How We Work: Hayley Williams' 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 editorial assistant Hayley Williams.

Photo: Steamkittens

Location: Sydney, Australia Current Gig: Editorial Assistant, Allure Media Your favourite word: “Okay”. For such a simple word it has so much nuance. Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy S5 Current computer: HP Envy laptop at home, work-supplied Dell laptop in the office

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

Wunderlist is my go-to productivity/to-do app, which not only makes lists as per its name but is pretty nifty in setting up reminders and neatly categorising tasks. Lists are my favourite thing for keeping myself organised. I’m also a big fan of Dropbox as far as file management and sharing goes. I also can’t live without Photoshop -- a couple of months spent using Gimp on my work laptop almost killed me. Having the perfect images really completes a good piece of writing, and I’ve been using Photoshop for too long to make a switch.

What's your workspace setup like?

Simple, though it could probably do with more pens. I’m firmly set up in the digital world, so my desk is relegated mostly to tea, snacks and reference material (as well as my lunchtime reading). I probably should get around to decorating it a bit better, though. After almost eight months here it’s still a little bland.

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

I’m a notorious procrastinator, so the best thing efficiency hack I regularly make use of is simply chucking on my headphones, drowning everything out with some music and putting my phone aside to blast through my work without distractions. Other than that I highly recommend finding a workplace setup that works for you -- having two screens set up right and easy access to the phone makes things so much easier.

What do you eat for breakfast?

Whatever I can get my hands on. On the odd mornings that I get up early enough to prepare a full breakfast I like some combination of muesli, oats, yoghurt, honey and fruit in various forms, though usually it ends up being just a piece of toast in the car.

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

Phrasing my writing concisely. University habits (and the fear of word limits) take a while to shake.

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently in the middle of Brandon Sanderson’s Way of Kings, though I’ve picked up the Star Wars tie-in novel Dark Disciple to tide me over until part two arrives. On the non-fiction side I’m working my way through Game Changers by Leena Van Deventer and Dan Golding, and I’m also getting stuck into the first two volumes of Low from Image Comics. I like to keep my reading varied (and often)!

What do you listen to while you work?

I usually listen to game soundtracks or something with a chilled out, ambient atmosphere to get me in the zone for writing. Spotify’s weekly Discover playlist has become the highlight of my Monday mornings -- it’s starting to get pretty good at picking good work songs.

What's your favourite part of your job?

Working for all three sites under our banner (Kotaku and Gizmodo, as well as Lifehacker) is one of my favourite parts about this job. I can write about genre-breaking narrative games in the morning, new scientific discoveries in the middle of the day and everything from wine to tech entrepreneurs in the afternoon. A little variety always helps the job stay exciting.

What's your sleep routine like?

Not great, but getting better. I start work later than most people at 9:30am, but still have trouble dragging myself out of bed before the required 8:15am. I have been going to bed before midnight recently, which is a big victory for me.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Knowing every little detail about really unimportant (but interesting) things. Did you know that medieval wedding dresses used to be black and that the Blue Mountains were crossed way before 1813?

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

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way” is the common phrase for multiple pieces of advice that have led me through my life to so many interesting and awesome opportunities. I’ve been lucky enough to have been surrounded by people who’ve told me I can do anything I put my mind to, and I think more people need to learn this lesson as well.


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