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I’m T.K. Coleman: Here’s How I Work

My Praxis colleague Derek Magill recently penned a blog post answering the “This is How I Work” questions from the Life Hacker series. Since then, my other colleagues have written similar posts. Here’s mine:

Location: Los Angeles, CA
Current Gig(s): Education Director for Praxis, Personal Development Coach
Current Mobile Device: Samsung 5, but this is completely irrelevant to me. As far as I’m concerned, all smartphones are the same. As long as I can download the apps, I’m pretty easy to please technology-wise.
Current Computer: Dell, Windows 8.1 OS.
One Word That Best Describes Your Work: Religious/Mystical. Whatever I do, I do it as if I were brought into existence by a transcendent force to do that very thing. For me, work is not some sort of sideshow to the real things in life. Work is a means by which I fulfill my sense of calling to make the world a freer and more creative place. If ever feel the need to escape or retire from work, then I take that as evidence that I’m not doing it right. Ultimately, I see my work as the process of eliminating the distinction between play and work. So when I’m hammering away at my goals, I’m literally prepared to die for my conviction that what I’m doing has cosmic significance.

WHAT APPS/SOFTWARE CAN’T YOU LIVE WITHOUT?

I rely on Voxer to communicate with my business partners and stay in touch with my family and friends. Voxer allows me to have meaningful conversations without real-time constraints. Considering the fact that I live on the West Coast (most of my family, friends, and colleagues live on the East Coast), this is very valuable to me. Voxer saves the day. Everything about it makes using the phone seem so ancient and inefficient. I use Zoom.us for Praxis group discussions, applicant interviews, business meetings, and coaching sessions. I like it better than Skype or Google Hangout for a few reasons: For starters, it only requires the host to have an account. I can start a meeting, send the people I’m meeting with a link, and all they have to do is click on the link to join the meeting. It allows you to have 10 callers on at once (even more if you have a premium account). You can record the meetings without downloading additional software (hello Skype) and you get to view/edit your recording before it’s uploaded to YouTube (hello Google Hangout). It also seems to have fewer technical difficulties than others apps I’ve tried before. Other apps I use a lot are Uber (I hate driving), GetPocket (It’s like Pinterest for articles, videos, and podcasts), and WordPress (it allows me to blog on the go).

WHAT’S YOUR WORKSPACE LIKE?

Nothing fancy. I work at home. I sit at a simple desk and I do my work. Apart from the Paul Collins portrait of Rosa Parks that sits across from me, there is nothing aesthetic or worth describing in detail about my work environment.

WHAT’S YOUR BEST TIME-SAVING TRICK?

Saying no. 50% of time when I say “yes,” it’s because I’m afraid of seeming like a jerk. Ironically, when I say “yes” for that reason, I actually end up acting like a jerk because I resent other people for eating up my time. When I push myself to say “no” with confidence, I never regret it and I’m always more energized. Ironically, I tend to feel more inspired to serve others when that happens. So by saying “no,” I save time, energy, and the entire planet. Just kidding about the third item. Kind of.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE TO-DO LIST MANAGER?

Isaac Morehouse. At the start of my day, I send him an email of what I intend to accomplish that day. It forces me to think explicitly about how I want to use my time and it makes me accountable to something other than my own feelings of inspiration. I don’t really care about apps when it comes to this activity.

BESIDES YOUR PHONE AND COMPUTER, WHAT GADGET CAN’T YOU DO WITHOUT?

I’m going to side with James Walpole here and say tons and tons of legal pads. I use them for taking shorthand notes during phone calls, capturing creative ideas for later reflection, and managing tasks.

WHAT EVERYDAY THING ARE YOU BETTER AT THAN ANYONE ELSE?

I have two things: 1) Using the principle of charitable interpretation when analyzing other people’s words and choices 2) Genuinely finding it easy to like people regardless of their eccentricities, quirks, personality-types, and philosophies. I actually think that I’m better than 99% of the human population at #2 and it’s been the cause of many blessings, many problems, and many funny stories.

WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I’m currently re-reading The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, The Secrets of Consulting by Gerald M. Weinberg, and Principles of Economics by Carl Menger

WHAT DO YOU LISTEN TO WHILE YOU WORK?

Mostly Jazz. The interplay of sophisticated structure and wild improvisation perfectly captures the spirit of how I like to work. McCoy Tyner Trio is what’s playing right now. I also listen to Christmas Music all year around. No joke. It always makes me happy. There is never a bad time for Christmas music in my world.

ARE YOU MORE OF AN INTROVERT OR AN EXTROVERT?

I’m very comfortable in a crowd and I really care a lot about people, but I get my energy from quiet spaces. I have never grown weary of solitude, but I can easily get exhausted when I’m around people too long. It is very very rare for me to say “Oh my gosh. I need to get around some people. Where are the people?” On the other hand, there is not a day that goes by when I don’t say “Okay, I really need some alone time.” I am most compassionate, creative, and inspired when alone time comes first.

WHAT’S YOUR SLEEP ROUTINE LIKE?

The Vampire Method? Honestly, I’m getting better at this. I’ve spent most of my life being a night owl like no other. Currently, my practice is to go to bed before Midnight. I’m successful at this 3-4 days out of the week. The nature of my work makes it pretty impossible to sleep in these days. Sleeping in for me would be staying in bed until 8:30am. Since I need 8 hours, it’s important for me to hit that midnight goal.

FILL IN THE BLANK: I’D LOVE TO SEE _____ ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS

Any man with children.

WHAT’S THE BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER RECEIVED?

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

Thank you, Howard Thurman.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

People will criticize you, chastise you, and complain about you, but they’ll never jump inside of your body and live your regrets for you. Do you. You’re the only one who can.

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