Even if you just pay cursory attention to tech culture online, Veronica Belmont is likely a familiar face. For almost ten years Veronica has been hosting and producing podcasts and videos with CNET, on Revision3's Tekzilla and now Engadget's Dear Veronica — along with a dozen other projects.
For someone who produces so much I'm not sure how she finds the time to read so many books, stay on top of tech news, and still climb literal mountains on the weekend, so we caught up with Veronica to learn a little about how she works.
Location: San Francisco, CA Current Gig: Host of Dear Veronica for Engadget, Co-Host of the Sword & Laser and Vaginal Fantasy book club shows. One word that best describes how you work: Frantically Current mobile device: iPhone 6 Current computer: Late 2013 MacBook Pro for my work machine. My gaming PC is a Doghouse Systems Armour TL-580 from a couple of years ago. Haven't needed to upgrade it yet!
What apps, software, or tools can't you live without?
Wow, where do I even start? I bet everyone says that. Slack has definitely become indispensable for me and my various projects. We use it to talk about production, share files back and forth, share stories, and GIFs. So many GIFs.
I'm also a huge 1Password fan, and use it on almost every computer and device I own. I don't even know what my passwords are anymore, for better or for worse. Audible and Overcast are my favourite audio apps, since I need to stay up to date for the book clubs and my favourite podcasts, of course.
I write almost everything in Simplenote, just because it's so uncluttered. I like that it syncs across my devices too. When I really want to go into a writing hole, I use OmmWriter. Most of my NaNoWriMo projects have been done on that, or occasionally Scrivener.
What's your workspace setup like?
I get all my pre-production done at my standing desk at my home office. Writing, social media, etc. all happens there (and gaming, too)! I use the Varidesk app to remind me when I need to stand and sit throughout the day, though my actual standing desk is from Jarvis.
When my husband is working from home, we usually work together at the dining room table, or in front of the TV (if the Giants are on). I'm not a big cafe worker, I get too distracted.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
I take advantage of the many startup services offered in San Francisco! I use Rinse for my dry cleaning, often order lunch from Sprig, Instacart for my groceries, and Shyp if I need to send anything using FedEx or UPS. Even if none of them make it past the five year mark, I'll use them while I can to make my life a little easier. I've been a big fan of Fancy Hands for years too, especially for helping me with travel research.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
I've still never found a perfect option, but I currently use Wunderlist. I use it primarily because there's a browser plugin for Chrome that let's me see my to-dos every time I open a new browser window. Maybe it's overkill, but it reminds me of all the stuff I need to get done!
Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without and why?
My Kindle! I'm still using an original Paperwhite, but I take it with me everywhere. With two book clubs, I have to read every chance I get!
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What's your secret?
I'm a dog whisperer.
What do you listen to while you work?
Sometimes I use an ambient noise app like Noizio for OS X. Other times I like electronica for background music when I'm working. Lyrics or talking tend to distract me too much.
What are you currently reading?
SO MANY BOOKS! Right now for Sword & Laser, we're reading Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. For Vaginal Fantasy, we're reading The Spymaster's Lady by Joanna Bourne. I'm also listening to Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari. This is not Lifehacker brown-nosing, but my guilty pleasure for web reading is Gawker.
How do you recharge?
Hiking! My husband (Ryan Block) and I go hiking almost every weekend. We often take our dog, Bodega, with us. We just completed our first backpacking trip to Half Dome in Yosemite. It was amazing! Bodega wasn't able to join us, unfortunately.
What's your sleep routine like? Are you a night owl or early-riser?
I read before bed, and that usually does the trick. I'm somewhere in the middle: I go to bed around midnight and wake up around 7:30am.
Fill in the blank: I'd love to see _________ answer these same questions.
John Scalzi! He writes so much, I want to know how he does it.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Respond, not react.
Is there anything else you'd like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans?
No, but if YOU guys out there have any questions, send them using the hashtag #DearVeronica!
We've asked a handful of heroes, experts and flat-out productive people to share their shortcuts, workspaces and routines. Every week we'll feature a new guest and the gadgets, apps, tips and tricks that keep them going. Want to suggest someone we should feature or questions we should ask? Let us know.