How You Work: DIY Desks, Text Expansion, and Harsh Truths

How You Work: DIY Desks, Text Expansion, and Harsh TruthsS

Every week we showcase the productivity tips and tricks of our favorite experts and productivity heroes in our How I Work series. Now, we're peppering our daily dose of tips with some showcases from you, our favorite readers. This week: Craig Lloyd, former Lifehacker intern and writer for GottaBeMobile.

As always, if you want to show us how you work and maybe see it featured on Lifehacker, check out this post for more info.

How You Work (Yes, You!)

Over the past year, we've chatted with lots of productivity heroes about their habits, workspaces, inspirations, and more in our How I Work… Read…

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I'm Craig Lloyd, and This Is How I Work

I'm Craig Lloyd, and This Is How I WorkS

Location: Fort Wayne, IN
Current gig: Freelance tech writer at GottaBeMobile (Previously at SlashGear and Digital Trends), former Lifehacker intern
Current mobile devices: iPhone 5s and Nexus 5
Current computer: Late-2013 13" Retina MacBook Pro (8GB RAM, 128GB SSD)
One word that best describes how you work: Diligently

What apps/software/tools can't you live without?

Most of the apps/software/tools that I use I could easily live without, but I would say that Netflix and my own collection of movies and TV shows are pretty essential to my well-being; they help me recharge and take all the stress out of everyday life. Oh, and F.lux is absolutely amazing; it's one of the first things I install on all my devices. That blue hue is torturous.

I'm Craig Lloyd, and This Is How I Work

What's your workspace like?

I use a standing desk made out of a door and sawhorses located in the home office that I share with my wife. The desk was cheap to build, but it's stable and big. I have my MacBook plugged into a 23" monitor when I'm at home, as well as a wireless Logitech keyboard and mouse (K340 and M705, respectively), Logitech Z-4 speakers, a USB hub, and ethernet. My toy collectibles also keep me company.

I'm Craig Lloyd, and This Is How I WorkS

What's your best time-saving trick?

My best time-saving trick is to just don't waste time (and don't waste other people's time), but other than that, it would probably be text expansion and using Alfred. I use text expansion for my email address mostly, and it helps out greatly when working with HTML, as I have a bank of frequently-used snippets built up. However, I use it most often to quickly search past posts for reference and such (e.g., ",lh" expands to "lifehacker.com/tag/").

As for Alfred, it's a really cool Mac utility that allows you to do all sorts of neat stuff right from the desktop with the launcher that pops up when you enter the hotkey. I mostly use it to launch apps quickly, but it works as a calculator, a web search bar, and tons more.

What's your favorite to-do list manager?

I don't use one single to-do list manager, per se, but I use a variety of apps and services depending on what it is I need to write down. If I'm making a list of some sort that isn't urgent, it usually goes into Evernote, but something that I absolutely need to remember for later gets written on a sticky note and attached to my computer monitor; I never underestimate the value of a pen and paper.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can't you live without?

When I'm at events, like CES, pretty much every gadget that I own is crucial to getting work done, but when I'm just at home, I would have to say my HTPC is near and dear to me, since I don't have cable. I use it to play all of my movies and TV shows (mentioned earlier), and it's an incredibly nice convenience to have out in the living room.

Also, I'd probably be really bummed if Gmail shut down (of course, I was bummed when Google Reader shut down, but I'm still alive). I've never seen such an amazing email client before in my life, and it's the one piece of software I use the most.

I also can't leave the house without my knock-off Wayfarers — I have really sensitive eyes.

I'm Craig Lloyd, and This Is How I WorkS

Above: All of the gear that I take with me on the CES show floor (minus my laptop).

What everyday thing are you better at than anyone else?

I've always been told that if you think you're good at something, just remember that there's always someone out there who can do it better. It's a harsh piece of wisdom, but it motivates me to work harder so that I'm at least in the top percentile. With that said, one thing I'm good at is keeping plans and always being on time; being late is rude and selfish.

What are you currently reading?

I'm slowly making my way through Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit, and I have a queue of other books that I want to get through, including Tim Ferriss' 4-Hour series.

What do you listen to while you work?

Silence, preferably. Music (or any other sound for that matter) is distracting when I'm trying to focus on something else. If I could just work out of a soundproof box, that would be ideal.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Definitely an introvert. I'm kind of a recluse, really. I'm open to making new friends and hanging out with close groups of people I know, but I enjoy my alone time much more. I hate crowds and I'm pretty shy meeting new people, unless I'm in a really chipper mood. All this probably stems from the fact that I work from home, so I'm used to never being around people, and once I am, I freak out a little.

What's your sleep routine like?

I'm usually in bed by 10-10:30pm and wake up at 6 or 7am depending on if I work out that morning. I'm definitely not a morning person, but working out in the mornings is far better than working out in the evenings, because I'm on a full tank rather than running on fumes by the end of a work day.

Fill in the blank: I'd love to see ______ answer these same questions.

Other tech writers. I'm always interested to see what setups other writers and reporters are rocking these days.

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

I've received a ton of amazing advice over the years, but a certain piece of general advice has always stuck with me, and I follow it every day: Focus on today while keeping the future in mind, and don't get hung up on the past, because if you spend too much time thinking about the future or the past, you'll miss out on what's going on right now.

Is there anything else you'd like to add?

I never like to settle. I'm always looking for a challenge and new opportunities to improve myself. That may sound cliche, but I just never like to get into a daily rhythm where I feel like a robot on autopilot. I always need something that adds variety to my everyday life, and I tell other people to do the same.

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