By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing
“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 to feature Jess Ostroff, founder & director of Don’t Panic Management. Her business is the assistant to marketing stars including Ann Handley, Jay Baer and many more household names in the B2B industry. She’s also become a well-known presence at events nationwide, and maintains a high level of productivity while on the road regularly.
Jess, suffice it to say, gets stuff done. Here in her own words is how she does it.
Location: New York, NY
Current computers: Macbook Air + external LG monitor
Current mobile devices: iPhone 6
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Google Apps, Sococo, Spotify, Mailbox (which is dying soon, sigh), Sunrise (calendar app), Tripit, Wunderlist, the Podcast app, Yahoo! Weather, and Instagram.
What’s your workspace like? I have my Moleskine weekly planner in front of me at all times to see meetings and to-dos all in one place (I still like to write things down!) plus an un-ruled notebook for bigger ideas and plans. I have a stand for my laptop in front of me plus an external monitor to my right. External keyboard and mouse. Real speakers + subwoofer because I can’t stand the laptop speakers. I also have a stand for my iPhone so I can see what’s going on without picking it up. No notifications on my phone during the day except text messages and phone calls. Other than that, my colored pens are important and a candle or two! I have a big calendar on the wall so I can see the month at a glance and some inspirational art, like my Get Shit Done cross-stitch 🙂
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack? This is really simple but so often forgotten: Think about one thing at a time. Do one thing at a time. Never, ever try to multitask. With work, or with relationships. Also, LISTEN. It’s amazing how much really listening to yourself, your colleagues, and your friends can make a difference.
What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? Not panicking? Heh. And bringing great people together to work toward a common goal. I’m really proud of my team and the relationships I’ve built over the years. I’m also really good at making guacamole. 😀
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Wunderlist. We are also testing a new project management tool called SamePage and LOVING it so far.
What do you listen to while at work? Depends on how I’m feeling, but generally either acoustic folk or indie rock. if I want to get pumped up or am feeling frustrated, I’ll listen to 90s rock (TBT playlist on Spotify is always good!) or a hip hop workout playlist. Generally, I love to mix it up. If I’m really trying to get focused and in the zone, instrumental music is my favorite. Sometimes jazz, other times more ambient/trance.
What are you currently reading? Always a few things, and always a combination of one fiction and at least one non-fiction: The Nightingale for fiction (and just finished Night Circus), The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Petty (Tom Petty memoir for my rock and roll book club), and just started Take Your Soul to Work, which is a 365 day meditation for leaders.
What’s your sleep routine like? Always a challenge! I’m naturally a night person, but since living with a morning person I’ve adjusted my schedule. I’m usually in bed between 9 and 10, and asleep by 11 or 12. I’m usually up working by 7 or 7:30, sometimes 8 or 8:30 if I have later meetings. I love being at my desk by 7 so I have 2 solid, uninterrupted hours before people start bothering me. I’m still trying to work on the whole “don’t eat 2 hours before bed” and “don’t use your devices 1 hour before bed” things to help me sleep better… but so far it’s proven to be quite a challenge!
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Really sit down and think about what your number one priority is in life, and do your best to make sure every single decision you make is pushing you toward that. It’s really, really difficult to put into practice, and it’s so easy to lose sight of our most important values and priorities when we are bombarded with every day life, and every day choices.
Anything else you want to add? The two most important things that helps me be productive and confident are these little “mantras”: One thing at a time and I am enough. Multitasking doesn’t work. And not believing in myself brings out the worst in me. So I say these mantras to myself daily, or whenever I start to PANIC, and they help me get back on track 🙂