Productivity

I'm Adam Savage, And This Is How I Work

You probably know Adam Savage from MythBusters, the popular TV show that tests the validity of various mysteries against the power of science. When he’s not mythbusting, Adam is also an industrial designer, artist, educator and all-around Extremely Productive Person. We asked Adam to share how he works, from his favourite productivity playlist to the thing he does better than anyone else. Here’s what he said.

Name: Adam Savage
Occupation: TV host, designer, artist, educator
Location: San Francisco, California
I work: Intensely

My workplace is wherever I’m making something, which could be in a field in gold country, or in an abandoned warehouse on a military base.

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

I can’t live without Adobe CS. I use Bridge to manage my 90GB collection of project pictures and folders and research. [Also], my Leatherman. I use the Charge TTI or the Wave.

What’s your workspace setup like?

I have several desks: one at home, one at work, and one in my own shop. I spend little time at any of them. My workplace is wherever I’m making something, which could be in a field in gold country, or in an abandoned warehouse on a military base.

Pictured above: Adam’s 11sqm workshop.

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

I keep my inbox of emails at below 10. I answer everything as fast as I can, sometimes even asking for a delay and a reminder. The goal is to clear the backlog. I’m checking it on my phone several times a day so I keep current without having to answer a ton of email when I get home. I manage to respond to as little as a dozen and sometimes as many as 50 emails a day.

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

A small, AA torch. I use it constantly. I have over 20, so I can never run out. I like the JetBeam right now. It’s stainless so it’s a bit heavy, but it only goes on and off. That’s all I want. I don’t need any other bells and whistles. You’d be surprised how many they can shove into a simple AA torch.

What do you listen to while you work?

I like lots of music. Bernard Fanning and Powderfinger, Damien Rice, Miranda Lambert, Plain White T’s, Bill Evans. I’m indiscriminate. There’s something in my playlist for everyone to be bothered by. I often love the songs over the closing credits of crappy movies. I listen to NPR constantly as well. I love This American Life, On The Media, and Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.

How do you listen to music?

An iPad is the music server in my shop on iTunes.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I make eggs in many different ways. You’d love my eggs.

So if you could eat ONE kind of egg for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Slow-cooked scrambled — Gordon Ramsay-style (see video below).

We’ve asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we’ll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.


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