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Office tale of Chris von Szombathy, artist/musician/designer

Office tale of Chris von Szombathy, artist/musician/designer

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you :

My name is Chris von Szombathy.

Your current job :


In which city are you located?

Vancouver, Canada.

A word to define what kind of worker you are :


What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

Digital scales, the dog, bass guitars, NeoGeo ROMs, Youtube.

What does your office space look like?

Mostly white, compact, smells good. (I think so at least.)

What kind of music do you listen when you are working ?

It’s probably from the 20th century and it probably has drum machines in it. If I’m doing rote work then it doesn’t matter what it as long as it doesn’t compete with me. But if I need to generate ideas then it’s usually instrumental or something I know so well that it might as well be but at half volume.

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?

I honestly would like to see more of what people are up to so I’m forcing myself to take breaks and look through social media. It’s just not a part of my natural course of the day to be plugged in so I do make time for it, even if it’s not as much as I’d like. Also: standing up often.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?

You know that topic, productivity or being productive, comes up a lot in casual conversation as a justifier or a motivator. When used like that it’s essentially a unit of measurement, which can lead to your well-being feeling dependant on your “output” to some degree.

I would suggest to get it away from being an abstraction and make the question of productivity specific: Are you trying maximize the efficacy of the direction or style? To generate more ideas? To stop procrastinating? Work slower? Become less restrained or retain focus? What is the part of the process that requires definition? Give it no easy way out and follow it.

At least finding the answer to any of those questions begins and ends the same way; which is making yourself available to work as often as you can. Style, production, problem solving, working through boredom, forcing work when needed, and being subject to it comes from that time spent.

Coffee/drugs work for some too. Cheaper than time (unless it becomes all you have time for).

You’re better than your colleagues to :

Throat sing.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?

It’s not spoken advice but one of my grandfathers kept on trying to finish paintings that he already sold: some things you never finish, some you wish would end.

What is your best tip for saving time ?

Grocery delivery. When I’m focused on working I can forget to take care of myself, especially eating well, and that can make a huge amount of stress when it turns out it’s 11pm and I haven’t eaten lunch yet.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?

I live a very ritualized life but oddly the only consistent day/night routines are A) staying up too late and B) sleeping in too long.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

Oven thermometer.