I’m Sandro Galea, Professor and Dean of Public Health, and This Is How I Work

sandro galea

I am the Robert A Knox Professor at Boston University and serve as Dean of the Boston University School of Public Health. That means that I am an academic, with an active program of scholarship but also have leadership responsibilities for a large school. I am responsible for about 500 faculty and staff and 1100 students, together with needing to engage and be responsive to some 6,500 alumni in 40+ countries. My work is a combination of idea generation, articulating vision, and executing that vision.  I have an allergy to all-words leadership and see my job very much as to help our school community be clear about what it wants to do, and help us collectively get there.

Location: Boston.
Current Gig: Professor and Dean of Public Health, Boston University.
One word/phrase that best describes your work: I work all the time.
Current computer: Macbook Pro, 13 inch.

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

I have pared down my tech use to the basics. I use Office for Mac, Evernote, Tweetdeck, iCal, MacMail. And Dropbox. Everything on Dropbox for sync across devices at all times.

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

Being constantly on top of things, always ahead, never behind on emails or to dos.  And never to have any paper.

What’s your workspace set up like?

Simple, desk, screen, phone. Lots of empty desk space.  Chocolate bars in the drawer to my left.

How do you keep track of things you need to do (any to-do-list apps)? 

My email in-box is my to do list. If it’s still in my in-box I need to do it. If it’s not there, it’s done. My goal is always to have a short list of emails in my in-box. I don’t always succeed, but I’m working on it constantly.

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

I need my iPhone and my laptop. Not sure I need anything else.

What everyday thing can you do better than most people? What’s your secret?

I don’t think I can do any one thing better than most people. I think I can do a lot of things reasonably well, at the same time. Secret: I work a lot, and do it quickly. I also think that not having clutter, fewer things, less chaos, more organization, constant clarity about what I need to do is the way to get things done.

What do you listen to while you work?

Nothing. I cannot listen to music because (a) I’m in meetings all the time (b) when I’m not, I’m generating new ideas and I cannot have other inputs while I’m doing that.

What are you currently reading?

Submission by Michel Houellebecq; and Small is Beautiful by EF Schumacher

How do you recharge?

I play with my kids.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I try to sleep as much as I can, failing regularly. I get up at 5:30am so I can go for a run before work which means I try to be asleep by 11. I try. If I don’t, it catches up over the course of a week. I sleep in on weekends, usually till 8am.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

See everything, tolerate much, correct a little.


-Sandro Galea

Twitter: @sandrogalea



One comment

  1. Simple, clutter-free, and organized is what I take from your post. Good advice!


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