What do you listen to while you work? I listen to such a crazy variety of stuff while I work—one day, it will be guilty pleasure tunes from high school, then girl group stuff from the 50s, oldies mixes my Mom made, ambient instrumental stuff, or podcasts. There are a few bands that are always on rotation for me when I’m working—Violent Femmes, old Modest Mouse albums, Elliot Smith on mellow days, CCR on let’s-get-amped days. I actually watch a TON of TV when I work, mostly through Netflix watch instantly. I sometimes end up watching whole seasons in a day when I have a lot of stuff to do.
How do you listen? Mostly through headphones since I have studio mates who are into podcasts and silence. When I have my way or have the studio to myself, I listen out loud, mostly through my iMac. The only time I can’t really listen to music, movies, or TV when I’m working is when I’m answering emails or trying to figure out some weird technical code-y thing. I’m a pretty good multitasker, but I absolutely cannot write when music is on.
Do you have any favorite music websites? Ihave recently been really into rdio.com. I have a bunch of music on my main work computer, but since I have three computers and travel around a lot, it’s awesome to have a sort of cloud library of music and playlists. They don’t have everything on the site that I want to listen to at any given moment, but they do have A LOT and generally have all of my “craving” music on there—stuff like TLC’s Crazy Sexy Cool that I don’t plan on rebuying anytime soon.
Does music influence your work? I think sometimes it does, mostly just the mood of the music versus the mood of the piece I’m working on. There are a few direct examples though, my favorite being one of the daily drop caps which was made when I was listening to Mariah Carey.
Where do you find music recommendations?Who influences your musical taste? Mostly through friends or from keeping an ear open when I’m in shops and coffee shops around Brooklyn. I’m sure there are a lot of baristas out there that have inadvertently turned me on to some bands. My friend Jason of theheadsofstate.com was one of my major music tastemakers after I got out of college and I still ask him about recommendations when I’m itching for some new music. I visit pitchfork.com occasionally, but soundfixrecords.com (a record store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is really good at archiving their “best of” picks by genre. I usually end up picking up a few albums because of that.
If your work was a song or a musician, what or who would it be? It would have to be something really perky and dance-y but a bit grungy or handmade feeling. Maybe a Violent Femmes song? It’s hard to pinpoint a precise song/band! JESSICA’S PLAYLIST Banshee Beat, Animal Collective
I bet you’re busy. Do you own your own business or work from home? Maybe you have a family or volunteer in your community. How’s that work-life balance coming along?
If you are like most of the people I know then you’d probably like to have more time for yourself in your busy life. I call this “Me Time” – you know, that time that replenishes you – that time that you carve out just for yourself to slow down or do something exciting and fun.
How much time do you spend on yourself each day? Where do you fall on your to-do list – at the top, in the middle or dead-last? Most people put themselves last and think that they can’t afford to make time for themselves. They think their work or family will suffer if they take time out of their busy schedules for themselves.
Actually it is just the opposite. The more rejuvenating time you carve out for yourself the more energy you’ll have to give to your work, family and anything else you choose. When you fill yourself up first you have exponentially more to give. Here are some Me Time tips to slip into your work-day.
1. Date. Make a date with yourself at least once a day. Go for a walk around the block, go for tea/coffee, sit on your front or back stoop for 5 minutes and watch the world go by. Get creative.
2. Connect. Call one friend/family member that you like to talk to during your drive home from work each day (or during your lunch break if you work from home – have a lunch date over the phone). This can be a great, structured way to stay connected. Or, email a friend/family member just for fun each day.
That ball of neon yellow goop, otherwise known as Cyber Clean, is probably the best keyboard cleaning tool out there. It not only gets rid of dust and crumbs, but germs too. But if you’re trying to tighten your bootstraps and stick to a budget, there are plenty of cheap alternatives. How cheap? Well, if you can find one of these 5 common things in your home, it’s free.
Cleaning between your keys doesn’t have to cost a cent. Each of these common household things can do double-duty to clear crumbs and spills from your keyboard. Heck, they can even pull triple-duty to clean through the tight spaces of any of your electronics gear. Check out how to get started with…
A Paintbrush or Makeup Brush
You don’t need to buy a “keyboard brush” to dust sandwich crumbs from your keyboard. Just grab a paintbrush or a makeup brush. You’ll want to be sure it’s really clean, so shampoo makeup brushes well under warm water and clean paintbrushes with a mild soap. Make sure it’s completely dry before letting it anywhere near your keyboard—try hanging it upside down to dry for at least 24 hours.
Treehugger has nominated our SAYL chair in this year’s Best of Green design awards. We are so thrilled to be included and hope all you Lifework readers will head over to vote for Yves Behar’s awesome design. And just in case you were wondering how green that work chair really is check this out. At the heart of Yves’ design is the idea of eco-dematerialization. That’s a fancy way of saying 93 percent of the chair is recyclable. Structural components are hollowed out, reducing weight and volume. The ArcSpan, arm structure, and tilt mechanism are all fused into a single strong part that also reduces the chair’s weight. I love that Treehugger describes the chair, which retails for $399, as the green IKEA-killer!
Above: Core 77 did a great interview with Herman Miller’s Jack Schreur and Yves Behar on the evolution of SAYL.
Incredibly I am writing this without an iPad2 in my possession. We are among the seething masses who keep missing out. I call, I visit the stores, my husband calls, he visits the stores and we both get the same response: ‘Sold out, don’t know when we’re getting more in and no, you can’t reserve one!’
It doesn’t seem fair to hold back the list of great apps you’ve all been kind enough to share just because I don’t have my iPad yet. So here it is. And thank you to Gregory over at Unplggd for getting the word out. As always the Unplggd readers were really helpful. Here are your top 5 apps.
1.Evernote Everyone loves Evernote. I use Simplenote on my iPhone and laptop but all this positivity around Evernote may just sway me!
2 Drop Box I use this file-sharing site on my MacBook Pro and it is’s excellent
3. Informant First I’ve heard of this one but it won the ‘Best of Show 2011′ at this year’s MacWorld Expo
Ryan Brinkerhoff has a full time job as a designer for Origo Branding Company but in his spare time he designs posters, cards and the occasional t-shirt for Bandito Design Co – a store he set up on Big Cartel with buddies from art school. He shows us where this after-hours design work happens.
Tell us about the kind of work you do. How long have you worked from home? And where is home? I graduated from the Columbus College of Art & Design in 2008 and since then I have been working full-time as a designer at Origo Branding Company. I began designing screen printed posters and cards in my free time around summer 2009 with buddies from school. We wanted to start something that really pushed ourselves to continue growing as designers/illustrators out of school, and it has really turned into a passion of mine. Home is a 1 bedroom, 450 sq ft apartment in the Victorian Village/Short North area of Columbus, Ohio which I share with my girlfriend, Katie Tyne. This part of town is very creatively supportive and a lot of fun to live in.
Describe your style and how it relates to the space you work in and also the work you produce. I enjoy creating a lot of retro-inspired work with the use of bold colors and geometric shapes. Above all, my goal is to make things that have a lot of character or tell a fun story. My home workspace is a mixture of modern and vintage decor which directly relates to the style of my work. It is very important for me to work in a fun and comfortable environment where things don’t always have to be super organized.
Danielle Hardy turns blank walls in works of art with her vinyl decals. You can see her work on Etsy at UrbanWalls. We talk to her here about working from her garage and what a big difference a dedicated work table makes!
How long have you worked from home? And where is home? Home is a little outside of Vancouver, Canada. I have been blessed to work from home since my first son was born 4 years ago.
Describe your style? I love eclectic modern with a twist of traditional. Not sure if that is even a real combination? How would you define your aesthetic? I love clean and classic with pops of color to add interest.
How do you keep your work space organized? I have a husband that helps (*cough *cough forces) me to keep things tidy. Bins are my friend and my vinyl rack to organize all of my colors of vinyl.
When you set up your home office what did you have to keep in mind? I work in the garage of my townhome where there isn’t a ton of space so I have to do kind of a “one stop shop”. When I started out we used the island in my kitchen to weed the decals and then we would move to the kitchen floor to tape and then finally put all the decals to be shipped in the living room. It always took the both of us working together. By the end of the night our knees would throb, our backs would hunch over and I would beg and cry for a good foot rub. Finally, my husband made me a table where I can weed, tape and tube all in the same place and I can do it all by myself and it is fabulous!
Is there any piece of home studio furniture you covet right now? I finally just purchased my 48″ inch vinyl cutter which I was wanting for FOREVER. Now I can cut trees and huge designs that I couldn’t do before. my next purchase will be a new Mac for my office to create new decal designs.
What desk accessory can’t you do without? My laptop
What would you change about your work space? I would love more space or some cabinets to keep things in better order.
What inspires you? The things that inspire my designs are home magazines and blogs. What inspires me to sell these decals and work are my kids and giving them the best life that I can. I never take for granted that I am able to work from home and do what I love all while taking care of those I love. I am so thankful that Etsy has given me that opportunity.