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. So we started our own!
Every week we 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.
It’s our pleasure to feature Christina Brennan. I love her LinkedIn description: “Communication Consultant | Presentation Coach | Poor People’s Campaign Organizer”. Even better is what they say about her over at 3C Comms: “She’s a go- getter. A provider of results. And a consistent 3-point shooter in basketball. We made her add “Empowering People” to her resume … Others have said working with Christina is as enlightening as it is delightful. She helps people get to the point, by figuring out what the point is.” Here in her own words is how she works:
Location: Greater Seattle Area
Number of unread emails right now? 0 (Focused) and 632 (Other)
First app checked in the morning? Instagram – A few of my favorite influencers are on the east coast, so they’ve got their morning gratitude, affirmations, and other motivational content posted by the time I get up.
First thing you do when you come into work? At the home office, it’s email and personal tasks like paying bills or scheduling a doctor’s appointment. I find that if I get those little things out of the way first, they don’t slip through the cracks or take me out of my work rhythm later on. If I’m at ATLAS Workbase, I usually grab coffee and a snack and say hello to anyone I know that’s in The Lounge.
What is your email management strategy? I use multiple accounts in one app (Outlook) to help me organize and find mails quickly. If it takes more than two emails back and forth, I pick up the phone. If I can’t reply right away, I mark the email Unread (and try to have no Unread mails at the end of each day).
How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? I do breathing and stretching exercises throughout the day. When I have a hard time focusing, I use the Pomodoro technique (25 mins on, 5 mins off) for the next hour. I also wear headphones even if I’m not listening to anything, so that my peers won’t interrupt me.
What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? Work is part of life, so it’s really a matter of having a balanced life, which includes family/friends, community service, relaxation, and (fill in the blank with what’s important to you). If you wake up excited for your day more often than not, you’re probably doing a pretty good job!
Are there any work rituals critical to your success? Getting trusted eyes to review my work and practicing conversations just like I’d practice a presentation.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Google Maps! I’m not overly attached to any tool. I use whatever my clients use. Recently, I was introduced to Notion and I’m liking it so far.
What’s your workspace like? I share a home office with my partner, which means I also have a work station at the kitchen table and use the counter as a standing desk. I like to switch it up and may be brainstorming on my yoga mat. On days I need to be in Seattle, I hang out at ATLAS Workbase, which has the variety I like. Because I’m so mobile and working around others, I keep it to the bare essentials and typically have a very neat workspace (though my notebook is a hot mess… balance 😉).
What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? Never start with a blank page and/or re-purpose content. Even for many emails, I copy/paste in a generic paragraph and edit it. I also have links to all of my work and content in one doc, so I can easily grab them when needed instead of scrolling to find the video I want to re-share. Also, Green Chef saves me time planning meals and grocery shopping!
Last thing you do before leaving work? Check email and fill in the holes of the next day’s schedule with tasks from my master to-do list.
Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? EbonyJanice Moore is the #1 influencer I’d like to thank and acknowledge. A few people in my life I consider mentors include: Bianca Davis-Lovelace, Leslie Feinzaig, and Bryan Rutberg.
Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best? My life partner, Ernest, my business partner, Bryan, and all the amazing, motivating people in my network like Lorena Soriano, Kieryn Wang, and Ahmad Corner.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “It doesn’t have to be this way.” It’s not really advice, but it’s a powerful statement that pulled me through a hard time and keeps me focused on the fact that I am in control. When you focus on what you can control, you can get through anything.
Name a guilty pleasure TV show: Supernatural (how did they squeeze 12 seasons out of that nonsense?? Lol)
Anything else you want to add? Helping others shine doesn’t diminish your light. And as Dr. Su’ad Abdul Khabeer says, “You don’t have to be a voice for the voiceless. Just pass the mic.”
Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see Lorena Soriano answer these questions.