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Ways We Work

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Brian Potstra

Senior UI/UX designer at Boltmade

What do you do?

I’m a Senior UI/UX designer at Boltmade.

What mobile device do you use?

I use an iPhone 5c and a Nexus 7 tablet.

Best way to stay on top of email?

Still haven’t figured this out completely… taking suggestions. Currently I keep my browsers open and deal with email as it comes in. If I need to concentrate I just close the browser and check it periodically.

Top five applications/programs?

Adobe Creative Cloud apps are the bread and butter of my day-to-day work.

Gmail, Google Drive, Google Calendar and Dropbox take care of scheduling, communications and general organization.

Bonus: Lately I’ve also been trying out Sketch as a replacement for Photoshop. It’s more suited to the work we do every day at Boltmade (application UI design, mostly), and feels more efficient too.

What is your best time-saving trick?

Turn off all distractions. If I really need to focus and get something done, the first thing I do is turn off Twitter and IM apps, close all but the relevant applications, and put my phone on silent.

Favourite productivity tool?

My Herman-Miller Sayl chair. It’s not the top-of-the line Embody, nor is it the ubiquitous Aeron, but the Sayl is a very comfortable chair and I think it looks awesome too. If you’re not comfortable, you’re not going to be productive.

One non-tech thing you can't live without?


Structure of your typical day? How do you divide your time?

I like to start my days browsing sites like dribbble, behance and flickr – usually with a coffee. Then I’ll check my inbox and get a sense of what I’ll need to accomplish that day. At Boltmade, we begin each day with a short ‘stand-up meeting’ where we share our goals, updates and challenges. After the meeting, I’ll either sit down and work on my own assignments, or pair with another designer or developer to collaborate or work in tandem. Working as a pair can boost productivity and prevent a designer from working down into a rabbit hole – two heads are better than one!

What does your workspace look like?

My home office is also a small home recording studio, where I compose and produce music in my spare time. Keeping it as clean as possible also helps me focus.

Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?

My friend and mentor, Jesse Bennett-Chamberlain.