One of my favorite blog sites is Lifehacker. Every now and then they have an article titled “My name is x and this is how I work.” They interview tech folk, business folk, creative folk, and more.
Since I might never be interviewed for this on Lifehacker (well, one can dream!), I decided to get the ball rolling and put it on phosphor. So, this is how I work:
Name: Michael Garber
Occupation: Owner, Editor, Producer, 5th Wall; Blogger, Garbershop
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Current computers: 2 very old Mac Pros. 1 2008 Mac Pro. 1 Macbook Pro. 1 White iMac. 1 Completely Awesome Hackintosh.
Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy Nexus
I work: Whenever I’m sitting down and sometimes when I’m standing up.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Final Cut Pro (all flavors and varieties). Premiere. Photoshop. Chrome. Google Apps for Business (mobile and desktop). Google Docs/Drive. All things Google, really. Dropbox. Quicktime 7… I hope it never goes away.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
Gmail labels, archiving, and stars. Before Gmail, so much of my day was spent sifting through email. As soon as I moved over to Gmail (not an easy move, mind you) and I wrapped my head around using tags rather than folders, everything changed. I now operate a near-zero inbox. Messages don’t stay in there for more than a day. It’s usually the most important oh-my-god-it-needs-to-be-done-right-now messages that stay in my inbox. Things that I’m working on or need to be referred to quickly get a star.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager?
Google Tasks. I know there might be better/more feature rich ones out there. But it’s simple, syncs with my phone and I can pull the list up any time through a widget. For certain lists, such as for office supplies or groceries, I find handwritten is always better. It’s too time consuming to keep turning on the phone so you can add a check mark.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?
My Wacom Intuos tablet. That’s what kept me from getting carpal tunnel. And it also made me 50 times faster during an edit session. I have a small Bamboo tablet that I bring with me to locations for editing. But I love the large Intuos the most.
What’s your workspace like?
At the moment, my workspace is the kitchen table. On some days it’s my “old edit bay.” And others it could be one of my edit suites. I consider myself very lucky to be able to leave one for another.
My “old edit bay” is really my center of operations. It’s fairly simple for an edit bay and very homey. I have a desk with two short equipment racks underneath, a tall restaurant style metro shelving rack for gear, drives, and more. As I mentioned above, there is a large Intuos 3 Wacom tablet that I use with all of my Mac Pros. I have a 16-channel mixer and two old JVC speakers that I’ve had since my first edit system in 2000.
In some bays I have two monitors which I use to separate out all my programs. Chrome goes on the right monitor. FCP lives on both. Other apps usually reside on the left monitor.
Back in the meat world, I have a couch behind me that is old, now, but is really the most comfortable damned couch in the world. I also have a large filing cabinet.
I try to keep paperwork to a minimum, but there is a certain amount of paperwork that is necessary to run any type of corporation or business. So that is where my important docs reside.
I also try to stay organized. But ultimately, I’ll keep one pile on the left side of my desk. That’s the equivalent to my Google Star folder. But in all honesty, I probably go through those papers less often than I go through my star folder.
What do you listen to while you work?
I uploaded all my music to Google Music about a year ago. So glad I did. There’s a lot of music that I’ve never listened to in my own library. What I listen to can be really random.
I love movie scores. So if I want to feel most like myself and get into a groove, I’ll put something of that variety on. I’ve always considered myself a pretty musical person, but I’m not necessarily into music. I never remember band names or songs. I don’t hear the words in songs and rarely remember them. I always hear rhythm and the main tune.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I generally go to bed between midnight and 1. If work is light, I tend to stay up until 3. It’s not very productive since I generally wake up tired.
What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else? What’s your secret?
Editing in FCP legacy. I am so fast editing in that wonderfully conceived timeline.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. My father would say that just about every day when I was starting to figure out what my career path would be.
Anything else you want to add for readers/fans?
I’m not sure if I have any readers or fans, yet. So, to anyone who stumbles across this, I think that the most important thing isn’t that you follow any one method for working a specific way. Rather, it’s important that you spend time in your life figuring out what works for you. What can you do to help yourself work at your best? And then, implement it! When things stop working, try to take a step back and figure out what went wrong and then adapt.