m always looking for ways to leave things better than I found them.

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