I’m David Murphy, Editor of Lifehacker Technology, 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.

Location: Silicon Valley. Current job: Senior Technical Editor at Lifehacker. Current computer: Gosh, what am I using now? It has been so long since I built a PC from scratch, which probably means I need to update it. Right now I’m using an old Intel Core i7-4790K processor and a much more modern Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 graphics card. (It’s a monster.) I have an annoying mix of SSDs and HDDs in my system because I have yet to condense everything onto one ultra-fast giant SSD. … (They are expensive). I love my 34-inch widescreen display and my 5.1 surround system, although connecting my computer to the receiver is often a source of headache. Current mobile device: iPhone X One word that best describes the way you work: purposeful

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

I graduated from the Medilla Department of Journalism at Northwestern University with a BA and MA in Journalism. This led me to Silicon Valley, where I started working on the now defunct (at least in print) PC Maximum . Since then, my career has been a bit eclectic; I’ve tried to stay in journalism as much as possible, but I’ve also jumped into positions in higher education, marketing, and even full-time – a super-fun but worrisome period of my life. I don’t recommend it to everyone, but great if you can make it work.

I am currently at Lifehacker because I love helping people learn new tips and tricks for all of their gadgets.

What are your job responsibilities?

I write most of the technology articles on the site and edit a number of articles that our awesome group of tech freelancers come up with. I get up every morning, make up stories, drink coffee and try to find all the important information you need to know about the top news of the day. I also maintain a weekly technical support column , which I (always) recommend that you read and / or ask questions. I’m always happy to help you troubleshoot!

Take us through a typical business day.

I wake up very early and am ready to start my Life Hacking Day at 6:00 AM PT, which is never easy. I’ve never been an early riser and have tried very hard to improve my feelings about it – but without much success.

I go through the day’s assignments for the first hour or so and then start working on my own. Sometimes I write a bunch of articles. On other occasions, I’ve fiddled with various devices or rummaged through operating systems, researching the parts I’m working on. I also edit other people’s work a lot. And before I know it, it’s time to go home for the day, even though I’m already at home, since there is no real Lifehacker office in Silicon Valley.

How is your workplace arranged?

Since I live in (expensive) Silicon Valley, I work in my bedroom where I sleep, watch TV and generally live most of my life. Sure, it’s a little depressing, but I suppose it’s no worse than the overcrowded studio apartments or one-bedroom apartments that my colleagues at NYC Lifehacker have to deal with. I am typing on a loud mechanical keyboard (Razer BlackWidow TE Chroma) that lights up when keys are pressed because I’m so stupid. My giant monitor is attached to my desk with a comfortable hand, and my receiver (which powers both my computer and the TV, mounted on the wall above my head) is in front of my keyboard. My IKEA desk is not very dirty, but it can always be cleaner.

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

My computer (obviously) and my phone seem to be my road to peace. A few years ago, I might even have added something like “Facebook” to this list, but I am finding more and more that I just want to get out of the online world and live a more personal life. I understand that this is strange for a “senior technology editor”, but maybe this is the case. I’ve been deep in the rabbit hole of technology, privacy, gadgets, and hardware for the past 15 years or so. Sometimes it’s nice to go out into the fresh air.

What’s your favorite shortcut or hack?

I love the little “good night” routine I set up for my Google Home smart speaker. It’s simple, but it turns off all my lights, turns on the fan in my room, and plays the soothing sounds of thunderstorms for an hour or so while I fall asleep. I’ve been using it every night for over a year now and I just wish I could do more – like when my speaker asks me when I want to wake up in the morning (by turning off all the smart lights in my room at a given time and by setting the alarm to certain time).

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

For large projects / reminders, a proven method to attach notes to my monitor. Yes, I know there are various reminder apps and they are useful and all that jazz. It’s just easier for me to ignore phone notifications than a big yellow piece of paper that stares in my face while I work.

In terms of day to day stuff, I find the Airtable Lifehacker – when combined with my own little system for posting items in Slack and scheduling reminders for me – works great for keeping track of many moving parts in a technological rhythm.

How to recharge or relax?

Good question. I love to sleep, but I probably shouldn’t rely on them as much as I do, because it makes me feel like I’m suddenly 80 years old and need to eat my meals at four in the afternoon. from the gamer – it depends on the mood – and from the purposeful lover of outdoor activities. I really enjoy going hiking in the bay, although I admit I’m lazy. I really regret very much that I live in California and am not on the street 23 hours a day. This is a magnificent state, there is so much to see, and it always seems to me that I have not done enough. Yes, I still haven’t made it to Yosemite. I’m a bad Californian.

What’s your favorite side project?

I’m a big fan of the arts in the San Francisco Bay Area, and I run the largest Facebook group for everything theater-related in the area. I have performed in over 30 shows; put on a show; worked as production director and board member of local theaters; and viewed / reviewed, too many productions. Theater is incredibly important to me, and here I met some of my closest, oldest friends – and many others.

What are you reading now or what do you recommend?

Lately, I have a bad attitude towards books, because within five minutes of reading one before bed, I usually sleep. They have a very calming effect – and the aforementioned thunderstorm. However, I’m slowly working through John States ‘s World of Warcraft Diary, which is a great, detailed look at how the sprawling MMO was created. And the book itself is great .

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

I personally did not receive this advice, but I have always liked this quote:

“Live during your life, so that in this wonderful time you do not add to the suffering and sorrow of the world, but smiled at the endless delight and mystery of this world.”


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