How You Work: Photography, Ditching To-Do Lists, and How to "Just Ask"

How You Work: Photography, Ditching To-Do Lists, and How to "Just Ask"Every week we showcase the productivity tips and tricks of our favorite experts and productivity heroes in our How I Work series. Now, we're peppering our daily dose of tips with some showcases from you, our favorite readers. This week: Barron Roth, computer engineering student and freelance photographer.

As always, if you want to show us how you work and maybe see it featured on Lifehacker, check out this post for more info.

How You Work (Yes, You!)

Over the past year, we've chatted with lots of productivity heroes about their habits, workspaces, inspirations, and more in our How I Work… Read…

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Pending approvalOriginal post by Barron Roth on Barron Roth

How I Work

How I Work

Location: Boston & South Florida
Current gig: Computer Engineering student at Boston University and freelance photographer
Current mobile device: Galaxy S III running Android 4.3 with CyanogenMod 10.2
Current computer: Custom built Windows 8 desktop + Dell Latitude E5530 Laptop
One word that best describes how you work: Mercurially

How I Work

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

After the Internet, Google Calendar has to be the second greatest creation mankind has to offer. Juggling schoolwork, exam dates, parties, release dates, and jobs would be impossible without my color-coordinated calendar. On top of that, I thrive on Androids' ability to be tinkered with to mix up my life when I lack inspiration. Finally, Adobe Lightroom has allowed me to take my photography to the next level which has resulted in much attention from my peers at school and home.

How I Work

What's your workspace like?

My workspace at home is based around a comfy chair, 24" monitor, and my (discontinued but extraordinary) Logitech MX Revolution mouse hooked up to my newly built desktop. At school, it's a little more conservative—a provided desk and my laptop are all I need.

How I Work

What's your best time-saving trick?

First things first, learn your keyboard shortcuts. In addition, I'm floored by Google Now's ability to read my mind. It successfully manages to inform me down to the minute when I should walk out of the door to make it on-time to my next meeting. Last but not least, the classic devil horns headphone wrapping trick saves me from those extra few seconds of silence.

What's your favorite to-do list manager?

I've tried everything from Astrid, Any.do, todo.txt, to good old pen and paper, and nothing seems to really stick. If I fall behind my tasks, I'll get frustrated and give up on the application altogether. The only things that keep me organized these days are my good old Google Calendar and the new reminders feature in Google Now.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?

My camera. I invested in my Nikon D600 back in December when it dropped significantly in price, and it's been the largest and best purchase I have ever made in my life. The jump from a crop sensor (like my previous Nikon D5000) to full frame is like moving to a new planet where darkness doesn't exist and everything is more beautiful.

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I think I've mastered social media for college students. I'm very meticulous when it comes to post frequency, quality of posts, and my presence online. I truly believe my Facebook and Instagram etiquette formulas have helped me in more ways socially and professionally than I can realize.

What are you currently reading?

I plan on studying abroad in Tel Aviv in the spring, so many people told me to pick up the book "Start-up Nation". I'm not much of a reader, but learning how forward-thinking a country as small as New Jersey can be is astonishing and it makes me incredibly excited to live there.

What do you listen to while you work?

I'm a hip-hop head and a lover or PBR&B, so anything in those two genres gets my brain sparked and ready to begin the day or manages to calm my nerves and allows me to sleep. I listen to my jams with my black Monoprice 8320s.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Definitely an extrovert. I'd imagine it'd be difficult to be a successful photographer and remain introverted. Swallow that lump in your throat and introduce yourself to everyone. Getting your name out there is the most important thing, and being shy doesn't help.

What's your sleep routine like?

Caffeine-based. I sleep when I need it and coffee takes care of the rest.

Fill in the blank: I'd love to see ______ answer these same questions.

Elon Musk. How he manages to juggle so many projects successfully is beyond me. He's a real-life Tony Stark and my career inspiration.

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

My mother would always tell me as a kid "You'll never get what you don't ask for". I hated asking for things because I hated hearing "no," but later in life I realized that hearing "no" is truly a rarity due to the fact that others never ask. Second best piece of advice would likely be, "Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness." Claiming ignorance instead of being rejected always results in better life stories.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I definitely don't have the wisdom most "How I Work" subjects do, but for college students: ask, ask, ask for anything to anyone. It is very unlikely anyone else has asked for the same thing, and this fact alone has personally lead to some incredible experiences.

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