How We Work 2016: Amanda Yeo’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: Lifehacker's early morning sub-editor Amanda Yeo.

Location: Sydney, Australia Current Gig: Early Morning Sub-Editor on Lifehacker, Gizmodo and Kotaku Your favourite word: Osmosis Current mobile device: Oppo Find 7 Current computer: Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series

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

It’s rather vanilla, but Microsoft Office. Who can live without Microsoft Office? Other than that, I just Outlook and Google Chrome it for all my work needs. I’m a simple woman, with simple needs.

For pleasure, I’m constantly on Tumblr, YouTube and Reddit. I also make great use of Twitter, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts on my phone. It’s very helpful for coordinating plans with my family, since our different work hours mean we can often miss each other.

Oh, and Steam. For sure.

What's your workspace setup like?

I work half my day from home and spend the other half in the office, so I get two workplace setups. The first is my bed. I have a little computer desk from Aldi and a Logitech mouse that I plug into my laptop, and a lovely big doona to keep me warm. I recently had to switch out my desk since the first one was too high and I was getting pain in my wrist and arm. Remember OHS, people!

In the office I get the standing desk, so I can see everyone else in the Gawker pod and rule over them like a despotic queen. It was formerly an ‘anybody who feels like standing can use it’ desk until I came along and stole any hope my colleagues had for the illusion of a semi-healthy lifestyle.

I carry my laptop in to work and plug it in every morning, and have a different mouse that I leave on my office desk. I have yet to personalise my desk, but that doesn’t matter so much as it is also used as the ‘we have this thing we need to put somewhere’ area. There is a constant rotation of interesting items on my desk, from Magic cards to cameras to lollies.

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

I have four huge documents containing everything I need to know to do my job, from style guides and templates to schedules. When I first started I spent a lot of time editing, simplifying and reformatting them. Now they’re incredibly quick and easy to use, which is great since I refer to them constantly. A particularly good time-saver is the subheadings. Now I can have the table of contents open and just click to jump to the part I need.

What do you eat for breakfast?

That depends on what I had for dinner! Most often leftovers, but I enjoy a good scrambled egg on rice. This morning I had leftover Lebanese and sushi, as well as a bowl of cornflakes. I also drink two cups of water every morning. I often forget to drink throughout the day, so it’s a habit I’m trying to build up.

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

It’s hard to say because what I was doing last year was worlds different to what I’m doing this year. I’d say that, in general, I’m better at speaking up and offering my opinion. I find it easy to overthink things or get stuck in my head sometimes, so I’ve been actively working on voicing my thoughts more. Ideas often seem much worse (or sometimes better) in my head than they actually are, and finding someone to bounce them off gives some perspective. It also helps me move on from ideas that won’t work, instead of lingering on them and trying to force them to work.

What are you currently reading?

The Tribe by Michael Mohammed Ahmed. It’s about an Arab-Australian boy growing up in Western Sydney. Full disclosure: I am in a writing group with Mohammed, so I’m a little biased. But I honestly think he’s one of the best writers around, and doing so much in terms of working for truth in representation of Arab- and Muslim-Australians. His novel was recently turned into a performance at Belvoir St Theatre.

What do you listen to while you work?

In the office, whatever is on the office playlist. Unless it’s something absolutely horrid, in which case I plug in my earphones and find the latest hit on YouTube. I can happily listen to one song on repeat for the entire day, since I’m so focused on work that I don’t actually pay any attention to the song at all. Right now my go-to is Justin Bieber’s Sorry. It’s catchy and I love the video.

At home, the dulcet tones of kookaburras cackling overlaid with my chickens screaming.

What's your favourite part of your job?

There’s so much I love about my job. Spending all day reading about the goings on in the science, tech and gaming world and other such things I’m interested in. All the gadgets and gizmos and games I get to check out. My colleagues are great. Plus I get to work in my pyjamas for half the time, so that's nice.

What's your sleep routine like?

Since I start work at 4am, I need to sleep by 8pm to get an adequate amount of shut-eye. So around 8 I tell myself that I’m only going to play one more game of Dota 2, at around 9 brush my teeth and take my laptop out ready for tomorrow, and then I’m in bed between 9 and 10, where I play around on my phone for a bit before sleeping. My alarm is for 3.50am (though I’m typically awake before then), at which point I switch on my laptop and start work.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I can make a pretty good lemon meringue pie.

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

“Fake it ‘til you make it.” I generally regard that as a dangerous piece of advice that can get you in over your head very quickly, but when applied carefully it can be useful. For example, confidence. If I feel apprehensive about something that I have to do, I put on a front of confidence. Eventually I get to a point where I’m so busy doing the thing that I forget to be nervous.


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