Location: Houston, TX

Current gig: Professor of Economics

Current mobile device: iPhone 4
Current computer: 13" Macbook, mid 2011
One word that best describes how you work: In frantic bursts

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

A text editor. I write papers and books using LateX, the math-friendly markup language. It's like coding, but without the loops. I've set up most tasks so that I can do them from the text editor. I'm currently trying out Textastic, but Sublime Text is my regular go-to editor.

What's your workspace like?

Take a look. The picture shows me at a relatively messed-up stage, with books all over that I'm referencing as I write notes for my class this fall. Typically I like to keep the desk pretty clear. I hook up my Macbook to an external monitor while at my office, and then take it with me to work at home.

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Illustration for article titled How I Work

What's your best time-saving trick?

Setting aside specific chunks of time to do scut-work - answer e-mails, send e-mails, fill out forms, file expense reports, etc.. Let's me focus on the project I'm working on at the moment. I don't understand the idea of multi-tasking. It seems like a fast way to get everything done really poorly.

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What's your favorite to-do list manager?

I use my e-mail, mainly. I don't tend to get long lists of small tasks, so it doesn't clutter things up needlessly. Plus I'm really cutthroat about my inbox (currently at 10 messages, which is already making me antsy thinking about it).

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

Gunnar Optics glasses. Got these about a year ago and they've made a significant change in eyestrain and headaches.

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What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

Packing light. I routinely go to two-day conferences with only a backpack. Roll your clothes, people.

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What are you currently reading?

Agricultural Transformation in a Global History Perspective. I know, riveting, isn't it?

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What do you listen to while you work?

Some kind of music or radio. I like to stream WXRT from Chicago, where I used to live. Otherwise my own music or possibly Pandora depending on my mood. My iPhone is essentially just a glorified juke-box at this point.

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Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I'm a college professor who spends most of his days alone in his office. You guess.

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What's your sleep routine like?

A night owl by nature. But with kids I'm now in bed by 11 pm and up by 7am. I function way better with regular sleep.

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

Neal Stephenson.

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

"You're not as good of a writer as you think you are."

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