How We Work 2016: Chris Jager’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 editor Chris Jager.

Location: Sydney (Mostly) Current Gig: Lifehacker Australia editor Your favourite word: Rubbish Current mobile device: Various Android devices that I randomly swap between Current computer: Dell Inspiron 15 5000 Series

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

For work, my chief productivity tool is the content management system (CMS) WordPress. This is an open source blogging tool that we use to deliver all our content to you. Scandalously, I usually write directly into the CMS, which used to wind up Angus Kidman to no end. However, I maintain that the platform's auto-save feature and ability to restore old revisions is a lot more reliable than the majority of word processors. Also, it means I don't have to waste time hitting Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+P like a chump.

I’m terrible with directions, so Google Maps is another essential tool of my trade: without it, I'd never find half the events I'm supposed to cover until they were already over. For much the same reason, I'm also a big fan of the roaming SIM card service Globalgig as it allows me to navigate alien streets while working abroad.

What's your workspace setup like?

Since moving offices, my desk has become a bit of a pigsty. I blame my busy schedule and numerous PR departments' obsession with snail mail. It's all very un-Lifehacker, and I'm determined to clean up my act as soon as I get back from the US. By then, the pile of envelopes and boxes will probably be even higher. (Perhaps another Airtasker review is in order...)

An artists's impression of Chris' workspace. [Image: Shutterstock]

Apart from all the loose paper and bric–a–brac, I keep a pretty low-key work space. Apart from my laptop and mouse, the only other fixture is an ergonomic stand for my laptop. I don't even bother with a second monitor.

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

As I've said for three years' running, restrict social media platforms — especially if you're one of those people who constantly checks for comments and then replies. If you cut this out of your life, you'll be surprised by how much time you get back.

What do you eat for breakfast?

I'd like to say I've upgraded my brekkie ritual with lashings of protein, calcium and fibre — but the truth is I'm still drinking a bottle of the energy drink V. That's all my breakfast consists of.

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

I'm (marginally) better at managing Microsoft Outlook. In the past, I used to let my unread emails pile up in the hundreds. In my defence, these were mostly press releases for things I was never going to cover. Nevertheless, it made my inbox a scary, unwieldy place that drained my pep in the mornings.

It's taken three years, but I've finally organised my inbox in the proper Lifehacker fashion. Everything is now filed into bespoke folders with the useless pressers consigned to the trash can where they belong. I'm still not perfect, but I'm getting there.

I've also stepped up my skills in the photo editor GIMP and begun to delve deeper into Google Analytics and Nielsen which track our website traffic.

What are you currently reading?

I'm flip-flopping between a Leon Trotsky biography by Robert Service and a sixth re-reading of the Song Of Ice And Fire saga (AKA A Game Of Thrones.) Also, old Amiga Power magazines, because I'm weird.

What do you listen to while you work?

Folksy rubbish, mostly. Melanie Safka, pre-1970s Leonard Cohen, Simon & Garfunkle, Bob Dylan. But I mostly prefer to work in silence.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Digesting old leftovers that no animal should eat. I'm king of the scavengers.

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

A piece of advice from an old publisher springs to mind: "Treat readers politely and respectfully — even the arseholes." Some websites love to wield the ban hammer and/or fight fire with napalm at the slightest provocation. This has never been my way. As long as you aren't breaking our community guidelines or being needlessly insulting, I'll always endeavor to respond to complaints as cheerfully as possible.


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