Name: Justin Garrison
Current Gig: Systems Engineer
Location: Los Angeles
Current Computer: Self built AMD Desktop (home), HP 2740p (home), 13" Apple MacBook (work), Work desktop
Current mobile devices: iPhone 5s
I work: Efficiently

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

I need a terminal, text editor, browser, and remote connection to get things done. Otherwise these online apps are also pretty necessary.

What's your workspace setup like?

Here is an album of old desks. I don't have any pictures at my new desk but it's pretty much a combination of many of my old desks.


I work from home occasionally which is just a standard IKEA MICKE desk (black).


What do you listen to while you work?

I listen to a lot of trance/techno which is a habit I got into in college. I tend to prefer vocal trance but am in desperate need for some new mixes. Please send me any suggestions in the comments. I especially like long 1 hour+ mixes because there are no breaks.

I started rotating between Songza and my own music library (via Google music or Subsonic) depending on where I am and who I'm with.


I listen to a lot of podcasts in the car and when doing yardwork. I tend to rotate listening to podcasts and audio books every other week. With my current commute I can finish a book in just over a week.

What's your best time-saving trick?

Scheduling time/reminders for everything important and leaving time for things that are not important. Also, automating as much as possible in my free time and cutting out TV has greatly improved my productivity.


I also use IFTTT like a mad man to automate online stuff that I care about. You should check out some of my shared recipes here.

What's your favorite to-do list manager?

I have been using Remember The Milk for years now and love the simplicity and flexibility of the program. I talk about some of my setup here on StackExchange. I occasionally try different managers but always end up back on RTM.


I like to take notes by hand and also write to-do items in my Whitelines notebook for things that are not as important or during meetings. I really want to try the index cards note taking methods but first want to use up my current notebooks and also hope Whitelines will start making gridded index cards.


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

My Blue Sharpie pen and paper. I like to write things down a lot and always carry something I can jot notes on in my wallet and at work bring my notebook all over.

Technology wise I don't have a tablet and rarely use an e-reader. I really like my Jawbone UP24 but wouldn't say I can't live without it.


I will say Amahi and Crashplan are crucial to me not worrying about losing all my data.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Getting rid of things and being cheap. I am constantly going through my stuff and selling things I don't want/need anymore and buying new things. It funds my constant upgrading and allows me not to keep around too much stuff. I also am pretty frugal in repairing old hardware to make it do cool new things.


What are you currently reading?

I don't like to read fiction so I stick mostly to online articles (saved to Pocket), biographies, historical, and technical books.

This past year I have got in the habit of reading 3 books at a time. One book is an audiobook while driving, one is a text book for class at night, and one is a work related book. I'm not sure how many books I've finished this year but it's a lot.


Right now I'm reading

Last month I finished Triumphs of Experience (audio), Thinking Fast and Slow, and Visual Basic 2010 (class). Thinking Fast and Slow was one of the most interesting books I've ever read. It took me 4 months to finish but was totally worth it.


I also recommend setting up a method for taking notes while reading for retention. Here's my method.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Extrovert. Although I love working on projects on my own to recharge my extrovertedness.


What's your sleep routine like?

I usually sleep from about 11:30 - 5:30 during the week and 1 - 8:30 on the weekends. I got an UP24 to help me track my sleeping but have only been using it for about a month so far.

I'd love to see ______ answer these same questions.

Alton Brown

What's the best advice you ever received?

I have a terrible memory so I'd have to search my notebooks to find something.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I used to write for How-To Geek and have had quite a few articles posted here on Lifehacker but mostly you can find me on twitter or my blog.