Every week, we share the shortcuts, workspaces, and productivity tips of our favourite experts. This week, we’re going behind the scenes at Lifehacker. I’m Alice Bradley, and this is how I work.
Location: New York, NY Current Gig: Deputy Editor, LIfehacker Current mobile device: iPhone 6 Current computer: Macbook Air One word that best describes how you work: Whimsically
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
Then Melissa hired me (at another media company) and saved me from freelance existence. When Melissa went to Lifehacker, I applied for the deputy editor position: because I wanted to keep working with Melissa, sure, but even more because I had been a fan of Lifehacker since its inception.
Take us through a recent workday.
I got to the office around 9, and immediately launched Slack, where our staff members (and the Gizmodo Media Group company at large) do all of our business/gif-sharing.
I went through my Feedly account, where I’ve gathered all the sites that I look to for story ideas and inspiration, and drank way too much coffee. Then I combed through our “today’s story ideas” channel to see what other people were pitching, and pitched ideas of my own.
Pretty soon, stories began popping up in our “ready for edit” channel, so I switched gears and began editing those. Then I ate Second Breakfast. (I am often eating at my desk. My workmates love this about me. I mean, don’t ask them. But I’m sure they do.)
After about an hour of editing, I turned my attention to The Upgrade, the weekly Lifehacker podcast. All of the following week’s segments were done except for one, wherein we were to face our fears in a virtual reality environment. So Melissa and I headed into the studio.
I went first: A VR device was placed on my head, I was in a virtual office and spiders were all around me. There may have been some mild to moderate shouting. Then it was Melissa’s turn. She had to stand on a plank, 15.24m above the ground. I’m glad I only had spiders.
This week, we’re digging into the things you’re terrified of — the concrete stuff like fear of spiders and heights, as well as the more conceptual, existential anxiety we all have about just being alive. First, we interview Dean Sluyter, author of the new book Fear Less. Living Beyond Fear, Anxiety, Anger, and Addiction. Then Ben Brock Johnson, host of the Reddit podcast “Endless Thread,” shares the scariest stories from Reddit. But first, Alice and Melissa confront two of their worst fears — and you get to listen in.
After we had emotionally and physically recovered from the trauma inflicted upon us (the things we do for our audience!), there was lunch.
After lunch I edited stories and went through several video scripts with our managing editor, Virginia Smith. Then I edited more. And still more. And then I got on the subway to make my way back to Brooklyn and hang out with my family.
Besides your phone, what apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
I heavily rely on Bear: I use it for all my writing, list-making, to-do list management, everything. Please never go away, Bear.
What’s your workspace setup like?
The Lifehacker team (those of us at the New York office, anyway) all sit at a big desk, fairly close together. It’s a good thing we like one other. Fortunately there are common spaces in the office where we can make a phone call, or just work on a couch and pretend we’re all freelancers. Except we’re not wearing our pajamas. Or maybe we are! You never know with us.
What’s your best shortcut or life hack?
Meditate on the subway. It’s so much easier than you’d think, especially if you’re using a guided meditation and you have your headphones on.
Assume good intent. Everyone is doing their best, and people are (probably) not out to ruin your day. And it they are trying to ruin your day, assuming good intent infuriates them.
Who are the people who help you get things done, and how do you rely on them?
I rely on the entire Lifehacker team as well as Levi Sharpe, our podcast producer. I can’t think of anyone I don’t rely on! I’m probably relying on whoever’s reading this. (Get back to work.)
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
For that, I depend on my to-do lists on Bear, as well as setting Slack reminders. I have so many Slack reminders.
How do you recharge or take a break?
What I should do is go for a long, energizing walk around the neighbourhood. What I actually do is scroll through Instagram and Twitter and look for cat gifs to send to Virginia.
What’s your favourite side project?
I have another podcast, The League of Awkward Unicorns, where we talk about our mental health, and how we take care of ourselves. We’ve had guests like W. Kamau Bell and Aparna Nancherla on our show. We don’t update as much as we should, but when we do, we’re fun.
What are you currently reading, or what do you recommend?
His latest is a graphic memoir, All the Answers, about his dad Joel Kupperman, a once-famous Quiz Kid. As the daughter of an emotionally elusive genius also slipping into dementia, I found it profoundly moving—but I think it’s a great book for anyone. It’s insightful and fascinating and I can’t believe it’s not getting more attention.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Everything is learning.” A former boss said this to me once, and it really stuck with me. Whether you’re hitting your goals or making mistakes, you’re still learning. We’re all learning, every day.
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
How to parent a teenager in a way that respects his boundaries and individuality but also makes sure he’s not getting into trouble (which he is very good at doing).