How We Work, 2014: Alan Henry’s Gear and Productivity Tricks | Wifi Walker, J B Chaparal Properties

How We Work, 2014: Alan Henry’s Gear and Productivity Tricks

Every week, we share a shortcuts, workspaces, and capability tips of a favorite experts and internet personalities. This week, however, we’re articulate about how we work, and today, it’s my turn. Here’s my favorite gear, apps, tricks, and collection to stay prolific when I’m on, and to have fun when I’m off.

The last time we did this series we was rocking iOS and Android, Windows and OS X, switching on a fly. Nothing’s altered there, and many of my hardware is still a same, so unequivocally check out final year’s for even some-more detail. I’ll try to speak about what’s altered between afterwards and now.

Location: Washington, DC
Current Gig: Writer for Lifehacker
Current computer: Ganymede, my 15″ MacBook Pro (2010), Deneb, my custom-built Windows PC (Win 7), and when I’m unequivocally bored, Europa, my 15″ MacBook Pro (2008) regulating Ubuntu.
Current mobile device: Moto X (running Android 4.4 Kit Kat). Also in a drawer: an iPad 3 (iOS 7), a Motorola Droid Bionic, an OG Motorola Droid, and a secure Nook Simple Touch.
I work: Passionately

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

Much like final year, we don’t consider we could get too many finished if we didn’t have entrance to Google Docs and Drive, Sparrow (Postbox on my Windows machine) to keep my multiple Gmail accounts underneath control. Things have altered a bit though: we now use Asana to keep lane of my essay ideas and pet projects. we also use Wunderlist to keep lane of my unchanging to-dos (more about that later). Since so many of what we do involves reading a news and staying on tip of a rest of a web, Feedly is my feedreader of choice, both on a desktop, on Android, and on my iPad (where we indeed cite to review a news.)

I’m still regulating Dashlane to conduct my passwords and logins, and we still adore it, nonetheless it’s been harder to suggest to people given they’ve altered their pricing structure and their desktop customer has gotten unequivocally complicated and memory intensive. It competence be time to demeanour behind during Lastpass, that just got a huge-and many needed-overhaul. We’ll see what I’m regulating subsequent year!

Personally though, we upgraded from a Droid Bionic we was regulating this time final year to a Moto X (yeah, there are lot of Moto X fans here during Lifehacker) and I’m in a throng that’s ideally happy observant it’s a best phone I’ve ever used. we struggled for weeks between it and an HTC One (and we still competence get a used One customarily to play with and exam apps on) and we couldn’t be happier with my decision. Just wish we could find some good looking cases for it. Touchless controls means we can set alarms, send records to myself, do section and banking conversions, and more, all nonetheless holding my fingers off my computer’s keyboard, afterwards peek over to see alerts and alarms.

What’s your workspace setup like?

By and immeasurable my workspace hasn’t altered given this time final year, shown above. It’s a hold cleaner than we routinely keep my desk-I customarily have a few toys and puzzles on my table to fiddle with while I’m thinking. I’m still unapproachable of my lamp-plus-camera mount: It pulls double avocation as a light source and a webcam stand-my Logitech HD C920 (which we bought on a Hive’s recommendation) is mounted there regulating a Joby Gorillapod, so when we do Google Hangouts or Skype calls a camera is tighten to my face instead of on tip of my monitor.

Beyond that, a hardware is mostly a same as it has been (you can check out the full collection list and specs from a integrate years back) nonetheless we have done a few changes. On a Mac, we put my Griffin Elevator Stand off to a side for a tiny bit while we try on a Roost Ergonomic Stand, that we have each idea to post about in a unequivocally nearby future. On a Windows side though, a few changes from what you’ll see above-I’ve been rotating automatic keyboards as we demeanour for a one that we consider will unequivocally fit me perfectly-I haven’t staid on one customarily yet, nonetheless I’ve been rocking a Razer BlackWidow Ultimate for a time being. we also substituted out a wireless Razer Mamba we was regulating before for a Logitech G700s that I’ve favourite a lot, brief battery life aside.

Other than that, a customarily tweaks I’ve done to my workspace given final year are a displays. Thanks to a folks during Monoprice, I’ve been contrast some of their 27″ and 30″ IPS displays, and we adore them (you can see some shots of my workspace with those displays on it in that article.) Seriously, once we get used to carrying that kind of shade genuine estate, it’s tough to go behind even to a 24″ Dell Ultrasharps that we used before. we might have to get a integrate of these for myself-maybe subsequent year I’ll have a triple guard setup, we’ll see.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

we unequivocally can’t understate a advantages of front-loading your day, and front-loading your week. “Eat a live frog first,” as it were-I used to put off a many formidable collection of my day until a end, and found myself stressed out all day long, given we was operative in a morning on lighter tasks, afterwards unexpected during a finish of a day, when people were withdrawal and circuitous down, we found myself with a lot of work to do. It’s even worse given I’m customarily a early chairman on a Lifehacker team.

The best thing we did for myself in a past year was to pierce my many difficult, stressful, and severe work to progressing in a day. It’s been a challenge, given I’m not a morning chairman by any means. However, by pulling by it and creation use of a morning, we have a whole day to revise and urge a work we did, and a progressing we finish my work a progressing we can relax or pierce on to brainstorming and being creative, instead of carrying an upside down day. If you’re in a position where we can do a same, we rarely suggest it.

One thing we mentioned final year that still saves me a lot of time on any given day is to chill out and relax -to consider about a volume of appetite we would put into sterile discussions and conversations contra productive, interesting, and intelligent ones. Time is precious-sometimes we locate myself prepared to rubbish time arguing with someone customarily to comprehend we unequivocally don’t caring that much, and I’d rather spend that time on my work, or articulate to someone who unequivocally has a doubt or a good indicate to share. Seek out a conversations and people that inspire, challenge, and disturb you-leave behind a ones that don’t, won’t, or customarily can’t. we unequivocally can’t understate how changed and profitable your time is. Don’t rubbish it on anything that doesn’t heighten you.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

So final year we was an Astrid enthusiast. Well, we all know what happened to Astrid. we was also regulating Wunderkit as my personal “idea bank,” nonetheless Wunderkit is left now too. Sadly, a abuse of me regulating services unfailing to close down seems to be alive and well. Since then, I’ve changed to regulating Asana as my thought bank, with opposite play for essay ideas and Hive Five ideas, among other topics. I’m not regulating Asana for my to-dos nonetheless (yet, anyway)-I waffled between Any.DO and Wunderlist after Astrid close down and eventually staid on Wunderlist, mostly given we consider it handles repeated to-dos some-more elegantly.

Still, Wunderlist hasn’t been nonetheless issues, and I’m still on a surveillance for a ideal to-do app for me. I’ve been toying with relocating all over to Google Keep, that we use from time to time and still consider is impossibly underrated.

Besides your phone and computer, what tool can’t we live nonetheless and why?

Aside from my mechanism and my dear new Moto X, and of course, my iPad-the device we indeed spend a conspicuous volume of time operative from (it’s ideal for reading a news, checking and commendatory comments, saying how a posts are doing on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+, and gripping on tip of my email), we have a lot of adore for my Bodum Tea Press when I’m prepared to decoction a pot, and my InginuiTEA when we customarily wish a crater or so. we mentioned them both in my post about personal rituals. They’re both income good spent, generally if we adore tea-and we adore tea roughly as many as we adore coffee.

Last year we mentioned my reliable Xbox 360 and my Sony NEX-5N, and we still adore them both, nonetheless I’m looking for a improved approach to streamline removing my photos off of my NEX and adult to Flickr and Dropbox. The Xbox 360 is still a core of my home museum experience, even nonetheless I’ve been definition to build a new HTPC.

Oh, and we unequivocally can’t understate how overwhelming it is to have an outmost battery container with me wherever we go. we adore my 18000mAh Limefuel battery pack, that we reviewed not too prolonged ago. Still a peculiarity battery pack, if you’re looking for one.

What bland thing are we improved during than everybody else?

we don’t know if I’d contend I’m improved during it than anyone else, nonetheless I’ve unequivocally honed my BS sensors in new years. It’s roughly to a fault, in a way-I’ve seen some-more than a few crowdfunded projects and other large new products that tech blogs around a web are crowing about nonetheless we purposefully upheld them over possibly given they didn’t fit us, or given we unequivocally have reservations about them. It’s unequivocally extraordinary how many of a pitches, products, and new glossy things we review about each day when we check a feeds are unequivocally germane to an intensely tiny organisation of people, projects or bombard companies designed to lift some income and not indeed solve a problem or yield a service. It’s a compulsory skill, nonetheless we try not to prominence things we don’t find overtly engaging or useful.

Beyond that, I’m a flattering meant cook, and I’m still some-more than a bit of a purify freak. we try to keep a kitchen spotless, keep my workspace in order, and keep my mechanism in order, inboxes purify and empty, and customarily about all we hold in good, purify order. we still consider we could use a help of a veteran organizer from time to time though-just to help me see opportunities and chances to classify we can’t always see.

What do we listen to while we work?

we used to listen to Pandora roughly each day, and while we unequivocally do around a holidays (the Electronic Holidays hire is amazing, whatever a season), I’ve been spending a lot of time over during Whyd (you can check out my form here) and during Upbeat, where I’ve been propitious adequate to hear a ton of good new music. Upbeat is from a folks behind Noon Pacific, another use I positively love. we also adore This Is My Jam, that we’ve also mentioned (you can check out my form here.)

Beyond song sites and streaming services, we also have a lot of adore for Freefall Radio, a weekly podcast by a ever-talented David Bassin. Between all of these, I’m never nonetheless new and overwhelming song to listen to. When I’m on deadline and essay my longer, underline articles for Lifehacker, we can customarily trust that I’m listening to an part of Freefall, that week’s Noon Pacific playlist, or throwing adult on what people are posting during TIMJ.

When song isn’t in order, a tiny overpower customarily is, nonetheless we shouldn’t censor a fact that I’m a podcast fiend. we allow to over 25 podcasts in iTunes, and keep adult with many of them flattering easily. we find a lot of good collection and segments from a lot of my favorite tech podcasts on a TWiT and Revision3 networks, and a lot of essay impulse from a good folks over there too.

What are we now reading?

As many as we wish we had some-more time for fiction, we customarily don’t have it. When we do read, I’m customarily reading long-form articles that drip into my RSS feeds, so we breeze adult picking adult a lot of several and engaging pieces from all over a web. we get a lot of my news from Hacker News (although they’re not a ideal source by any means) and over during Digg. we have, however, been nose-down into some-more than a few cookbooks lately, partially given they’re good impulse for cooking posts here during Lifehacker, nonetheless also given I’m always about upping my possess kitchen game. You can see some of my faves above.

Beyond that, I’ve indeed spent a lot of time newly reading systematic papers and journals. we have to keep adult with astrophysics investigate somehow (for those not in a know, I’m a recuperating astrophysicist), and overtly a final thing we review for giggles was Stephen Hawking’s latest paper on a inlet of information refuge and black holes. Give it a read-it’s customarily a few pages, and overtly leaves some-more questions than it answers, nonetheless it’s unequivocally interesting. If you’re unequivocally into physics, check out this groundbreaking paper on a observation of Dirac monopoles in a fake captivating field. The import of finding captivating monopoles anywhere in normal space would be huge-granted, this regard didn’t occur in any form of normal matter (indeed, a fake captivating margin compulsory a Bose-Einstein condensate) nonetheless it’s still extraordinary to see arithmetic open to understandable phenomenon.

Are we some-more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I’m unequivocally a bit of both. we theory technically I’m an introvert, given we need waste or time with a few devoted people to recharge my inner batteries. At a same time, we adore time with others, being out with friends, and while it can be formidable to get me out of a house, once I’m out and carrying a good time, we don’t ever wish to go home. Still, we consider newly a internet has been putting approach too many importance on creation certain we find ways to tag ourselves “introvert” and “extrovert,” instead of articulate about how we can adjust to and emanate environments that are accessible to everyone.

What’s your snooze slight like?

we still have a early change during Lifehacker, so I’m adult around 6am ET (3am PT) so we can start posting splendid and early during 7am ET (4am PT), even nonetheless I’m by no means a morning person. As shortly as we arise up, I’m now meditative about when we can go behind to bed and get some some-more sleep. Still, it’s adult and out of bed, to a coffee machine, and to a mechanism to make certain a initial posts of a day go adult well, no violation news escapes a eye, and so on.

we try to get to bed around 11pm-ish a night before, customarily so we get a decent volume of snooze there. If we can censor divided during a day for a discerning caffeine nap, we do, nonetheless customarily like we pronounced final year, while we can unequivocally holder out a work progressing in a day, we tend to feel some-more artistic after in a afternoon and evening, so we try to make certain we have time to brainstorm or work on my personal projects then.

Fill in a blank: I’d adore to see _________ answer these same questions.

Last year we pronounced we wanted to see how Maya Angelou or Nikki Giovanni works, or NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, given they were all purpose models for me as a child. I’ll hook LeVar Burton onto that list as good this year. I’ve been following his career given we was a kid, and he continues to enthuse me to do good things.

Like Whitson, I’ll also bewail a fact that Alton Brown hasn’t been giveaway adequate to do one of these, generally deliberation we’re all such outrageous fans, nonetheless he’s on a massively successful theatre uncover right now. I’d adore for Xeni Jardin to share her discernment with us, generally given if there’s anyone who reminds me on a daily basement how critical time is and how changed each impulse is, it’s her.

What’s a best recommendation you’ve ever received? Doesn’t have to be work or productivity-related.

Speaking of Xeni, I’m going to copy/paste from final year given all of it is still a best recommendation I’ve ever received:

Back in 2006, we was struggling with vital a kind of double life. On a one hand, we was operative in tech and going to grad school, perplexing to confirm if we wanted to work in an bureau with craving record for a living. On a other hand, we was already essay on my own, and unequivocally wanted to spin that into a career. we reached out to Xeni Jardin, first partner and co-editor of Boing Boing (still one of my favorite sites), on a humour for recommendation as a fledgling author looking for tips from someone some-more experienced. She replied:

Find infinite stories, things that intruigued you, and do your best to tell them honestly. There’s so tiny law in a universe these days, any tiny taste of it is a changed thing that will be appreciated, and find a beholden audience.

Don’t demeanour for “big” stories, customarily demeanour for ones that matter to you. The some-more we work during it, a improved your work will be, and a some-more people will see it.

I’m still operative on it, nonetheless each day we conclude her words. I’d also share a quote from a 8th century father of Zen, Shitou Xiqian: “The immeasurable sky is not hindered by a floating clouds.” Something else we try to remember, generally in this line of work.”

What are some of your favorite Lifehacker posts?

We’ve posted some overwhelming things over a years, and it’s still tough for me to trust I’ve been essay here during Lifehacker for as prolonged as we have (especially deliberation I’ve been a reader for many many longer), nonetheless here are a integrate that we still happily keep bookmarked:

  • How we Built a Media Center of My Dreams for Under $500
  • Automate Your Finances to Spend Less Time Managing Your Accounts and Take a Day Off and Put Yourself Through Financial Boot Camp
  • How to Deal with Internet Meanies, How to Stop Caring about Trolls and Get On with Your Life and, Not Being a Troll Isn’t Enough: A Handbook to Being a Model Internet Citizen
  • How Sitting All Day is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It and The Office Worker’s Schedule for Healthy Living Behind a Desk
  • What Stress Actually Does to You and What You Can Do About It and What Anxiety Does to Your Brain and What You Can Do About It
  • How to Determine if a Controversial Statement is Scientifically True
  • 10+ Dishes and Drinks Everyone Should Know How to Make At Home (Including You)

That’s a prolonged adequate list, nonetheless we know I’m blank some of my favorites, generally from behind in a day. You’d be tough pulpy to find an aged post from approach behind when that we haven’t commented on.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

we mentioned this on a new part of a Lifehacker podcast, nonetheless remember: a idea of being prolific is to spend reduction time doing a things we have to do so we can spend some-more time doing a things we wish to do, whatever those things might be.

To that end, life is too brief to be broke or ashamed of your passions. we have a lot of annoying hobbies, nonetheless as prolonged as we possess them, take fun in them, and make them your own, there’s no improved approach to spend your time and money. Live your passions and fearlessly welcome who we unequivocally are. Don’t censor or bashful divided from anyone.

The How we Work series asks heroes, experts, and flat-out prolific people to share their shortcuts, workspaces, routines, and more. Every other Wednesday we’ll underline a new guest and a gadgets, apps, tips, and tricks that keep them going. Have someone we wish to see featured, or questions we consider we should ask? Email

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.