I’m David Murphy, Senior Technology Editor at Lifehacker, and This Is How I Work

Every week, we share shortcuts, workspaces, and productivity tips from our favorite experts. This week we take a look behind the scenes at Lifehacker. I’m David Murphy and that’s how I work.

Name: David Murphy Location: Silicon Valley Current Job: Senior Technical Editor, Lifehacker One word that best describes how you work: Autodidact Current mobile device: iPhone 8 Plus, with a potential upgrade to the iPhone XR looming on the horizon. (Yes, I talked myself out of the XS . Spending over $ 1,100, even excluding taxes, is a lot to spend on an S-version smartphone. I’ll be waiting for the iPhone XII.) Current computer: I built many years ago, and since then it has served me well since (although I’ve been thinking about upgrading lately). Key features include:

First of all, tell us a little about your past and how you got where you are now.

I started my journalistic career working as a junior editor for Maximum PC magazine, building rigs, testing displays, spilling coolant all over the place, bleeding on sharp radiator fins, and helping build a web presence for a national magazine from scratch. This internet presence has since disappeared, as have all the articles I wrote for the magazine as a staff member and freelancer, which reminds me of an important life hack / life tip: keep archives of your work the way you do it, not as a project. day off years after the fact.

After the magazine came out, I wanted to learn more useful skills beyond testing and analyzing technical equipment, so I worked with a small marketing company as one of their Associate Managing Editors, managing and developing content for some of the tech giants: HP, Cisco, and D- Link, just to name a few.

I then moved to Stanford University where I switched entirely to a business manager job at the Stanford Development Office, making sure donor donations were accurately tracked and reported. I then went upstairs to work at the Stanford Alumni Association, where I conducted hundreds of surveys and used the data to recommend program improvements for key university stakeholders. I enjoyed this job, although I never attended Stanford as a student. Yes, it was always a little weird.

During this period of time, I have worked as a freelancer for various technical publications and websites – especially PC Magazine , as it was called when I was doing my first technical publishing internship in 2005. I continued to work at PCMag for many years. as a news editor on weekends (yes, I worked seven days a week, even on holidays, for a number of years), even when they started luring me into tech publishing again thanks to a little old site called The Wirecutter . Longtime Gizmodo fans may have heard of its founder – as much as a former Maximum PC trainee.

I left Stanford to pursue the big dream that all tech writers undoubtedly share – to get rid of the routine commute to work from home and review great products. I became a Wirecutter router expert, which seemed appropriate considering I helped test routers during my first week as a PC Magazine trainee. I also picked several other categories including desktop monitors, gaming keyboards and mice, laptops, and virtual reality headsets (briefly).

I left Wirecutter a month before The New York Times bought it to take a job at Apple. No, it has nothing to do with my coverage on Lifehacker. A little over a year later, I left Apple to implement an editorial strategy for a Silicon Valley startup called Unboxed . Then I joined Lifehacker and here we are.

Tell us about a recent work day.

I wake up at 6am on the west coast because that’s the start time for my fellow Lifehacker on the east coast. I used to think about highlighting the day the night before, but I use my morning time to skim through the headlines and see what interesting ideas we can come up with based on the big news of the day – if I didn’t know it beforehand. I usually skip breakfast, which used to seem like a catastrophic mistake , but now I don’t feel so bad. I write until I get hungry, which could be somewhere between 11:00 and 14:00. I dine at my desk while I work, although I know I probably shouldn’t .

After finishing Lifehacker for the day, I like to relax by turning off my brain for a while. I’ll play video games (if your fun / friendly / social World of Warcraft guild needspoints , let me know ), run errands before the terrible rush hour in Silicon Valley, and try to convince myself to do something. productive with my short bursts of free time. I try to go to bed around 10 or 11 pm, but I’m a night owl, so it doesn’t always happen. David’s Morning always pays for the bad choice of Evening David.

How is your workplace arranged?

A complete shitty mess. I don’t like being a messy person. I swear. However, since I live in Silicon Valley and I’m not an engineer, that means I’m stuck packing my whole life into a small room – a small room in a big house, but a room nonetheless. Every time I try to tidy up my room, after about a week or so, entropy builds up and things start to look like shit again. Especially my desk. I hate a messy table.

I’m nervous, so I like to change jobs during the day. I usually work on my desktop PC until I can take it out, then switch to my laptop and sit in bed, wander on the living room couch, or maybe even indulge in a Starbucks run. However, the only problem is that in order to write efficiently, I need complete silence. So Starbucks is usually a shorter ride if someone near me is having a serious conversation. The sounds of delicious coffee brewing do not bother me, but if my brain hears something interesting, it wants to think about it, not about life hacks and the like.

What’s your best shortcut or life hack?

Podcasts are a great way to distract yourself when you’re doing something you wouldn’t otherwise want to do – a huge car ride, a run, etc. I love to swing in the car, but if I’m doing a task that can start my internal clock and make me count every awful second, it annoys me to listen to music. It’s predictable, and I’m starting to think that each song that goes by is just three minutes (or whatever) of a long, long process. Podcasts make it difficult to measure time, and it is easier for me to disconnect when I listen to them.

Yes, and always keep a fresh roll of toilet paper on top of the toilet so you don’t have to look for a replacement when you drop the anchor. Your support will always be at hand. Always .

How do you keep track of what you need to do?

I have yet to choose the ideal method. I always have to jot down what I think about — ideas for new stories, for example — because I know my distracted self can be a little forgetful given how many breaks, tasks, and other mini-projects I do every day. base. I used to use stickers, but it got cumbersome (and my handwriting is terrible).

Then I tried to use the board, but it was old, broken and difficult to wipe off. I’ve switched to using different note-taking apps, but now it’s easiest for me to upload what I might want to look at later into different bookmark folders. This (obviously) doesn’t work for to-do or tasks that I usually bark into my iPhone through Siri to set reminders of what to do.

How to recharge or relax?

I enjoy working as an actor, so I usually spend a lot of time rehearsing various musicals in the San Francisco Bay Area. While this may not sound like much fun on paper, I actually find it relaxing to go to rehearsals. I enjoy seeing my friends (or meeting new ones), singing epic pieces of music, and the camaraderie (and dire dietary preferences) that come from spending four to six nights a week with the same group of people for months.

My favorite roles are Thomas Jefferson ( 1776 ), Grease ( Forever Plaid ), Roll ( The Addams Family ), Karl ( Big Fish ), Jud Fry ( Oklahoma! ) And Judge Turpin ( Sweeney Todd ). – designed and produced shows in the Bay Area, including a two-day cabaret show (with two other friends named Dave and David) that raised nearly $ 3,000 for various charities.

What are you reading now or what do you recommend?

There are too many books on my reading list and I think I am even starting to run out of space on my bookshelf. Ouch. I can’t wait to tinker with the Folio Society version of Dune that I have on my shelf. And while I’m running through Stay and Listen (Book # 1), I have to remember what happened in Fear of the Wise , I can’t wait to discover Thrawn: Alliance , and I hope that Dungeons & Dragons: Art & Arcana is coming out soon because I really like Tomb of Horrors.

I also want to spend a few hours with The Complete Calvin and Hobbes because I miss them. And I should probably go order that Theranos book because it was shit .

Who else would you like to see to answer these questions?

Elon Musk. How about Michael Giacchino? I still wonder how he managed to create the soundtrack for Rogue One: Star Wars in one month . It should have more productivity gimmicks than all Lifehacker combined.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Stop using the word “simple”. And don’t try to time the market.

What problem are you still trying to solve?

Friendships and business relationships can be difficult when you work from home all the time. I also need to figure out why IFTTT and my Google Wi-Fi router are no longer talking.


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