I’m Alicia Adamchik, Lifehacker Staff Writer 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 Alicia Adamchik and this is how I work.

Location: New York Current place of work: Staff writer, Lifehacker Current mobile device: iPhone 7 Current computer: Macbook Air One word that best describes how you work: Development

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

As a young Michigan woman with too much free time, I declared myself a neighborhood reporter and walked around with a notebook interviewing my friends after playing roller hockey. I never actually wrote any articles, but I took these reporting skills with me to the college newspaper at the University of Michigan, where my articles were actually published and sometimes read by people other than my parents. Reporting and writing has always been a dream and I never had a backup (for all aspiring writers: I recommend having a backup). I did an internship at Forbes in my last year, so after graduation I moved to New York and have been living here ever since.

Tell us about a recent work day.

My weekdays are fairly standard: I usually come to the office around 8:30 and read emails, browse Feedly and scan Reddit and other sites, I added a bookmark to find ideas for stories. I have a long list of evergreens from which I can glean or tackle the news of the day, as the case may be.

Being in the office when no one is around helps me stay focused, structure my day, and organize my to-do lists. I also never skip breakfast: usually a bagel with cream cheese and tomatoes, although sometimes I eat something healthy.

I like to schedule any morning interview if I can help, and then I’ll write my morning story. I am very convinced that you have to do your “hardest” and / or most tedious tasks first, so I try to do all of this first, and around noon or 1:00 pm I take lunch break and walk.

After that, I will write my daily story and prepare more long-term / accountable stories for future days. I usually leave around 6:00 pm, or a little earlier if I have a workout.

What apps, gadgets or tools can’t you live without?

There are so many! My number one is a diary. Nothing beats handwriting notes and thoughts at the moment. I wear it everywhere.

However, I use Microsoft OneNote to keep track of almost everything electronically (that’s where I keep my to-do lists, shopping lists, etc., so many lists). The program itself may be a little slow, but I like it more than any other similar service I’ve tried.

The AirPods are my newest favorite toy – they are a little fantastic, but they are much more suited for commuting and running than my old headphones, and I have a pair of decent noise canceling on-ear headphones for when I want to turn everyone off. I listen to my own pre-made playlists on Spotify Premium (which is worth every penny) and use the Overcast podcast app.

The last gadget I need is a water bottle. I drink a bottle of water when I go to work, some water during the day and more when I get home. We must stay hydrated!

How is your workplace arranged?

In our office, I have a fairly simple setup on a shared table: laptop, books, water bottle, small plant. I got rid of my permanent desk because I never used it and it took up too much of the little space I had. I also need to change my place once or twice a day to focus, so I will move to one of the privacy rooms, or the phone booths we have, or the café. I also walk a lot, especially when interviewing people, so I need a little space and privacy to avoid distracting others.

For this reason, I prefer to interview people from my tiny studio in New York, rather than in the office, although this is not always possible to help. If I work from home, I like to decompose, which means working on the floor on a yoga mat or walking down the hallway. Sometimes I work on the couch or in bed with an old laptop playing HGTV for some background noise.

What’s your best shortcut or life hack?

Automate as much as possible so you can spend time and enjoy what you really care about.

Second: put your phone into airplane mode. At work, at home, in yoga class – just do it. If you have nothing to worry about (or children, I think), take a break!

Tell us about an interesting, unusual, or challenging process you have at work.

Nothing too finicky or out of the ordinary, except that if things are not organized – for example, emails are read, Feedly lists are combed, two stories for the day are selected – my thoughts jump to everything else I need to do instead of just one. task. So I want this to be dealt with first in the morning.

Who are the people who help you achieve results, and how do you rely on them?

My friends and family are constantly inspiring and encouraging me, I feel very fortunate for everyone. More generally, our readers, because they are who we do all this for, and my colleagues are so kind, smart and creative.

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

I use Microsoft OneNote for pretty much everything, and I use the reporter’s notebook specifically for day-to-day work tasks, reminders, and meeting notes. We use Trello to keep track of all of our stories, so I rely on this quite often, and I have a Google doc with stories and general topics that I would like to refer to at some point, as well as potential sources. I’m also a big fan of reminder stickers.

How to recharge or relax?

As I said, I go for walks quite regularly. Even if it’s just a circle around the office, it helps me to let go of one mindset (or attitude, as Caroline Bingley would say) and prepare for something else. I’ll also call my dad or flip through Instagram or Tumblr for some incentive outside of Twitter and news.

Outside of work, running, exercising, cooking, watching 30 Rock, or dedicating a day / day to myself all help me recharge.

What’s your favorite side project?

This is currently my money newsletter , although I am working on a new writing project (not money related) which I really love!

What are you reading now or what do you recommend?

The best book I have read in recent memory was The Enlightenment by Tara Westover, and I am currently reading David Graeber’s Debt: The First 5000 Years , a book that I look forward to reading over the next 5000 years.

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

Karen and Georgia from My Favorite Murder Podcast! They have so many projects running at the same time. And Anne Friedman, who seems to have sorted out her life as a freelancer.

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

This is not necessarily “advice” in the traditional sense, but “you are fine.” It is sometimes helpful to remind yourself that you are doing well, that you are where you need to be, and that the best things take time.

What problem are you still trying to solve?

There are so many. From the perspective of a personal finance writer, he makes topics about money accessible and interesting to as wide a range of people as possible, while providing reliable advice, especially to those who need it most. I doubt I’ll ever reveal it completely, but I’m trying.


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