“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 Iannarino, Dave 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 Ann Handley, founder of MarketingProfs, author of the forthcoming book Everybody Writes (Wiley) Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content and one of the preeminent content marketers working today. She’s in constant demand by B2B marketers while running a multi-media empire that includes her blog, subscription service, amazing events and more (all while raising a family).
Ann, suffice it to say, gets stuff done. Here, in her own words, is how she works.
Location: My Tiny House (http://www.annhandley.com/2014/07/07/built-tiny-house/) and wherever books are sold. (…and maybe on a few nightstands. Is that creepy? Sorry.)
Current computers: MacBook Pro. I’m a one-machine kind of girl.
Current mobile devices: iPhone 5. Pining for the 6. HURRY UP APPLE. iPad (currently uncharged and I have no idea where it is at this moment)
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Well, I could live without most apps/software/tools. But would I live as well as I do? Probably not without these:
- Moleskine – for early drafts of things
- WordPress – for later drafts
- Scrivener – for big writing projects (books!)
- iPhone – “Hi, I’m Ann. And I’m an addict.”
- Instagram – For igniting my latent love of photos and visuals
- Facebook – This is more love/hate. Love it for keeping me in touch with extended family; hate it because it ignites conflicting feelings of irritation toward the platform itself, which is irritating for a lot of reasons.
- Sococo – Because it replicates a cool office environment for MarketingProfs.
- Snapchat — As a parenting platform (if you have teens!)
- Timehop — For reminding me that life speeds up as it moves along.
- Chromecast – To bring Neflix magically to my big screen
What’s your workspace like? It’s a 12 x 12 square foot wood structure with a tiny porch on the front. There’s a slight cross-breeze now, as I type. I can see the yard and the pool and my dog rummaging in the garden. It’s a simple, pared down, refreshing place to get things done. Sometimes people stop by and we have a glass of wine on the porch. It’s like working at home without working at home.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? When I was in middle school, a teacher once commented on my report card: “Tries hard but works slowly.” At the time, I was incensed… and I wondered if I was perhaps impaired in some way but never knew it. Decades later, I realize she was 100 percent right — I do work slowly and carefully, and I do try hard. So my only hack is knowing when to let go and knowing when to say no: Surrounding myself with great people who are incredibly talented, and offloading tasks to assistants when I don’t absolutely need to handle it myself.
What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? I just asked my daughter (via text!) this question: “No one embarrasses me like you do.” I’ll take that as a point of pride.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Jess Ostroff. (dontpanicmgmt.com/)
What do you listen to while at work? Nothing. I like silence when I work.
What are you currently reading? The Giver by Lois Lowry. We just saw the movie this past weekend, and I realized I’ve read a lot of Lowry, but never that one. In also just finished The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (I have mixed feelings about that one, but generally enjoyed the epic-ness of the experience) and I just finished the FINAL DRAFT of Everybody Writes. I was quite happy to be done with that one, finally. (Did I mention it was the FINAL!?)
What’s your sleep routine like? I sleep like a toddler. I fight going to bed, then when I finally drag myself there I sleep two hours, lie awake thinking about things, drift back off, wake up, drift, wake, drift, wake, drift, wake, drift, wake, drift, wake. Then by noon I’m ready for a nap.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? To not take myself too seriously. My family taught me that (collectively). And still I’m allergic to anyone who takes themselves too seriously. We’re usually not friends.
Anything else you want to add? Is anyone still reading?
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. I’d love to read what Tim Washer would say.
Get a copy of Ann’s book: http://bit.ly/EverybodyWrites
See Ann live in Seattle! On October 2, Ann will share how marketers can get the edge with ridiculously good writing. Learn more about the event and register now! It’s going to be awesome.