How We Work 2016: Alex Walker's Favourite Productivity Tips And Gear

Once more it’s time for our annual How We Work roundup, where Lifehacker staffers and contributors share their favourite tips and tools for better productivity. Today: Kotaku journalist Alex Walker.

Location: Sydney, Australia Current Gig: Kotaku Australia Journalist Your favourite word: It’s not something fit for publication, sadly Current mobile device: LG G4 Current computer: i7-4770K, 32GB RAM, 2x NVIDIA GTX 780, far too many SSDs and HDDs, Eizo 23.5” 240HZ monitor and a BenQ 120hz 23” screen

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

FastStone Image Viewer. I’m constantly having to batch convert, rename, resize and overwrite images to fit within various sizes and limitations, and FS (it’s not FIV, weirdly) is super quick, has bugger-all overheads and just works. Love it to bits.

Open Broadcaster Software deserves a mention too. Great software, utterly crucial if you want to do any recording for games (for YouTube, or Twitch streaming, or if you just want to make GIFs later).

What's your workspace setup like?

I’ve got a long Bunnings desk with the two monitors and PC, and there’s a tiny table just next to it which essentially functions as a piece of wood that I can attach my microphone’s boom arm to. On top of the desk is the usuals, and there’s a subwoofer and a bin underneath that. Life basics, really.

What's your best time-saving or efficiency shortcut?

I can type with my eyes closed. I’ve been touch-typing ever since I was a kid, thankfully because my family are giant nerds and we more or less grew up using keyboards. That sounds like not much of a life-hack, but when you’re transcribing hours and hours of interviews, trust me when I say it damn well counts as a time saver.

What do you eat for breakfast?

I usually don’t, which is a legacy from working midnight shifts. I used to have a job working at a media monitoring company where my shifts would finish at 6:00 AM, and if I ever ate breakfast it’d stop me from sleeping (which is hard enough when the sun is up).

I’ve since found that I tend to snack more throughout the day if I eat breakfast as well, which is highly unusual. But then most of the crap I do is weird. I put hot sauce on yoghurt and ate the whole bowl.

What skill are you better at this year than last year?

I’m a rusted-on workaholic, and generally don’t like walking away from my desk because it stops me from writing or “doing my job”, as it were. I’m still a lot like that, but now I’m a little better at prioritising the things in my life that aren’t work.

Even if I still get yelled at repeatedly for sending emails at all hours of the morning.

What are you currently reading?

Renegade’s Magic by Robin Hobb. Hobb’s an incredible writer.

What do you listen to while you work?

My PC tends to lag a lot whenever Spotify is playing, so I don’t listen to as much music as I’d like. Lately I’ve been listening to the sounds of rain (Rainy Mood, specifically) which helps when writing.

What's your favourite part of your job?

I’ve been wanting to do this job ever since I picked up a copy of PC Gamer back in 1996 and read a review of Virtua Fighter. The fact that it exists is a dream, and the part that I get to do it is just as astounding.

What's your sleep routine like?

AHAHAHAHAHAHAH no seriously.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Making an entrance, although that’s probably more to do the fact that the building’s evacuation system has a habit of going off every time I walk into the office.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?

I never received advice, although I’m not really one to ask and I didn’t really hang around people who liked to mentor others. I will say, however, that attitude is everything. It’s incredibly easy to get lost in your own thoughts where your brain starts to fill the void with self-doubt, especially if you’re a struggling freelancer sending out pitches and not even getting rejection letters.

Having a good attitude can change your life. That’s not to say you should be positive about all things in life, but at least be positive to yourself.


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