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 journalist Spandas Lui.
Location: Sydney, Australia Current Gig: Lifehacker Australia's resident 'whipping boy' / journalist Favourite word: [Cannot be published] Current mobile device: Sony Xperia Z5 Current computer: Lenovo Yoga 2 Pro and Microsoft Surface Book 4
What apps, software or tools can't you live without?
This is going to sound extremely boring, but I have to say Outlook (on both desktop and mobile) is what I can't live without. Emails are such an integral part of work for so many people and I, for one, spend a lot of time trawling through a torrent of messages that swamp my inbox everyday.
I used to be a Google's Gmail fangirl but Outlook's overall aesthetics and functionality, both on the desktop and mobile version, has won me over.
What's your workspace setup like?
I'm naturally a messy person so I have to force myself to keep my cubicle at work as tidy as possible to prevent it from turning into Ariel's treasure trove of kitchenware. When I'm not accumulating mugs and plates at my desk, it look something like this:
Kotaku Australia editor Mark Serrels recently commented that my desk looks like it belongs to a teenage boy. I don't know what he's talking about.
Yes, I am a cubicle monkey and I don't exactly find being confined in an office particularly enjoyable. But I make the most of it by adorning my workspace with geeky trinkets from my formidable collection back at home. I also like to decorate my cubicle with photos of friends and family to remind myself that I do have a life outside of work.
My preference is to work with two monitors but these days I make do with just one screen. This is why I prefer laptops with a larger display so I can have multiple programs running on screen simultaneously. When I'm out covering events, I'll try to take the Surface Pro 4 with me.
What's your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?
Hands down it's the Ninja t-shirt folding technique (which I demonstrated in an episode of our Static Podcast). My partner and I are t-shirt hoarders and this folding technique has reduced the unpleasant chore of folding laundry tolerable and even, dare I say, fun.
What's your favourite to-do list manager?
It sounds really old school, but I prefer just using a notepad (a real one) and a pen. Nothing fancy. I stare at a computer screen the majority of the time and jotting down tasks on a tangible piece of paper gives my eyes a quick break. Also, nothing is more satisfying than crossing out a task you've completed in real life.
What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?
I'm great at finding humour in almost every situation. Not sure if that necessarily counts as doing something better than others but it definitely helps me maintain a healthy mindset.
What do you listen to while you work?
I'm partial to electronic music and I've found I work best with melodic dubstep idly playing in the background. R1 Melodic Dubstep radio station is something I tune into on a daily basis. The music calms me and I can tune out all the distractions in the office.
Sometimes I'm in the mood for some upbeat Korean pop music. I'm not Korean and I have no idea what the lyrics mean, but I like the catchy tunes.
What are you currently reading?
I'm currently in the process of re-reading Preacher, my favourite comic book series of all time, in preparation for the TV adaptation coming out next month. #geeklife
Caption: Trailer for Preacher TV series
How do you recharge?
I have a ton of hobbies and interests: video games, Brazilian jiujitsu, motorcycles, comics, drawing, etc. When I do have time to indulge in at least one of my many passions it helps me recharge after a stressful day.
I recently picked up the MMO game The Division and try to play it for at least an hour every night. I didn't realise just how much I missed playing an MMO and it's reinvigorating to tune out and just focus on leveling my character by completing missions.
Not checking my work emails after hours (too often) helps as well and I've become a little better at that.
What's your sleep routine like?
I'm a natural night owl, which was particularly useful during my extended tenure on World of Warcraft back when I was a university student. Since working at Lifehacker Australia, I've had to adjust my sleeping routine to make sure I can get up for my early morning starts.
I know everybody says it's bad to stare at your phone screen before bed, but that's exactly what I do. I usually end my nights in bed cradling my phone while swiping through Imgur. I know I shouldn't be staring at a screen just before bed but looking at ridiculous gifs and memes help me sleep, so leave me alone.
What's the best advice you've ever received?
Don't hold back on giving out sincere compliments. If you think somebody is doing something particularly well, let them know so. If you like what somebody is wearing, tell them you think their outfit is on point.
There are enough arseholes out there who are highly critical of others and are unrelenting in bringing others down. At the risk of sounding like a New Age hippie, why not be a rare light of positivity in a world full of shit?
Giving a compliment doesn't cost you anything but it could make somebody's day.