Professional Development

How I Work: Sarah Prager, founder of Quist

The creator of the LGBTQ history app talks about playing with cats, avoiding the cult of new gear and goofing off online like a pro.

Sarah Prager.

(Photo by Sarah Prager)

Sarah Prager is the founder of Quista free mobile app that teaches LGBTQ history. It launched in July 2013 and has been featured on Huffington Post and BuzzFeed — and has been downloaded in over 100 countries.
Prager recently spoke about her journey developing Quist at Ignite Baltimore #15.

After hearing Prager’s talk, we wanted to learn more about how she does what she does. This is how she works.


What’s the first thing you do every day before doing any startup-related work?
Breakfast! I have oatmeal and spinach. No use in trying to work on an empty tank.
I do check my email before I get out of bed every day, though — I just don’t start replying till after breakfast.
How often do you check your e-mail, and do you use any program to get to ‘Inbox Zero’?
I usually have my email always open and try to respond to things right as they come in. I leave messages that require more time to reply to or follow up on marked as unread until I complete the response. If it’s a quick answer, I shoot it off. If not, it stays as unread until I have a chunk of time for it. Inbox Zero is something I reach about once a month and it makes me giddy every time.
How do you keep track of your revenues and expenses?
Excel. Nothing fancy.
When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?
My cats. They’re always trying to get me to take a break from work to pet them, play with them … let’s be honest — feed them. Taking a minute to just give them a belly rub always grounds me. If they’re purring, I’m smiling. (And yes, they do have their own Facebook page.)
Where do you turn to for founder’s inspiration when you’re feeling low?
I find community with other founders like me in the groups Lesbians Who Tech and Tech LadyMafia. They’re amazing and the women in both of them inspire me.
What’s your gear?
A 4-year-old ASUS laptop and an iPhone 4. Microsoft Office and not much else. I can get everything I need to get done with the basics and I don’t believe you need to have fancy gadgets to get amazing work done. I can’t afford them so I don’t worry about it.
A lot of my time is writing articles, posting to social media, emailing and other things that don’t require a lot of tech. I outsource design work and other things I don’t have skills or software for. I use Todoist for a to-do list.
What’s one time-saving tip you have?
Don’t get caught up in the glorification of busy. I try not to spend my time organizing what I need to do and instead just do what I need to do. Yeah, you have a lot to do, but obsessing over that and getting flustered doesn’t help. Get it done before you let yourself freak out about getting it done.
Take breaks, but make them intentional. Instead of drifting off into BuzzFeedLand, tell yourself you get 10 minutes to goof off and then get back to work. Otherwise you’ll be clicking on cat videos for the next hour.


Companies: Lesbians Who Tech
People: Sarah Prager
Projects: Quist
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