The Life and Times of Kelly Holler (The Setup)

Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Kelly, and I am a M.A. student in Rhetoric and Writing. To pay for tuition and get experience working in my field, I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the school I attend.

Two words that best describe how you work: Methodical madness

What hardware do you use?

Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy SIII. This is the first smartphone I’ve had, and I have no complaints.

Current computer: Lenovo IdeaPad, U400 series. I am not one to “love” my technology (I mostly just use it), but I LOVE this computer. The keyboard is perfect, the computer is light and sleek…it is aesthetically pleasing.

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

I can live without all of my gadgets. While technology makes my life easier and constantly stimulating, I make it a point to know how to detach from it. I don’t like to be dependent on things.

And what software?

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

Again, I take issue with  the “can’t live without” phrasing. But that aside, I use the Microsoft Office Suite, wordpress, many google apps (google play/talk/drive/mail/docs, etc.), occasionally iTunes (although I revile most things Mac), Amazon MP3, YouTube, kindle apps, FlipBoard, online banking, Fruit Ninja (really aids the productivity),  and a little app that helps me track what I’ve eaten and other fitness info. While I am competent with technology and learn any new system very quickly, I am not a big power user. At least, not yet.

What’s your workplace setup look like?

My desk is a horrific mess of paper and book stacks that rival those of a hoarder. At least from an outsider’s point of view, it looks like I have few organizational skills. In fact, I generally know where everything is (or know where to look). (My older sister once said of my bedroom: “well, I guess this is what genius looks like.”) I have a desk in my office on campus, which is where I do most of my hard-core work. At the far right of my desk is an hp LaserJet 1300 printer which connect by USB to my laptop. I have my personal laptop and a laptop provided by the program for which I work. My work computer is a Samsung-something-or-other. It does the trick in a pinch, but has a lower screen resolution than my personal laptop. Generally, I keep the work laptop in my office in case I forget my personal laptop at home.

So I always have my computer and printer, and then usually at least three piles of papers, divided by class/topic. I try to print out anything in hardcopy that actually matters, because I like to mark up my readings and have not found kindle’s app or any other digital commentary system to be preferable to handwriting. (That’s not to say the kindle is bad. It just isn’t better.)

I also usually have about three coffee cups on my desk, in various states of cleanliness. If it were the 1950′s, I’d probably have an ashtray with tons of cigarette butts. But I don’t actually smoke in real life, just in my 50′s fantasy version of myself.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

Hmm, I’ll get back to you on this one. I’m not sure I can think of any.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

I usually maintain a weekly to-do list that I revise throughout the week as I complete tasks or acquire more. The list blends both school and home responsibilities, and helps me to visually plan my days around errands, meetings, and school work. I’ve tried google calendars and other systems, but none of them have stuck.

What would be your dream setup?

I’d love to have two monitors and a PC in my office so I could look at articles/sites on the right and have a document I’m creating open on the left. I hate flipping between tabs and feel that it wastes a lot of time and mental energy. Call me old fashioned, but I also wish I had a landline telephone at home so I didn’t have to keep track of my cell phone constantly.

What do you listen to while you work? 

I always have Google Play open and listen to either instrumental but awesome music (like The Piano Guys or Lindsay Sterling [who combines violin with dubstep....yes please]) or dance music (like Britney Spears’ latest stuff or Lady Gaga) because it wakes me up, and I generally type to the speed of the music I’m listening to.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Erratic, I guess, but I generally sleep 7-8 hours. Usually I go to bed between 11 and 1…What can I say, it’s grad school!

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Not sure I can claim I’m better than everyone else at anything. But my talents include: baking, writing, test taking, political intrigue, etc.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I’ve been resisting this reality for a long time, but I’m an extrovert. I’ve very withdrawn in brand new situations while I get the lay of the land, and then after I’m comfortable, I don’t shut up.

Is there anyone you’d kill to see answer these same questions?

Uh, no.

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

Oh man, check out my grandma’s blog…

Is there anything you’d like to add that might be of interest to others?

I think I often get excited about new apps (like the fitness app I have), thinking that having the technology will get me to do the work/stay on the diet/go to the gym. But the technology doesn’t do the work…I still have to do that. The technology just helps to make sense of things, record things, or process things. But the inputs come from us.