Today, I am interviewing David McArdle for the “How I Work” series. David is a senior lecturer at University of Stirling. David read Law at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth and worked in legal publishing before commencing his PhD studies in 1993 under the supervision of Professor Steve Redhead at Manchester Metropolitan University. Prior to moving to Scotland in 2002 he held research posts at Manchester Metropolitan, De Montfort and Middlesex Universities.
Current Job:senior lecturer
Current Location: Stirling law school, Scotland
Current mobile device: HTC
Current computer: Dell inspiron 1721
Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
I teach in a Scottish university law school – criminal law, sports law, trade union law and employment law. Most of my research concerns legal issues in sports, currently the relationship between sport and intellectual property; the role of unions in the sports industry; the interplay between court processes and sports-specific arbitration; doping and some aspects of criminal legal issues.
What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
None really. For me a PC is mainly a glorified typewriter, but of course I use it to access legal databases such as westlaew and heinonline or for papers dealing with theoretical aspects. I daresay I wouldn’t do comparative or multidisciplinary work if I didn’t have such ease of access.
What does your workspace setup look like?
I alternate. At home I work on the dining room table, so if there are other people in the house that doesn’t really happen. I work here 2 days a week usually, when my wife is at work. If she is at home, I go into the office. Once the kids are home, that’s pretty much it so I often work late at night to get things finished – I don’t do weekends.
My office is a complete mess but I’m about to move so will put aside a day for a big clearout.
What is your best advice for productive academic work?
I am the worst person to ask that! I am under no illusions that having a family impacts on my productivity, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
In my head
\Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
No, not really. Twitter far too much, but that’s mostly a social thing – I live a long way from most of my friends and don’t socialise at or through work, so it’s how I keep in touch with the people who interest me.
Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
I can explain complicated ideas well. I’m a good writer and I try to be a supportive presence for colleagues and students.
What do you listen to when you work?
All sorts. Sibelius, the Stones, the Dixie Chicks, Roy Orbison, Peter Tosh… it really depends on my mood. But most often I listen to radio cricket commentaries.
What are you currently reading?
Peter Carey’s ‘Amnesia’ and Amy Bloom’s ‘Lucky Us’. I try to read a novel a week and although work and family often get in the way of that, it is my main form of relaxation. I rarely watch telly, only read about sports or the law for work-related purposes and don’t go out much.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
Again, it depends on my mood I can be different people almost simultaneously. I am often the guy on his own at parties but I can also be the life and soul of them. It depends who I’m with and how gregarious I’m feeling.
I don’t think it impacts on work, although it might impact on how sociable I am in work-related contexts (eg conferences, dinners etc).
What’s your sleep routine like?
Very good, unless I’m working away from home – which I do far too much of. I’m rubbish in hotels or sleeping on my own generally. Usually in bed by 11, up at 7-00 ish
What’s your work routine like?
Pretty chaotic. It fits around three children and a busy partner, but I’d not have it any other way.