Uses This

A collection of nerdy interviews asking people from all walks of life what they use to get the job done.

A picture of Jess Allison

Jess Allison

Organiser, producer, delivery manager (Paper Giant)

Who are you, and what do you do?

Hello! I'm Jess. Sometimes known as Jalli. I've been a Digital Producer forever (okay, ten years) but I've recently taken a side-step into Service Design and become a Delivery Manager at Paper Giant. It's ace.

In most iterations of my career, I've helped creative people bring their work to fruition --- graphic designers, web developers, photographers, film editors, slashies, and now service designers. My superpower is finding the delicate balance between providing guidance and process, while leaving space for them to do their thing, and communicating Just The Right Amount to any clients and other stakeholders.

I'm an eternal optimist, and yet I'm always playing out worse case scenarios. You might think these things are mutually exclusive but this person put it well: "...sometimes just knowing you'll be fine regardless of how things go, can take the edge off the uncertainty and actually alleviate some anxiety."

I'm annoyingly organised.

In my spare time I listen to podcasts, take photos, and generally try to have a positive influence on the world. Some days that means making a donation, and others it's a batch of choc chip cookies.

I have an ESFJ personality (I think), and Enneagram Type Two (for sure). My spirit animal is the squirrel.

What hardware do you use?

I'm currently rocking a 13" MacBook Air and an iPhone 6. Part of me wants to try Android when this iPhone dies, but I'm married to Apple and the divorce would be messy.

My Fuji X-T10 was purposefully too advanced for my level of photography when I bought it, and has helped me lift my game.

And what software?

My essentials are:

  • G Suite for mail, calendar, docs and spreadsheets.
  • TextEdit for writing basically everything before it becomes an email or graduates to Google Docs.
  • Slack for work chat, keeping up with old colleagues/friends, and the /remind function for timely to-dos
  • 1Password for password management, synced via Dropbox across the iOS app and Chrome browser extension.
  • Dropbox for personal file storage, including cloud photo backups.
  • Trello for project management, which extends to side projects, domestic, and life goals.
  • SizeUp to quickly resize and position windows. I use this constantly.
  • Lightroom/Photoshop for photo editing and image manipulation.
  • Sublime Text for the rare occasions I need to code.

Chrome extensions:

I also sign into Chrome to sync my bookmarks and browsing history so I can refer to things between devices.

My iOS favourites are:

  • Sleep Cycle to track my sleeping patterns
  • Notes app for personal to-dos (super lo-fi but it works well!)
  • iBooks to download samples of books I want to read, then eventually the books themselves
  • Pinterest for creating personal mood boards, house inspiration, fashion stuff, and saving recipes
  • Out of Milk for the shared grocery list
  • Google Keep for the shared to-do list (films to watch, exhibitions to check out, photo excursion ideas, bars/restaurants to try...)

It sounds like chaos but these apps and systems all play a part in helping me Get Things Done... and fend against those pesky worst case scenarios.

What would be your dream setup?

Digitally, it would be unlimited internet speed and cloud storage.

Ergonomically, I would love a standing desk (hey, if it's good enough for Hemingway), more plants and less screen time.

Stopping to think about my dream setup just made me realise how achievable it is. I'm going to start by wrapping this up and hopping off the computer!