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 pleased to feature Tom Keefe, Senior Marketing Operations Manager at Engagio.  Tom has a wide array of marketing/sales ops, demand gen, and branding experience, and specializes in optimizing marketing/sales initiatives.  Read below to find out what he learned from being a chef.  Here in his own words is how he works:

Location: San Mateo, CA

Number of unread emails right now? 103

First app checked in the morning? Engagio

First thing you do when you come into work? Check all the daily digests (reports) that were sent to Sales that morning

What is your email management strategy? I use email as a priority tool and a place to store mental notes/reminders. When emailing myself reminders/notes I try to stick to a naming convention; To-Do, Reminder-, Check-on-DATE, Idea-, etc. Every Friday I go through my inbox before I leave work to remove anything that has been completed, responded to and get rid of any junk that has accumulated throughout the week.

Most essential app when traveling? Slack/Gmail are both my most crucial must have apps when traveling

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? I listen to music but it has to be specific to the work I’m doing. If its something tedious that has less in depth thinking I put on very upbeat music and even click inline with the beat. If I need to really think and stay focused I put on more jam style music, it has words but mostly instrumental which allows me to think while having a melodic backdrop.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? Like everyone else I want work/life balance and I think for some people that means I only work 8 hours a day. For me it means understanding that some days I work 12 hours and sometimes I can work 6/8hours; the key is knowing what you need to achieve in both your work and personal life to achieve the balance.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success? Walks. Get out of the office, walk around, talk with coworkers. Not being in a conference room allows you to think differently and relax a bit.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? My extra-wide 36” LG monitor. It has built in screen split capability, I don’t know what I’d do without it.

What’s your workspace like? Open office, I have a table/desk

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? Naming conventions. I save sooo much time because with proper naming, searching for things is 100x easier. Building/working to scale is almost impossible without a good naming convention

Last thing you do before leaving work? Close all my tabs/browsers and take notes on what I need to do the next day

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? Brett Kaufman of Workbook 6 and Alla Oks of StreamSets; best two bosses I’ve ever had, mainly because they encouraged me to try new things/fail and constantly prioritizing my career path

Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best? My brother, listening to phone calls about how I’m stressed/ideas on how to do things. All the ADR/SDR/BDR Managers I work with, without them a lot of what I do for nothing.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? “Time to lean, time to clean.” Used to be a chef and if you were caught leaning– doing nothing, its expected that you cleaned everything which is why you’re doing nothing. This has really stuck with me, if I ever think well I have nothing to do (which never happens) I remember there’s always something that needs to be cleaned (digitally or physically).

Name a guilty pleasure TV show The Flash

Anything else you want to add? These questions focused a lot on what I do to be successful but I think a big part of anyone’s success is putting themselves in the right environment. My most successful jobs have been with companies who had a product/service I 10000% stood behind/believed in. There’s not a bigger motivation killer than not believing in what your company does.

Fill in the Blank: I’d love to see BLANK answer these questions. Donald Trump


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