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 thrilled to feature Melissa Nazar, director of content strategy for SnapApp. Melissa has lead content marketing efforts at such companies as Corporate Ink, Experian, Liberty Mutual Insurance and more. Somehow she still finds time to volunteer for the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston as well.
Here in her own words is how she does it.
Location: Boston, MA
Current computers: MacBook Pro
Current mobile devices: iPhone 7
What apps/software/tools can¹t you live without? I organize my work and personal lives completely digitally — my dislike of things on paper is an open joke across my team. The combination of Evernote and Todoist keeps my life in order. I would be lost without them!
Also a big fan of Fitbit and My Fitness Pal to keep me on track — I find the accountability aspect of both of those tools encourage me to get up and move.
What’s your workspace like? At SnapApp, we have an open concept desk setup — no traditional cubicles, very few offices. My actual desk is littered with photos and tchotchkes I’ve collected over the years. No paper or sticky notes (see my earlier comment). We also have lots of great communal spaces — think loungey areas with beanbag chairs and such — that are great for thinking, reading, writing, etc. It can get noisy at our desks, so sometimes it’s nice to be able to hide and get some writing done!
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? One that I learned recently that is a HUGE timesaver is that CTRL+COMMAND+SHIFT+4 (on a Mac) takes a screenshot that is copied to your clipboard vs. saving a file to a desktop. Mindblowing, how did I miss that one?
Spending 10-15 minutes at the end of the day, every day, outlining my list for the next day is critical for me. It sets the tone for my evening (don’t have to worry about outstanding things) and sets me up for success the next day.
Also, meal planning using emeals — this service has turned me from a literal non-cook to someone who meal plans, grocery shops and cooks up dinners that actually impress.
What everyday thing are you better at than anybody else? It’s hard to say that I’m better than anybody else… but I tend to be pretty good at keeping in touch and staying connected with the far-flung people in my life. I try to make it a point to reach out to the people who have been so essential to getting me to the place I’m at in life, so I’ll try and do something unexpected, like sending a card via snail mail, to let them know how important they are to me.
Also: finding the appropriate meme for any situation.
What’s your favorite to-do list manager? Evernote for note taking, Todoist for a true to-do list.
What do you listen to while at work? Our shared playlists on Sonos. We have a team with a very wide variety of tastes, so it can range from things like the Hamilton soundtrack to Taylor Swift to Bruce Springsteen to the latest EDM hit.
What are you currently reading? I recently finished Brain on Fire by Susannah Catalan — one of those books I simply couldn’t put down. Next one I’m tackling is Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood. I love a good memoir.
What’s your sleep routine like? I generally get 6 to 7 hours a night and feel pretty well rested. Most days of the week I’m up by 5:15 AM and head straight into a workout. I get plenty of “you’re crazy!” responses to that, but time after time, the days I don’t workout in the AM are my bad days — it’s the most effective form stress relief I’ve found to date.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Well, there’s more than just one thing. I’ve received many great pieces of advice, but I’ll try to narrow it down!
Career-wise, probably to never burn a bridge. That saying of “it’s not what you know but who you know” has a lot of truth, especially when you’re in a tightly knit industry like marketing (and an even more tightly knit city, like Boston). Building real relationships, based on a solid foundation of friendship and trust, goes a long way. The best opportunities in my career (and life, frankly) have come about thanks to my network of friends and colleagues.
Another great one was to lead with the yes. Years ago, a smart boss called me out on being consistently negative about new projects and ideas, always finding the holes and ways things could go wrong. While there’s value in being pragmatic, shutting down your mind to every new possibility means never changing and keeping things status quo, and that’s no way to learn and grow in a career.
Anything else you want to add? Well, since all of my advice was more career-related, I’ll share the best piece of life advice I’ve ever received: stay present. Whether things are great, hard or somewhere in between, living in the moment you’re in is essential. Planning and overplanning for an uncertain future is just a recipe for anxiety. You’ve got to roll with the bumps — good and bad — and revel in them.