How I work

After reading the lifehacker How I work series, I thought that it might be interesting to write down my own way of working for the readers of Brain Tags.

What desktop software do you use every day?

As most people I have two sites from where I work: in the office I sell and support the products of ICG software, and at home I run BryteNet, do some web development, blog and keep in contact with me friends all over the world. At both places I use a Windows XP desktop PC, equipped with:

  • Firefox I use the Internet a lot, and have always have some tabs open with sites I want to read whenever I have a spare moment, e.g. when I am on hold. With Internet Explorer I would have my task bar cluttered with screens, but Firefox's tabs keep things organized.
  • ActiveWords Whenever I have to work on a PC without ActiveWords I feel very clumsy. ActiveWords automatically corrects my typing errors, opens my applications, fills in texts and generally saves me a lot of time.
  • Trillian With customers and friends all over the world I use instant messaging all the time. The problem is that everybody uses another application, and the different applications (MSN, ICQ, AOL, Yahoo!, Google Chat,…) do not talk together. Instead of installing a separate client for each protocol, I use Trillian, which 'speaks' all those protocols.
  • Skype Instead of sending messages, it is more efficient to actually talk to somebody. That is where Skype comes in, as I can talk with any other Skype user for free.

In the office:

  • Microsoft Outlook We are a Microsoft shop, so obviously use Outlook. Most of my colleagues use it exclusively for e-mail, but I spend more time in the calendar and tasks. Of course I had to make some adjustments, as the Microsoft way of doing things does not always coincide with my own. So I installed Outlook Quotefix to stop Outlook from top-posting when I reply to messages and to trim the headers in my replies. Furthermore I use the Getting Things Done add-in to streamline my workflow and the LinkedIn toolbar to create contacts directly from people's signatures and to keep them updated when contacts change their LinkedIn profile.
  • Windows Enterprise Desktop Search We have a lot of information scattered over a few places on several servers and of course on my own PC. Windows Desktop Search brings that all together, as I have it index all items in Outlook (mail, tasks, notes, contacts), and all documents (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, HTML and PDF) on my PC and the servers. I use the enterprise edition as it has a much cleaner interface than the MSN edition.
  • ICG Software Of course we have our own applications installed. Not only for giving support, but also for invoicing and tracking customer activity (CRM).
  • Unyte Unyte is a free add-on for Skype that allows you to share an application on your PC with the person(s) on Skype. I use it to give demonstrations, training and support to our foreign customers.

At home:

  • Thunderbird My e-mail client of choice. It is fast and complete. Of course I use the IMAP protocol instead of POP3, so I always have all my important messages on the mail server to be accessed through webmail.
  • Palm Desktop At home I don't need an advanced planner, so this simple (and free!) calendar, task list and contact list fulfills all my needs.
  • Ecto Blogging made easy. A real blogger does not write in small textarea fields, but uses a full blown desktop client.
  • HTML-Kit I used to do my coding work in notepad, but noticed that I needed some more features. Since then I use HTML-Kit to do all my coding.
  • RSS-Bandit To stay up-to-date with what is happening in the world I follow the writings on several web sites. Instead of visiting these sites every day, A read their feeds in RSS-Bandit.

What web sites do you use every day?

Just in terms of raw weekly hours, Google is definitely number one. In addition to regular old searching, I use it for looking up definitions, as a calculator, and for checking stuff like maps and weather. I do love the Google.

Furthermore I use Harvest to track my worked hours.

All other sites enter in RSS-Bandit, which is my dashboard to the world. It shows me tech news, news about my friends, search results on topics I am interested in, comments made on my weblogs, replies to comments I have left on other blogs…

What PDA/personal organizer/system do you use to keep organized?

I have a Palm Zire 31, which I keep synchronized with my two workstations. I always have all information at hand, whereever I go.

Home office
Jeroen Sangers @jeroensangers