I was asked about my daily workflow in regards to this site and also about the services and programs that I use throughout the day. While I do not think that you will find anything spectacular in my workflow, it may still be interesting to some. First to see how I as a full time blogger spend my workday, and second which programs I use that assist me in that task.
I'd like to start with the systems that I currently use for that task. I have two desktop PCs underneath my computer desk that are connected to their own 24" screen. The PCs are not brand new but both are well equipped. My main work PC is powered by an Intel Core i7-860 cpu, 8 Gigabytes of RAM, a GeForce GTX 470 video card, a 128 Gigabyte M4 Solid State Drive and a 3 Terabyte data drive.
The second PC is powered by an Intel Core i5-2500K cpu, 8 Gigabytes of RAM, a GeForce GTX 560 Ti video card and a 256 Corsair Force GT Solid State Drive. The first PC runs on a 64-bit version of Windows 7 Pro, the second on Windows 8 Pro.
I also have a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 that I use for my Android tests and development, and plan on getting a Windows Phone soon to add tests for that mobile operating system as well.
How I work
I'm working from home which gives me lots of freedom and I could theoretically sleep in, sit in underpants in front of the computer or play video games or watch movies throughout the work day. That's however not what I'm doing as I would not get things done properly if I would.
I see it as a regular job and handle it exactly like that. I do get up between 7 and 8 each day and spend about 30 minutes or so eating breakfast, showering and getting dressed. I never really had any issues getting up at that time even though it is sometimes tempting to sleep in as no one is waiting for you or going to fire you if you do so.
I usually start the day by going through emails that I received during the night, replying to them immediately if necessary, and then moderating all the comments on Ghacks that accumulated while I was sleeping. Once that is out of the way, I start to fire up my RSS reader GreatNews to find out what's new in the world of technology.
RSS is just one source of information that I use to find inspiration for stories and articles. I hang out on a couple of sites regularly, Reddit and Hacker News for example, and also do lots of testing and tweaking on my own, especially when it comes to programs that I use regularly. So, if Firefox or Chrome have a new feature or changed in any way, I'm usually able to spot it and write about it. My motivation to write about these things is higher for programs that I use daily, as I'm interested in their development more than I'm interested in the development of programs that I use every now and then only.
That's the reason why you see more Firefox, Chrome or Steam posts here on the site than posts for Opera, Internet Explorer or Origin.
I try to publish one or two articles - at least - in the morning before I take my first break. I usually go out at around noon for about an hour to do some walking (great exercise) and grocery shopping. It helps me stay fit - sitting in a chair all day is not really the best way of achieving that goal - clear my mind and relax during that time. Combining a necessity (grocery shopping) with an activity helps me a lot and I usually buy only as much as I need for a single day so that I have to go out again and buy food the next day. It is a mind trick but it works fairly well for me. Plus, I tend to get fresher food on the table this way.
One of the things that I came to understand in the past years is that I do need these breaks from work to avoid burning out. The one hour break is great for that, as is my decision to spend less time on the computer on the weekend. I only publish two or three articles on Saturdays and Sundays, and try to spend the rest of the day doing things I like or need to do. It can happen that this means playing a round of Dota 2, but also to meet friends, play board games, go out and drink a cold German beer or simply go to bed very early. I do sports three times a week on top of that to stay fit (Krav Maga and Football), and some basic workout routines when I'm at home (pushups, situps, pullups and the like)
I try to post at least two articles in the afternoon, and another one or two at night. I do regular breaks throughout the day, to eat and spend time doing other things that need to be done.
When I work, I tend to do so in silence. I do not listen to music and try to blend out all distracting elements like my smartphone or things that happen on the computer screen. So, no email checking every five minutes during that time or checking out new messages on Facebook or Google Plus.
Main software that I use for work
- Firefox both Nightly and Stable
- Chrome Canary and Stable
- Snagit 10 for screenshots
- Great News for RSS feeds
- Thunderbird for email
- KeePass for all password needs
- True Crypt for encryption
- Paint.net for basic image editing
- WinSCP for connections to my web server
- Dropbox for file storage
- F.Lux to avoid eye strain
As far as my desktops go: I prefer a minimalistic approach to that. I have pinned the important programs to the taskbar and prefer not to use any desktop shortcuts or anything like that. I usually work with two windows aligned next to each other so that each takes up 50% of the workspace. This is usually Firefox on the left with my site open, and another program on the right. The program on the right can be another Firefox window or a program that I'm currently testing.
I do not use many of the fancy tools that other bloggers and journalists make use of. I do not use a calendar, no to-do list, and stay away from social media as much as possible. As far as my smartphone goes, I use it mostly for app testing and development these days, and try to avoid it as much as possible otherwise. So, barely any messaging or calling while I'm working as it is too distracting.