We regularly share the tips, tricks and tools of our favourite experts and internet personalities. This week we’re giving you guys a glimpse into how we work. Today, Lifehacker writer Adam Dachis shares his fun workspace, vital tools, and weird way of getting things done.
Location: Los Angeles, California
Current Gig: Senior Writer and Art Director at Lifehacker
One word that best describes how you work: Quickly
Current mobile device: iPhone (Jailbroken)
Current computer: MacBook Pro 13″ with Retina Display
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why?
As long as I have something to write in and a copy of Photoshop, I’m good to go. Sometimes I write in Evernote, sometimes in Google Docs, and sometimes in just some other random notes app. I’ve never been great at sticking to just one option but I’ve learned how to use several and actually make it work. I tend to pick certain apps based on the type of text I need to type. I’m not sure I could define each relationship I have these notes apps, I seem to know what they are and never really lose anything. This might sound pretty scatterbrained and stupid, but it’s one of those situations where I’ve learned to just trust that I know what I’m doing. It works somehow, and I don’t question it. I just need multiple notes apps!
What’s your workspace setup like?
It looks a lot like a bed, but with me and a laptop in it. As much as we’re told not to work where we sleep, sometimes getting started immediately gives me a little productivity boost. Since I work at home, I can get away with it. But if I begin in bed, I take my laptop to the living room or migrate to the actual office down the hall by 10:00 AM. I like the living room because if people are around, I get to be around them and not in a box by myself. But when I do want to be alone for those moments of laser-like focus, I’ve got a decent setup.
My office doubles as a podcasting studio, which can handle four people even though I’m usually the only one in there. Due to some compatibility issues with my audio equipment and my hackintosh, I had to switch the setup to a Mac mini. While not as blazingly fast as my custom machine, it still moves pretty quickly and gets the job done well — at least after I stuck an SSD in it. A second Mac mini was also “required” to handle the remote audio from guests.
The office has a lot of stations, a lot of technology, and a lot of fun stuff in it. I could go into extensive detail about everything, but there are other questions to answer. If you want all the details, however, you can find them here.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
I think my entire life is hacked now. I don’t even know what’s a shortcut and what isn’t anymore. If I’ve learned one important thing over the last year, it’s the importance of delegation. It’s great to do things yourself, but you can’t do everything. Pick what’s important and find ways to have other people help with what’s left.
What’s your favourite to-do list manager?
My brain. If it’s important enough to do, my crappy memory won’t forget about it. Usually. 😉 But I do use Wunderlist for jotting down ideas and other things I want to remember in the long term.
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?
Currently, my Nintendo 3DS. My boyfriend got me obsessed with Pokémon and now it goes everywhere with me. But practically-speaking, I’ve never really had one item that I must have all the time. I rely more on a good go-bag than I do on one particular gadget. But you’ll rarely find me without a camera, and I prefer Sony’s mirrorless and point-and-shoot options these days.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret?
I’ve always said I’m not better at anything than anyone else, and I’m OK with that. I maintain my position on this issue! Even if I am the best at something, I’d rather not know. If you’re the best, you stop learning, and then someone’s quickly going to take your title away. So what’s the point?
But since I don’t want to give the same answer as last year, I’ll say I’m better than most people I know at being prepared. I’m rarely in a situation where I don’t have what’s needed to fix a problem. If anything breaks or runs out of battery, I’ve usually got a solution. If someone gets cold, I have a blanket or sweatshirt available. Hungry? No problem! I have a constant supply of food. Pain or discomfort? Did your arm fall off? I have four first aid kits. Why do I have four? They were on sale. And because I am always prepared for just about anything, even if all of my friends get diarrhoea and leprosy at the same time.
What do you listen to while you work?
The sound of silence. Not the song, the actual thing. But birds are always chirping and singing in my neighbourhood, probably because Snow White moved in next door and she thinks everyone appreciates her obnoxious charm.
What are you currently reading?
By the time I answer this it’ll have changed! Every year I’m slowly getting my way through the next book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, however. I try to finish the one for the upcoming season because I like watch it and tell my current watching partner what was in the book and what wasn’t — something everyone loves and doesn’t find annoying at all. So right now I’m on book four. I started it in March 2013.
Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?
I’m ambiverted. When I took the Myers-Briggs exam, I tested exactly in the middle. My school decided to call me an extrovert even though I was incredibly shy at the time. Now most people would label me an extrovert, but as much as I love being with people I also value my alone time. Basically, everything gives and drains me of energy. I need to keep a good balance or I go crazy.
What’s your sleep routine like?
In a word: short. I go to bed late and wake up early. I’ll almost never sleep in. I hate being asleep. I like being rested, but I’d rather be awake and doing something. I have a hard time going to sleep because I have to wait until morning, as if it’ll actually feel like I’m waiting. I’m sure it has happened before, but I can’t remember the last time I finished everything I wanted to do during a day and just went to bed. But I guess that’s good, in a way, as leaving things unfinished maintains momentum.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.
Everyone I put in that blank has answered these questions. Like John Hodgman, Adam Saltsman, Cory Doctorow, Tina Roth Eisenberg, David McRaney, Walt Mosspuppet, Jonathan Coulton, Felicia Day, Alexis Ohanian, Caterina Fake, and, of course, Gina Trapani. But I wanted to see these people answer these questions because I think they’re awesome and like seeing them on Lifehacker more than I actually want to know what they said. For the most part, I don’t like to know how the sausage is made. I want to figure it out myself — so to speak. I am a vegetarian, after all (and unfortunately).
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“You don’t get shit you don’t ask for.” I don’t get everything I ask for, but I have a pretty good track record of getting unlikely things because I actually ask.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers/fans?
If there’s anything I find interesting that I can’t post on Lifehacker, it will probably show up on my web site.