I’m Matt Price, Assistant Professor of Psychology, and This is How I Work

I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychological Science at University of Vermont. I primarily conduct research on how individuals respond to traumatic events with a focus on using technology to address the many problems that can result from these experiences. Most recently, I am interested identifying easily deployable prevention strategies that can be used shortly after a trauma to prevent some of the more chronic mental health illnesses that can result from trauma exposure. I run a research lab called the Center for Research on Emotion Stress and Technology (http://www.uvm.edu/~crest/).

Location: Burlington, VT

Current Gig: Assistant Professor

One word/phrase that describes your work style: Fast, but fun

Current mobile device: iPhone 6s Plus

Current Computer Set-Up: 2013 Macbook Pro

What apps/tools/software can you not live without?

Slack – it’s a messaging platform that has dramatically made communication across my research team better

OmniFocus – it’s the best “To-Do” application out there. Its only for apple devices, so that is a shortcoming, but its tremendously helpful at making sure everything you are asked to do is tracked.

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

Read Daniel Silva’s How to Write A Lot and then schedule writing time every day of the week. It will make sure you get your writing done each and every day.

Also, schedule yourself for every hour of your work day. It helps to make sure you know what you should be doing all day long and prevents you from wasting time by asking yourself “what else do I have to do?” Each week I sit down with my calendar for the next 5 days and figure out what I’m going to do for every hour I am at work. It helps me make sure I know what I’m doing, set realistic goals for the week, and (most importantly) say “no” when it is necessary.

What’s your workspace set up like?

I’m a huge believer in lots of screen real estate. So I use MacBook Pro that is attached to an Apple Thunderbolt display and a second 27” Dell Display. It allows for lots of screen real estate to do the work I need to do. I also have a 3TB external drive that is used for back-ups (Back-up your data!)

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


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

My livescribe pen. It’s a pen that has a camera and microphone in it that digitizes notes. That means you can write a handwritten note and have an electronic copy of that note immediately. Its very helpful when outlining papers, attending lectures, and needing to jot out a figure. You don’t have to worry about remembering which notepad you wrote your note on, its all there on your computer (and its searchable too!). It also has a microphone to record audio – if you write while it is recording, it will sync the audio to your notes so you can listen to what was being said at the time you were making a note. For example, if a presenter was going to talk about results, you could write “results” and then just let the pen record the audio. When you checked your notes later, if you tap (or click on your computer) the word “results” it will play the recording from the point you wrote that word down.

What do you listen to while you work?

I’ll usually put on terrible pop music while doing data work, but I need quiet when writing.

What are you currently reading?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by JK Rowling, John Tiffany, and Jack Thorne

How do you recharge?

Lots of coffee… and time with family.

How do you balance your work life and your home/family life?

This is incredibly hard and I’m not sure I’m an expert in achieving such a balance. I try to stick to a consistent work schedule of in the office by 8:45 and out by 5:30. When I’m at the office, I do my best to focus on getting things done. When I get home, I try to avoid doing any work (other than a crisis that may pop up) until my son goes to bed. After that, I do my best to just set myself up for the next day rather than dive into a major project.

What’s your sleep routine like?

It’s a work in progress. I usually get 6-7 hours a night (largely because my 2-year old isn’t fond of sleeping in)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

There are two pieces of advice that are the “best”

  • “It doesn’t have to be right, it just has to be written.” As a graduate student, I had a hard time writing first drafts because I knew that what I was writing was “wrong.” I suppose I defined “wrong” as missing a key point in the literature, not saying something correctly, or muddling the point I was trying to make. And so I found first drafts (and ultimately final drafts) took forever because I kept restarting sentences, editing unfinished paragraphs, or starting from scratch. A colleague (I can’t recall who or I would give them credit) then told me this phrase and it was freeing – those first drafts or ideas didn’t have to be perfect, they just had to be done. And once the first draft was written, it was far easier to edit (and in some cases re-write from scratch). And that helped a lot with getting things done
  • “Its nice to be important, but its more important to be nice.” My wife told this to me after I had a particularly difficult meeting with someone. I have found that you get much farther in your career (and probably in life) if you can find a way to be nice and pleasant than by trying to sound important. This does not mean that you have to say “yes” to every request, but rather you should find a way to be polite about your daily goings-on. I have also found that those that are nice often are the ones who become very important in the long run.


Matt Price




One comment

  1. Good one


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