The Pandemic Work Diary of a Podcasting Tech Editor


11:30 a.m. I find it impossibly hard to context-switch between “management and meetings” mode and “individual creative mode,” so I’ve set aside Tuesdays as a day for marathon meetings in an effort to free up creative time elsewhere. First, I check in with the Verge creative director Will Joel to talk about a big end-of-year editorial package and a merchandise store that’s launching soon.

Noon. I have my weekly check-in with my boss, Helen Havlak, the vice president of The Verge. She’s a genius — I hired her years ago to be our engagement editor and then editorial director. After a while, I realized I was going to business-side meetings, coming back and asking her what to do, and then just repeating what she said in the next meeting. So, we promoted her to be my boss; she’s in charge of our business while I focus on editorial, and it’s been terrific.

12:30 p.m. Time for our weekly leadership meeting. It’s the end of a punishing year, and everyone is unsurprisingly burned out. We talk about making sure people actually take vacations, and how to have our usual end-of-the-year planning meeting when we’re all remote. Most of our best ideas used to come from just hanging out at dinners and we obviously can’t do that now.

2 p.m. I have gotten substantially worse at email during the pandemic. Not having a commute means I don’t have a built-in time to work through my inbox. I stare at 1,303 unreads. They stare back at me.

2:30 p.m. I have nice light coming through the window for my CNBC appearance, but seconds before I go on the air, dark clouds roll in and it starts to snow. Minutes after I’m done, the sun comes out. It’s a striking visual metaphor for what sitting through a congressional hearing on Big Tech is like.

4 p.m. My formal workday usually ends at the end of our daily desk editor meeting. Then, I try to wind down and disconnect. But this week, everything I started just went long.

10 a.m. I block out Wednesday mornings to read, think and take notes. So much of my day-to-day is reactive, so I do my best to create time to slow down and think ahead. The best work advice I’ve ever gotten was from Microsoft’s C.E.O., Satya Nadella. I asked him how he found the time to do everything on his schedule. “It’s your time,” he said. “Be selfish about it.”


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