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.

Every Thursday we feature a B2B sales, marketing or business leader in our own series and our own version of “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 Marcie Dickson, Chief Marketing Officer at Miles Mediation & Arbitration.  I love her description of “beautiful chaos”.  Here in her own words is how she gets stuff done.

Location: Atlanta, GA

Number of unread emails right now? 421 (mostly stuff I didn’t subscribe to).

First app checked in the morning? WhatsApp. I’ve usually missed dozens of messages from various friend groups.

First thing you do when you come into work? Coffee. Always Coffee. Then I review my goals and schedule for the day. 

What is your email management strategy? I use timeboxing and try to allot a certain amount of time in the morning and afternoon for email. Otherwise, responding to emails can turn into an hour-long endeavor. I’m a big fan of Cal Newport’s book, Deep Work; it’s helped me de-prioritize email during my most productive hours.

Most essential app when traveling? Uber, Tripadvisor (for honest restaurant suggestions), and Genius Scan (for expensing).

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? I try to meditate and focus on the present— regardless of whether the current situation is stressful or joyful. I also recall of one of my favorite mantras, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom” – Victor Frankl.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance?  My time feels mostly overextended, and the pursuit of work/life balance often feels unattainable, but I’m still working on it. I remind myself every day that I can do most of the things I want to achieve, but I can’t do them all at the same time— and that’s OK. I’ve improved how I balance work priorities with home life by setting clear boundaries between the two. And I’m very intentional about spending time with loved ones and carving out time to recharge and reflect on the weekends. Also, I’ve fully embraced the fact that for the foreseeable future, life as a working mom of 2 will be beautiful chaos.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success? Finding time to engage in “Deep work” has allowed me to maintain a focused, creative edge when needed. I’m able to quickly tackle numerous tasks and produce better results in less time.

Another ritual is keeping a work journal. I document everything in my work journals, including my schedule and daily goals, and every morning I scroll through previous entries for inspiration or to follow-up on items. I’m notorious for lugging around a SELF Journal and a massive 9×13 inch Leuchttrum 1917 notebook.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? ToDoist, Trello, Nytimes.com, Kindle, Apple Podcasts, Spotify. 

What’s your workspace like? Modern and inviting. I have colorful lounge chairs and a sofa that makes colleagues more comfortable during meetings. I also have a lot of reading materials spread across three bookcases. If you need an issue of Harvard Business Review— you’ll find it in my office. But the most important feature is a massive whiteboard that covers an entire wall that I use for meetings and mind mapping work. I love that thing!

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? Pomodoro. I schedule most of my workday in 25 minute increments.

What are you currently reading? ​ Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler. It’s a gripping, dystopian science fiction novel. I’m also reading Dare to Lead by Brene Brown and Volvo’s quarterly magazine. (Volvo really nails it. Customer loyalty achieved.)

Last thing you do before leaving work? Tidy my desk and assess my daily and weekly to-do list. 

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? I’m grateful for one of my early mentors, women’s basketball legend, Debbie Ryan. Debbie was stern but supportive, and tough but loving. She’s a trailblazer and a big reason why I am where I am today. And last, but certainly not least, is my trusted confidante and friend, Susan K. I am who I am because of her guidance and compassion. The world would be a much better place if everyone could spend time with Susan. 

Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best? My family, including my supportive husband and sister. I’m also grateful for a long list of incredible friends and colleagues. 

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “No is a complete sentence.”

Name a guilty pleasure TV show. Billions. It contains all the things I typically disdain, but I’m thoroughly intrigued, nonetheless.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see Laura Wilbanks (CMO of Thomson Reuters) answer these questions.

Nominate someone here