How We Work 2016: Campbell Simpson’s Favourite Productivity Tips And Gear

How We Work 2016: Campbell Simpson’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: Gizmodo editor Campbell Simpson.

Location: Sydney
Current Gig: Editor, Gizmodo Australia
Your favourite word: particularly
Current mobile device: Lots — at the moment, a Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and a Google Nexus 6P and an iPhone 6s Plus
Current computer Again, lots — at the moment, a Microsoft Surface Book and a gaming PC running Windows 10

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

On my desktop and laptop, I would be dead without Chrome and GIMP. Chrome’s single sign-in makes it incredibly easy to switch between devices and still have all my logins (to the Gizmodo CMS, to a couple of different emails, social media, and so on). GIMP is the most efficient and straightforward image editing software in the world. I also use Lightroom whenever I’m taking photos in RAW, but that’s not every day.

On my mobile, Hangouts is my unified SMS/instant message client, and I mostly use first-party apps — like Twitter instead of Carbon or Fenix — for their respective platforms. I’d be lost without Google Maps, and Hey You is a genuine godsend for ordering a coffee as I’m walking into our office building. Google Drive is my go-to place for any kind of cloud storage, so I subscribe to a 100GB plan. And, of course, pretty much every streaming video and music service out there.

What’s your workspace setup like?

In the office, I have my desktop PC feeding into a 27-inch Asus and a 24-inch Samsung monitor. It’s massively overpowered for the light-duty Chrome that it mostly runs all day, although I can easily stack up 50-plus tabs over the course of the day. I also have my Surface Book plugged in and running Chartbeat to monitor site traffic, and it’s handy to just pick up and unplug for events or meetings.

When I’m out of the office, it’s the laptop plus a smartphone or two. I usually use one of my phones as a mobile hotspot for all the other gadgets I have going, including the laptop, and keep it away in my bag with the screen off to manage battery life. And I’m always wearing an Android Wear smartwatch to catch and dismiss mobile notifications whenever they come in.

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

Single sign-in on Chrome saves me so much time remembering usernames and passwords on a dozen different websites. Everything’s safe behind Google’s two-factor auth, so I’m not worried about security.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Almost always a coffee, and usually a couple of bits of toast.

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

I’m teaching myself to pick locks.

What are you currently reading?

Skunk Works, about the crazy secret aerospace engineering design that went on at Lockheed Martin during and after the Cold War.

What do you listen to while you work?

Ideally, nothing. I can’t write with music blaring, I get distracted. But the office usually has music playing through speakers in the ceiling, so I’ve gotten used to that — now everyone has to just deal with me humming along or whistling.

What’s your favourite part of your job?

Learning and writing about new and exciting things on a daily basis. Seriously, every single day is different and it’s never not interesting.

What’s your sleep routine like?

Usually in bed by midnight, usually awake by 6AM. Usually. That can go a couple of hours either way on a weekly basis.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

I am genuinely incredibly good at parking. Everyone thinks they are, but I could win awards. I reverse parallel parked a $750,000 Rolls Royce in a busy Surry Hills side street. I can do anything.

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

I’m not really one for inspirational quotes or heartfelt advice.


  • I just want to point out that I’m now using three different phones and two different computers to the ones I mentioned for this. Yikes.

  • @campbellsimpson did you happen to have either a build log or parts list for your gaming PC? I saw it mentioned in a few other articles, the tech geek inside of me is curious more than anything

    • I don’t have a build log, sorry, but here’s the PC that I’m using at work at the moment…

      CPU: Intel Core i7-6700K
      RAM: 32GB DDR4-2133
      Motherboard: Asus Maximus VIII Gene
      SSD: 480GB Samsung 950 Pro M.2
      Video: Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti
      Cooling: big-ass Noctua D15
      Case: Fractal Design Define S

      It does a decent job 🙂

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