How I work

Learning the best techniques, tools and apps to do your job is a personal journey we’re all taking.  I thought I’d cover the tools I use in content creation and hope you might find some useful.

And, having subscribed to shotkit.com for photography inspiration – here’s a shot of my kit.

My Desktop, HP ProBook, Sony Z1 and iPad Air

Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Current computers: HP Probook laptop, 2014 Mac Pro (when our designer is off site), 2011 Sony Vaio touch VPC at home.

Current mobile devices: IPad Air, iPad 3 and Sony Xperia Z1 Z3 (a Christmas upgrade from Spark – waterproof and 20.1 megapixels of goodness with 4K video. Backups? = Z1, HTC SV and Samsung S2).

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

APPS for WORK

  • Evernote – for storing ideas, lists, research and contacts. I pay to have it auto save and back up – It comes in handy when you’re using it on multiple mobile devices.
  • Google Now – for finding the quickest public transport to my destination and recommending photo opportunities and new restaurants. Then the Auckland Transit app (far more accurate and useful than the Auckland Transport app and with all the functionality that it misses).
  • Foursquare (and the annoying sibling forced upon us – Swarm), for verifying the restaurant/destination is good and grabbing discounts
  • Email (OWA 365 and Gmail).
  • Trello for managing my blog, and work workflow and prioritisation of my backlog. I even have a ‘Home’ work board, for my DIY and home maintenance tasks.
  • Instagram– because I’m passionate about photography and know “the best camera is the one you have with you?”
  • SoundCloud – for recording thoughts
  • Dragon dictate – fantastic when you have to get something down on paper faster than you can type it.

APPS for SOCIAL MEDIA

Buffer, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, GPlus and Facebook (but Facebook only on my iPads so I can concentrate on my other feeds during the day).

APPS for BLOGGING

WordPress app – for blogging
Tinyletter for my newsletter
Typeform– for creating stock content and forms like my free digital marketing audit.

APPS for LEARNING

Last, but most important – Feedly – for consuming RSS feeds.

TOP TIP – I read from Feedly, and save content there and in readability. I then Buffer content for social media from there.

Zite, Flipboard and Swayy try to be my filters for new content although I rarely open them.

I do however skim read the newsletters from CMInstitute, Econsultancy, BCM what’s next and Fraggle when they arrive.

What’s your workspace like?
I live in Torbay and Waiake is my nearest beach where I work from home if it’s good weather – or on the couch at home.

Tor and a swing at my favourite beach #EOANorthShore

A post shared by Nick Allen (@nickwallen) on

I walk every lunch hour for the full hour

I telecommute on occasion but work is based in Newmarket, surrounded by three dormant volcanoes, Mount Eden, Saint John and Hobson. Each providing a good lunch hour stroll with enough incline to get the heart going and the mind refreshed.

I walk every lunch hour for the full hour and listen to podcasts.

At work I rotate from – my laptop sitting desk – to a  Mies van der Rohe seat – to a stand up desk with my iPad.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?

Perform a stand up twice a day. Review what you’re doing, what’s working, what’s not and what you’ll adjust for tomorrow.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? Simplifying.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Trello.

What do you listen to while at work? My colleague switches us through gangster rap and hard rock radio stations each day and I have a few DJs I switch to on SoundCloud like DJ Theresa when I’m in a creative flow state or Brazilian Samba or a

What are you currently reading? Good To Great having just finished

What’s your sleep routine like? To bed at around 22:00 or 23:00 and awake at 05:20 each day. On the weekends I get to bed when I tire (a little earlier usually if we’ve had a good day at the beach).

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

 It doesn’t matter what you study at university, college or school, you’re just there to learn ‘how to learn’ the best you can. Get good at that, and everything else gets better. – David Allen (my grandfather).

Anything else you want to add? Dan Miller put the notion of teamwork well in a podcast I discovered this week.  A Clydesdale can pull 8 tonnes alone but as a pair they can pull 24, and with training 32 tonnes.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. I’d love to see Dan, Anya, AJ, Simone, Scot and Chuck answer these questions.


My gear

Computer writing desk
110 NZD – target.com

Knoll folding armchair
9,365 NZD – connox.com

Evernote Market
evernote.com
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3 thoughts on “How I work

  1. I agree with so much of this Nick, but to see it all together is great. I didn’t know about Trello, I just signed up. I am a poster child for your grandfather’s advice. I am a chemistry major in year-35 of an IT career.

    1. Great to hear Dan, I’d love to see how you work or your workshop setup.

      Trello is really easy to use and can be customised really quickly. A todo list, Kanban board or Scrum board all in one.
      Typeface is also one I’ve just come across that is useful for making fun forms too.

      The Lunchtime walks are a recent addition. It’s surprising how much it motivates and energises me! I actually feel disappointed when I can’t take it.

      Looking now – Arianna would have me sleep far more too. http://www.inc.com/arianna-huffington/sleep-your-way-to-the-top.html

      1. A coworker and I walk at lunch whenever we can. It helps , even on a busy day. I was using Wunderlist but just a todo list. Not that great. High hopes for Trello.

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