Talking tech with Taj Reid

The world needs more of Taj Reid. Seriously, the guy is an inspiration to what it means to be a creative and a kind soul. I met Taj over a decade ago and it’s safe to say, I’m a better person because of him. While his full-time job serves as creative director for wejetset – a modern travel store & creative agency, he’s also a father, husband, proud Philadelphian, app collector and Nike fanboy. Taj and I often find ourselves dreaming up crazy ideas but for today I wanted to dial it back and find out the tricks to his tech-ninja ways.

Taj's workspace at wejetset

What’s your current tech set-up look like?
It’s completely Apple dominated. I use a 27″ iMac at the studio, a similar iMac at home and a MacBook Air for everything in between all kept in rhythm through the cloud (Dropbox / iCloud and Things).

What are your top 5 mobile apps?
My top five apps are VSCOcam, Things, Instapaper, Day One and Tumblr. Oh – and a tie for honorable mention goes to ESPN’s Sports Center App the SC Feed, Letterpress and Dots.

What’s the best hashtag you’ve ever followed?
#FuelBandFriday – 
On Fridays a bunch of us compete to see who can get the most fuel points with our Nike FuelBands. It’s been a blast watching what people will do to claim the number one spot. If you have a fuel band and want to join our madness, don’t hesitate to give me a shout. ( Great times.

Even though email hasn’t really changed in years, which client do you use and any tricks you can share?

“My favorite email client is Sparrow. It works well with my general work flow. Plus it seamlessly integrates with Gmail. Unfortunately for users, the development team was acquired by Google. So, although they’re not doing anymore updates on Sparrow, I am seeing incredible improvements to the Google Mail App. Now if only they’d include a ‘View All Inbox’ option and make a desktop version – that would make me switch and leave Sparrow.

When it comes to my inbox I apply a GTD sensibility to it. I only respond to email at certain times of the day. I use the star mail option and have folders tagged, “”Follow Up”” and “”Noted””. Emails that I can answer in under 2 minutes I do right then. Emails that require more time – I star. Emails that require some additional work like an extra correspondence or I need to wait for something else to happen before I can reply get placed in “”Follow Up””. Then emails that don’t require a response but have some important information in them, I place in “”Noted””. For everything else, they get archived in category specific folders based on project or ideas.”

Consuming content has evolved quite a bit since the days of going to a single website. What’s your favorite way to read content? (i.e. blogs, books, magazines, etc)

I still go to blogs. I love that. I have a folder on my bookmark bar named favorites. I rotate 15 – 20 sites in there and visit them daily. For everything else, I rely on Reeder, Twitter, Instapaper, Tumblr and Flipboard.

Also, our studio definitely still believes in Print Magazines. We have a center table in the office where we stack all our favorite independent finds like The Alpine Review, Megawords, Tomorrow, and Offscreen. We try to rotate the selection every week or so. It’s become a great conversation piece for visitors and co-workers.

Taj Rondo Reid

Taj Rondo Reid

Is there a specific method to tackling your daily workflow?

I heavily rely on Things. It’s a great task management system and their recent cloud integration allows me to keep tabs on what I should be doing at all times across all devices. It’s also great for capturing new tasks or ideas on the fly. Plus, I like the way Things works with Siri & Reminders – it’s fairly seamless.

Beyond the software-side of work, I also believe in Utility Days. Once a week I try to schedule a day where I’m relaxed to review and acquire the ideas, lessons and new tasks that make up my day-to-day work. Utility days usually fall on a Sunday and consists of the following four things:

Relaxing: It may be a long walk, playing with my kids or watching soccer.

Reviewing: I take some time to think about the last week. I go over all of my meetings, notes, tasks, and various ideas that occurred during the previous week.

Acquiring: After I’ve reviewed the last week, I try to collect all the things that need to be done in the upcoming week.

Organizing: I assign 4 tasks to each day that I think will move projects forward, provide new opportunities, or introduce new learning experiences.

The combination of Things and Utility Days really help me maintain my workflow during the week.