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.
We also 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 David LeBreton, vice president of pre-production at Phytelligence. A former Chief Performance Officer for Cook County (think Chicago, Illinois), David has spent time managing an advertising agency as well as a family real estate business before relocating to Seattle to run operations for a smart agriculture company.
Suffice it to say, David knows how to get stuff done. Here’s how he does it.
Location: Seattle, WA
Number of unread emails right now? 0 – no wait 1. Hold on – 0. You have to be responsive in a growing company,
First app checked in the morning? Mail. I’m working with our team in India these days and I have about an hour first thing in the morning when we’re both awake.
First thing you do when you come into work? Lock up my bike. Then I try to put away my lunch and fill my water bottle before my first meeting. I’m about 50% successful.
What is your email management strategy? I like to triage: Read everything as it arrives, respond quickly to the easy ones and flag the others for more involved follow up.
Most essential app when traveling? These days it’s a mix of Skype for business and Lyft.
How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? The key for me is periods of extreme focus with limited interruption. I’ve been travelling a bit recently and am trying to balance that with some work from home days.
What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? I’m most successful when I keep them separate – even in periods of peak work. I’m better off missing a whole day of family time to work than trying to do both. I’m still learning that lesson but it’s proven true for me in the past.
Are there any work rituals critical to your success? I like to empty my inbox before a busy day or week. I’m more levelheaded and less likely to be overwhelmed. It usually means a 5am wakeup during the week and sometimes it’s a Sunday afternoon/evening as well.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? I’m a prolific list maker so Notes are my best friend. I’m also a visual person so I have a two sided whiteboard where I try to track everything on my plate.
What’s your workspace like? My office at work is a fish bowl: no outside windows but large interior windows facing a room full of cubicles. Inevitably I have my bike helmet, lunch and an empty water bottle on my desk. I tend to let paper stack up so I periodically have to purge.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? Riding my bike to work. It’s guaranteed screen-free time, good for my mental health and faster than the bus or driving. Even in the rain I’m happier when I get to work.
What are you currently reading? A collection of Somerset Maugham’s short stories. I alternate between fiction and non-fiction. The last book I read was Ali: A Life and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Last thing you do before leaving work? Check my count of flagged emails and take a spin through the office to wrap up any open conversations.
Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? I’ve had the pleasure of working for some transformative leaders in my career who have made me challenge my own limited thinking on the impact of my reach. I wouldn’t have pursued the career path I am on without them.
Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best? My wife is a dynamo of energy and support. We recently relocated to Seattle and she’s provided the needed stability for our family. I appreciate Phytelligence’s leadership for keeping us focused on the big picture and putting our daily challenges in perspective.
Wha’s the best advice you’ve ever received? My dad always tells me to keep my powder dry. I should probably listen to him.
Name a guilty pleasure TV show. My wife and I started watching Below Deck two years ago while on vacation. It’s come to occupy an outsize prominence in our TV consumption.
Anything else you want to add?
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. David Sibley. Early in my stint as a parent I found myself interested in birds and Sibley’s guides have come to dominate the market.
Nominate someone here.