Belle is a startup founder, iOS developer and a prolific writer. She writes on topics like productivity, tech, entrepreneurship and self-development. She writes killer articles and is featured on the biggest sites: HuffingtonPost, FastCompany, Lifehacker, TheNextWeb, Buffer, Enrepreneur.com… She co-founded Hello Code, a Melbourne-based startup that created Exist, a personal analytics platform.
Tell us a fun fact about you
When I was 15, I went to Oklahoma as an exchange student for a year. While I was there I wrote a newspaper column about some of the cultural differences I’d noticed between Australia and the USA. I was paid cash-in-hand, so I guess you could say that was my first professional writing gig!
Show us your desk
When you type as much as I do, you’ve got to invest in a good keyboard! This ergonomic keyboard feels great to work with, and helps me avoid wrist fatigue when I’m writing for hours. I also invested in a Salli Saddle chair (a stool shaped like a horse saddle) that helps me avoid back pain and improve my posture when sitting for long stretches.
What computers do use (desktop, laptop, mac or pc or both) ?
A laptop. I use a 2015 15” MacBook Pro with an Apple Magic Mouse, a 24” Dell monitor and a Matias Ergo Pro keyboard
What’s your current phone ?
iPhone 6s, 64GB, silver (but I’m 99% sure I’m going to switch to Android when the new Pixel phones come out).
What other useful gear can’t you live without ?
A notebook, fountain pen, and my iPod Classic.
OS: macOS Sierra
Email client: Nylas N1
TextExpander: I use it all day long to type out things like my email address websites URLs I’m always typing, and Markdown syntax shortcuts. Really speeds up my day.
BetterTouchTool: allows me to set up custom shortcuts for taps and swipes on the touchpad or Magic Mouse. So with custom gestures like a 3-finger swipe to the left I can open a new tab, with another gesture I can switch between tabs. I work so much faster with it.
Bear: The developers behind iOS and Mac notes app Bear have been running a great beta, and are always including useful, new features based on user feedback. I love how good this app looks, and the handy features it has like embedding images and a progress bar for any note containing tasks.
Dash: The easiest, fastest way to look up documentation when I’m programming. I love how it integrates with Alfred, too.
Other useful apps I use
Ulysses: Since the team behind Ulysses finally added full Dropbox sync support on iOS, I’ve been doing 90% of my writing in this app. I especially like the goals feature to keep me on track with word counts per article.
Musicality: I use Deezer for music streaming, but some of my favourite features aren’t available in the Mac app, so I use Musicality to wrap up the website in a native app that offers support for notifications and media keys.
Web apps and services
Littlelogs: A site my co-founder and I made to give us (and others) somewhere to share updates about our work. I love the feeling of writing a new log when I’ve completed some work, and seeing what the rest of our community is up to.
Larder: A bookmarking app for developers (again, made by my co-founder and I—we take dogfooding seriously!) that I use every day to store and search through research material, cheat sheets, tutorials, and even things I want to buy.
Unread: my favourite RSS reader
Freeletics: the coach program in Freeletics isn’t cheap, but it’s great if you need some guidance on starting and sticking with a bodyweight workout program.
Lifesum: my favourite app for tracking what I eat.
Deliveries: an awesome app for tracking deliveries you’re waiting on. It notifies you when your parcel changes status, so you don’t need to keep the tracking page open and refresh it all day.
Klok: A really handy widget that shows up to five different timezones at once. Especially handy for those of us at the bottom of the world!
Citymapper: Probably the best public transport app I’ve ever used. I was lucky enough to try it in London a few years ago, but it only just arrived in Melbourne a couple of months ago—finally!
Momentum: My favorite habit tracker. I love the Apple Watch app and Notification Center widget that give me ways to track my habits without even opening the app.
Larder: To help me quickly save bookmarks to my Larder account.
1Password: I couldn’t live (or work, or play) without this.
The one productivity tip you’d recommend
Spend some time with a pen and paper figuring out your productivity goals, and the way you work naturally. Only then start to look for tools, tricks, or systems to use—and make sure they support your needs.