“How I Work” is one of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as via Lifehacker’s This Is How I Work Series, and recently several sales experts (including  Anthony IannarinoDave Brock and Trish Bertuzzi) participated as well.

Periodically moving forward we will feature a new B2B sales, marketing or business leader here answering what have become the standard “How I Work” questions.  You can catch up on everyone we’ve featured thus far in the “How I Work” series here.

This week I’m excited and honored to feature Rick Oppedisano, vice president of global R&D and marketing at BluePhoenix Solutions.  He’s one of those guys that just gets a ton of sss……tuff done, and I have no idea where he finds the time.  Not just strategy too.  The guy is a wicked-good designer, sharp strategist, and seems to always have multiple balls in the air.  Not to mention packing school lunches and ferrying kids to their multiple destinations every day.

Rick, suffice it to say, gets stuff done.  Here, in his own words, is how he works.

Location:  Live and work in Fort Mill, SC- a suburb of Charlotte, NC.  I have an easy commute of less than a mile to the office, and if I have to meet clients in Charlotte, it’s usually about a 20 minute drive.  I run global Marketing and R&D for BluePhoenix Solutions, soon to be rebranded as Modern Systems.

Current computers:  HP Pavilion Desktops at home and work, Dell XPS 13 for travel.

Current mobile devices: Samsung S5 smartphone and Galaxy 10.1 tablet for my garage, where I YouTube repair videos for my 1984 BMW.

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

  • Trello for starters.  We’re a global company and I manage resources in the US, Romania and Israel.  We use Trello as a collaboration tool for managing feature requests for R&D as well as delivery and work plans for our marketing and development resources worldwide.   With the time differences, our team pretty much works around the clock- so my day starts with looking at the week’s deadlines and how things have progressed overnight.  We also use Trello to collect field data and ideas or requests for marketing, as well as post reports on our campaign efforts.  Trello’s a great tool for establishing direction and accountability in a transparent, collaborative way, especially when you don’t see or talk to your team every day.
  • I’m also a big Google Alerts guy- I find it the easiest way to keep a finger on the pulse of what’s happening around us.  I set alerts for industry trends and terms, what are partners are doing, as well as competitor products and services.
  • I regularly check Salesforce to see how incoming leads are looking.  We use Leadlander and Google Analytics, so I usually spend some time looking for any site visitor trends or patterns in how people are interacting with our brand- and if so, whether it’s something we can apply to our sales messaging or product positioning.  If I find interesting blog posts or articles, I share them to our Twitter followers and LinkedIn groups via Buffer App.
  • Lastly, Outlook and Skype.  I try not to be so dependent on email- I find that if you spend too much time on email, you’re serving other people’s priorities and not your own.  I also think it’s hard to be creative and think critically with the constant disruption of email.  So I really only keep Outlook up and running for 2-3 hours/day at most.  I prefer to keep Skype up instead, since it’s a smaller, controlled group who can contact me.  Plus, if it’s that important, my people can just call.

What’s your workspace like?  Pretty organized and clean.  I have a set of personal goals on post-it notes stuck to the side of one of my monitors.  My professional goals are post-it notes stuck to the other monitor.  I keep a legal pad to track my tasks for the day and keep notes or ideas.  All of my data is stored in the cloud (OneDrive), so I can work on any of my devices.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack?  Trello.  Not only do I use it for work, but I use it for all sorts of personal stuff.  You name it- gift ideas for my wife, things to do with my kids, ideas on blog posts, recipes, funny Facebook status updates.  They’re all there and easy to keep track of from any device.

What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else?  Compartmentalizing.  I have several fulltime focuses, but only a limited amount of emotional and mental energy to devote to each one.  Here’s a visual for my process.  Pretend each item you’re dealing with in life is a room where you have to walk in and solve an equation on a white board. You have a countdown clock with less than an hour to get the problem solved, or take a single step in the right direction, and then shut the door and go into another room equally as important.  You spend your entire life going from compartment to compartment, and if that sounds hectic, that’s because it is.  But I get a hell of a lot done and usually don’t get overly hung up over anything.

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

What do you listen to while at work?  I am a lifelong music junkie and use Spotify religiously, typically listening to 3-5 new albums per week on top of my normal favorites.  Current bands on the playlist include Phantogram, Wild Cub and Royal Blood, plus old favorites like The Who, Led Zeppelin and Tribe Called Quest.  It’s become hard for me to concentrate without my headphones on.

What are you currently reading?  I recently read “Winning” by Jack and Suzy Welch, really liked it.

What’s your sleep routine like?  I like to get in bed before 10pm, then settle in and watch Baseball Tonight on ESPN.  Baseball is one of my passions, having played and followed it since I was a kid.  It calms me down and helps me relax, kind of a happy place before I close my eyes.  The alarm clock goes off at 5am- coffee first, then make the kids’ lunches, do a T25 workout, then dress and bring the kids to school- am I’m back at my desk by 8am.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  Two-way tie.  First, a colleague once told me that if that things at home and with family are good, everything else pretty much sorts itself out.  Second is the concept of your ecosystem- friends, family, work colleagues and acquaintances.  Find out who you are to each of these groups and how you can provide value to them.  Then, be proactive in doing so.

Anything else you want to add?  Nah, that’s a lot 🙂

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see ________ answer these questions.  Pharrell and Elon Musk.  Two guys constantly producing great creative product with consistent, elegant brand management.  Would love to hear more of their secrets.