How We Work 2016: Eric Ravenscraft’s Gear and Productivity Tricks
Every week, we share helpful tips from our favorite experts. Instead, you’re stuck with me today. I’m Eric Ravencraft, yes, that’s my real last name, and I do this, for example, write words on the Internet.
We’ve all done this many times in the past, so I don’t want to spend a lot of time rephrasing the same apps and tricks that I used last year or the year before . I still really like Inbox , I still use my gaming peripherals for work , and I even use an Android watch ! Boring. Instead, let’s talk about the cool news.
Location: Atlanta Current job: Senior Writer. One word that best describes how you work: Voluble Current mobile device: Nexus 6P Current computer: Windows 10 customized desktop
What apps, software or tools can’t you live without?
Over the past year, I’ve spent more time creating my physical workspace than my digital one. While I was learning to work with Arduino, creating an awesome robot arm , I realized the value of a good soldering iron . I started using the Elenco SL-5 Station and Iron for precision work. I also used Adafruit’s Pro Trinket on a recent Arduino project where I don’t need to reuse the board. It takes up minimal space and you can program it with a micro-USB cable. It is ideal for small one-off specialized projects .
I also started using this Yubi tower to charge my gadgets throughout the day. Between my phone, tablets, and other devices that I sit for testing, I need to charge 3-5 things at a time on a busy day. It’s also handy when I’m traveling with other people and we all need to share two gates in our hotel room. Forty outlets might be overkill for most people, but luckily they have a much smaller version with regular sockets in addition to USB plugs.
I also have to mention Windows 10, which I didn’t mention in my post last year as it was only available in preview form. Now that everyone can use it, guess what? It’s pretty cool . I started using the multiple desktops feature regularly and even found a few Windows 10 apps worth using . It’s silly to call an OS update, but that’s how I literally work, and this time it’s not difficult to use it.
How is your workplace arranged?
I work in a small home office with two desks that I can move between depending on what project I am working on. On my large L-shaped desk, I write, with extra space on the side if I need to test an application or charge a cornucopia of the gadgets I have. This is also where I keep my pile of junk that should have been removed two weeks ago. I keep the second table on the opposite side of the room, specifically so that the computer does not distract me when I do non-computer work, because I get it from my daily work.
What’s your best time-saver or life hack?
Ignoring things. No, seriously, you should try. I used to think that I had to respond to everything that I was pinged to. A Facebook comment, an email from a stranger, or some random Twitter troll’s reply are all equally worthy of my attention. Aldeady no! As soon as I became comfortable with ignoring things that did not require my attention, I began to do a lot more. I already have enough to do, and I do not allow everyone to communicate on the Internet about what I need to pay attention to next.
What device, besides a phone and a computer, can you not live without and why?
My pressure cooker was the first on this list. I used to think that my cooking was bad. If you’re in the same boat, the pressure cooker is a magic box that makes you feel like a cook. I use it to cook chicken twice as fast, but a pressure cooker can handle a lot of recipes quickly. More importantly, it doesn’t need to be constantly monitored so you can do other things while you wait for your food to cook. A multicooker is all the fun without waiting.
What are some of your best everyday activities? What’s your secret?
Google Okay, maybe I’m not the best, but the work in the Lifehacker more than two years has taught me that most of the problems can be solved with a little research. Over the past year, I have made minor repairs to the stove, the water heater in our house, and twice repaired the girl’s battery. None of these tasks were very difficult, but I didn’t know how to solve them before. Not everyone can or should do this particular repair, but you will be surprised that you can find out how to do it when your first instinct when you have a problem is to start searching online.
What do you listen to while you work?
I recently started browsing a collection of carefully curated Spotify playlists for our newFeatured Playlists series . I also really like the mood- oriented Play Music playlists . Even if I inevitably end up at the Superhero Soundtrack Station. Movie soundtracks are especially good when I need to focus because they are designed to create a mood without distraction.
What are you reading now?
Whatever tickles me about Marvel Unlimited is well worth it . If you’re into comics, $ 70 a year (or $ 9.99 a month if you’re afraid of commitment) gives you unlimited access to nearly the entire Marvel Comics Backlog. The only thing you’re missing out on is about six months of the most recent comics being released, although that’s not a bad wait. Unless you’re waiting for Secret Wars to end. Which, by the way, was also pretty cool.
How do you replenish?
Solo content in an MMO. Yes, it is right. I join (and in some cases pay for a subscription) games like World of Warcraft and Star Wars: The Old Republic with tons of other people, just to ignore them all and focus on the things I can do myself. Oddly enough, they calm me down. Once you get the hang of a class in an MMO, solo content will mostly be just busy work. It doesn’t take a lot of thought or effort to complete the basic quest chain. Plus, the longer you walk, the more imaginary points you get that make you feel like you’ve accomplished something. Since most of my workday is about creative or brain-intensive research work, it is relaxing to be able to play mindlessly without feeling stressed.
What is your sleep pattern?
I usually go to bed some time before I wake up in the morning. I find it works better than the other way around.
Fill in the blank: I would like _________ to answer these same questions.
Probably Andy. He’s pretty cool. Oh wait !
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Plus, getting paid is okay. It sounds silly, right? Yet I constantly see more and more artists and workers who are willing to work for advertising or simply accept the first offer a company makes to them. If you do anything more complex than retail, negotiate your fucking salary . If you work hard to create something that the other person will pay money for, get it. Their job is to get the best deal possible. You only need to make your work so cheap that someone can buy it. Not for everyone to buy it. If a company or client isn’t willing to pay you what your job is worth, don’t be afraid to either negotiate a higher price or start looking for someone else.
What else would you like to add that might be of interest to readers and fans?
You guys are awesome. If you ever get caught up in a scam or something in Atlanta, say hello. Let’s have a drink or something.