I am a big fan of Lifehacker’s How I Work series, so I decided to answer some of their questions.
Here we go…
Location: Dallas-Ft Worth Texas
Current gig: VP Marketing for SEI (Ecommerce home furnishing)
Current computer: Home = 27” 5K iMac, Travel/Office = 12” MacBook
Current mobile device & tablet: iPhone XR / iPad (love the pen)
One word that describes how you work: Pomodoro
The Rhodia Webnotebook is my favorite offline brain dumping ground.
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I have been working in marketing for close to 20 years now. I have worked at an ad agency. I have run my own successful digital marketing company. I have consulted for private equity companies. I have worked in ecommerce for both fashion and home furnishing. In addition to marketing, I have also been developing websites for close to 22 years now.
What are you responsible for and take us through a recent workday.
No two days are the same for me. I manage a small marketing team and a studio that produces photography, video, and 3D assets. I am also responsible for the branding and launching of two D2C brands.
The core of my day is meetings. Meetings are internal management meetings, team member meetings, and vendor meetings. The rest of my time is spent doing. Many managers only manage and strategize. I also roll up my sleeves and do things like build our new Shopify sites.
Besides your phone, what apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
Slack is the first one. I have managed three marketing teams now, at three different places, mainly via Slack. There is a reason it is the fastest growing business app of all time.
Project management wise, I like ClickUp. I love that they have a desktop and phone app, unlike Asana. Their three-minute quick start video gets people using it right away.
Gadget-wise I am a massive fan of the iPad with the pen. I’ve had iPads for years and never used them much. The iPad, with Goodnotes, is fantastic for meeting notes.
For general note taking, I’ve tried everything and come back to Evernote. It just works for me.
For my marketing knowledgebase, I use DEVONthink. I can store my notes, bookmarks, and PDFs in one database in DEVONthink. It has been a game changer for complex archives.
What’s your workspace setup like?
While I use a ton of Apple stuff, I am not an Apple fanboy. There are a ton of things I hate about their products (e.g., lack of ports on MacBook Pro) and software (e.g., despised iTunes since day one), so I try and plug those gaps as needed.
The first gap I plugged is the keyboard. I use the Logitech K811 at home with my iMac and in the office with my docked MacBook. What I love about this keyboard is I can use it for my computer, phone, and iPad all by clicking the Bluetooth key.
Mouse wise I use the Anker Ergonomic USB 2.4G Wireless Vertical Mouse as it works great for preventing carpal tunnel and wrist fatigue. It takes about a week to get used to it, so it isn’t for many, but well worth it if you have the discipline to commit.
The rest of my workspace is minimal. I like to keep a clean workspace.
What’s your favorite shortcut or hack?
My favorite hack is a sleep hack. I don’t sleep enough since I go to the gym at 4:45 am most mornings, so focusing on quality is critical.
I started with the Tim Ferriss apple cider vinegar and honey drink before bed and had success with it for years. I now skip the ACV and honey and do magnesium and ashwagandha in 6oz of water. I also use blue blocker glasses two hours before sleep to maximize melatonin.
Sweet dreams. Usually.
Is there anything unusual about your writing or editing process?
No. I do use a lot of tools to help enhance or correct my writing. Some of those tools include:
- Hemingway Editor
- Tone Analyzer
- Cliche Finder
- Power Thesaurus
Take us through an interesting, unusual, or finicky process you have in place at work.
I hate email. I prefer Slack for team communications. Since email is a necessary evil, I do have a framework I like to follow.
I never check email before the office. Once in the office, I check it first thing and then close it until around the lunch hour, which is when I check it the second time. The final email check is before leaving the office.
By not sitting in email all day, I eliminate the back and forth that makes me crazy. It’s why I am also a big fan of Calendly for scheduling calls or meetings. That whole, “are you available at x, y, or z” drives me crazy.
Here’s a link. YOU schedule the call with me. Done.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
After trying every task management software, I settled on Things 3 for my to-do lists. Things 3 helps me keep track of my personal to do tasks and projects.
Evernote is home base for notes like license plate numbers, pictures of the back of TVs, and anything I need to reference in the future.
DEVONthink helps me keep track of marketing notes, bookmarks (I also use Pocket), and PDFs.
Slack and ClickUp handle my work project management.
How do you recharge or take a break?
My recharging happens with exercise and meditation. I get up at 4:45 am for the gym 3-4x a week. There’s something peaceful about being up while my kids and wife are sleeping. The gym has different energy at that time of day as well. It is, surprisingly, busy as that time, but the other crazy people up at that hour seem more focused. I like that.
We also have a massage chair at work that I use daily with the Calm app. I have been using the Calm app for 10-minute meditations for a while now. If I had to pick the one life hack that has made the most significant change in my life, it is meditating 10+ minutes a day.
What’s your favorite side project?
Photography. It is the perfect counter to daily data-driven marketing. I have always admired creative people, so taking photos allows me to explore creativity.
I also love the gear. Coming from a tech background, before marketing, allows me to get my hardware fix.
What are you currently reading, or what do you recommend?
My latest book is Atomic Habits by James Clear. Great book. Beyond my latest book, I recommend developing a system for consuming content. There is too much out there and not enough time.
I subscribe to 50+ websites, via RSS (Feedly), and read those daily. Anything of interest I save in Pocket and tag (e.g., email marketing, growth hacking, photography, etc.). Upon weekly review, I grab the sections of the article I want to save and catalog it in DEVONthink.
My system looks like this:
I also consume most of my books with Audible. I listen at 2x speed. I also have 20-30 podcasts I consume at double-speed. Funny side story…I once thought a podcast host had a stroke, and I was really bummed out because he was talking verrrrryyyyy slooooow. It turns out my podcast player (Overcast) somehow got reset to normal 1x speed.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
I’d love to see Joe Rogan answer these questions. That guy gets more done than anyone. He has one of the most successful podcasts, is a comedian, and does commentary for the UFC. That’s a lot. He does his professions at the highest level too. Amazing.
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
The elusive perfect diet. I have the exact opposite problem most people have in that I cannot gain weight. I should have said the ideal food program.
Both sides of my family suffer digestion issues, so that tends to be the focus of my food program…gut health. Eating for energy, longevity, and eating clean are the other layers to the ideal plan.