Hi, I’m Matt and This is How I Work

Where are you located?

Bristol in the UK

What are your current gigs?

I am a contractor and my current title is something like ‘Infrastructure Consultant’. Basically, I do on-prem and cloud(Azure) sys-admin and automation stuff. And, of course, I am a TechSnips Contributor 😉

What’s one word to describe your work?

Multi-Threaded

What apps, software, or tools can’t you live without?-

  • VSCode – I spend a lot of time writing PowerShell code. I started out on ISE but I’ve become addicted to VSCode in the last few years.
  • OneNote and Google Keep – I tend to dump notes into both of these as much as I can. It looks very disorganized, but I use it as a notepad so there are a lot of random words and IP addresses etc in there, and I know what they mean most of the time. I am using hashtags more and more as a simple way to organize my random notes.
  • PocketCasts – I listen to a lot of PodCast on my commute, and this is the app that I have settled on. It’s not perfect, but it does the job and supports speed ramping which helps me consume stuff quickly.
  • Pocket (on Android) – I LOVE Pocket! If you don’t know already it’s a pretty simple app that saves text web pages (ie blog posts etc) with all the formatting stripped out leaving just the text to read. It’s a great way to save blog posts so that you can read them when waiting for a train etc. The killer feature is the “Listen” button that will read the saved pages out to you. This is the first thing I do when I get in the car, ie just hit the button and it will read everything to me while I drive to work. Google Assistant – I am spending more and more time talking to my phone and house!

What does your workspace look like?

At home, I have a simple desk against a wall in a spare bedroom, which has become my office. I have a single ultra-wide monitor (it’s like having two monitors) with the laptop alongside to give another screen. It’s all connected to a USB DisplayLink docking station. It’s a pretty simple setup which works for me and having it against the wall means I can’t see anything that will distract me.


Are you an IT pro ready to take your career to the next level? If so, join our contributor program! You don't have to be an expert presenter, a Microsoft MVP or even have a blog. We want your knowledge! You will be coached on presentation skills, become a member of our awesome community and get paid some nice side hustle income every, single month! Sign up today!.

For recording TechSnips stuff, I have lined our airing cupboard (that’s no longer used) with sound insulating foam. I got a bit obsessed with this when I first started recording and probably went a bit far, but at least there is no echo in my recordings now 🙂

What’s a typical workweek look like?

My current job means I have to be in the office Monday to Friday. The office is all hot desks, so the situation isn’t that different from my home desk, just with a lot more distractions. I do a mix of support and project work so each day is different, which I like. Basically, I fix/create/design whatever my customer throws at me.

What do you like the best about your role?

Nothing is the same from day to day, and I work with some really smart people. Ok, there’s always something that doesn’t change, but generally, IT is always changing and I love that. With the advent of ‘cloud’, the pace of change just seems to be increasing. It can be a bit much to keep up with, but I love discovering new shiny ways to solve problems.

What’s something about you that no one knows about?

I used to keep bees until I got stung on the eyelid and had a big reaction that could have killed me. I don’t keep Bees any more!

What do you listen to while you work?

This is something I’ve spent a great deal of time experimenting with (honestly I could write a whole blog post on this). I get distracted by background voices and my mind wonders easily. I’ve found that music really helps to block things out and keep me on target, so I try to listen to music that has no lyrics and isn’t too lively (unless I need some screaming music to wake me up).

These are some of the things I have found:

  • There are some great Lo-Fi Hip Hop channels on YouTube (Example: ChilledCow ‘https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCSJ4gkVC6NrvII8umztf0Ow’). These are a great continuous flow of music that doesn’t distract too much.
  • I use an App called Coffitivity (https://coffitivity.com/) which plays background sounds like you are in a Cafe. It’s a bit difficult to describe but it’s just like sitting in a Starbucks with all the background burble but you can’t really hear anything of what people are saying. It’s a bit odd but it really seems to work for me. There are loads of other apps that do this and lots of playlist on YouTube as well.
  • Music with no Lyrics works well. ‘Explosions in the Sky’ is one I keep going back to, but sometimes it can be a bit too noisy for full-on concentration.

What do you wish you could change about your work?

I never have enough time to try all the things I want to try out. There is always a burning issue or a deadline to hit when you have found a new method that you want to try out, or a new service in Azure (there seems to be a new one every week). I’d love to just play with the new/shiny all the time but sometimes you’ve got to actually do some work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *