I read this here, and while no one has nominated me I thought I’d like a go.
Location: Alton, Hampshire
Current job: I lead Communications, marketing, brand and whatever else comes my way needing a solution at a healthcare organisation.
Current mobile device: iPhone XS
Current Computer: MacBook Pro… Old for personal, brand new for work.
One word that describes how you work: Logically (well, as logically as possible).
First of all, tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.
I could say I’ve ended up where I am right now by accident, but I think that would be a little unfair – I’ve definitely put plans in place at some point which have led me here.
I began wanting to be a journalist at around the age of 11 when I realised that basically I could be nosey and engage in my favourite hobby – finding out about things I have no real need to understand but for some reason find insanely interesting – and have other people pay attention to me in the process.
I set about trying to get some work experience with people like the BBC who back then said “what? You’re 11!” and sent me packing. So I set up my own thing, solving my problem of not being able to see what being a journalist was like and my village’s problem of not having any kind of media attention, and won an award or two along the way.
In truth, a combination of jumping to solve problems and really struggling to say no to anything that had “opportunity” written on it and was roughly aligned to my skills has got me where I am today.
Take us through a recent workday.
I don’t really have a typical work day because my work is so varied and because I tend to enjoy variety. If I’m in London (or further) my day will start with a harsh reminder that I’m not a morning person at around about 6am. Having completed the minimum possible ablutions required and thanking Past Nic for laying out clothes that vaguely go together, I set off for my train at 6.55am.
I’m behind my desk by 8.45am, where it’s time (if I didn’t do it on the train) to check through my emails and find out what fires are greeting my today. That’s one of the things about working in PR – planning the night before is all well and good, and certainly ‘good’ for productivity – you just never know when someone is going to do something silly and derail your day.
Most days are a healthy mix of meetings, calls and trying to get the actual work done in between.
At the moment, I’m trying to get into the habit of going for a work at what would be “lunch” time. Not leaving your desk is the negative flip side of the positives of switching to using Huel when you’re away from home.
I’ll head for the train at about 6.25pm, home by 8 – and then it’s either gym, reading, TV, popping out with friends or something like that. I’m safe if I head for bed by about midnight, and then it’ll be time to do it all again.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
I love gadgets, tools and apps. I don’t think there’s any that I couldn’t live without though. I’m quite adaptable.
What’s your best shortcut or life hack?
I didn’t know I was supposed to have one. I’ll need to work on this.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
The last year or so has made this the biggest challenge as I’ve led my team through almost a 100% personnel change and had to do most of the roles myself for a short while too – and all at a time where the business was a bit ‘manic’ too.
I’m a big fan of Trello and that’s where I keep my “master” to do list as well as the terrifying thing I call the “Team Roadmap” (it has everything we’re doing or might want to know about on it, it’s huge), but nothing beats a paper list.
Paper lists have the super power of allowing you to ‘scribble out’ when you’ve achieved something. There’s no better reward.
What’s your favourite side project?
I am without side project right now. I’m going to say reading. Alongside going to the gym, I’ve let my habit lapse over the last 3 months and I’m not really sure why. Conscious effort to repair it activated.
What are you currently reading, or what do you recommend?
This one’s easy. There’s a link up top to the books I’m reading in 2019 and what I thought of the ones I’ve already done.
I’d recommend you read what you enjoy, abandon books you don’t enjoy and remember that audiobooks count as reading too.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve been asked to write an answer to something like this before and it stumped me then just as much as it does now.
There’s two bits of advice that I’ve more learnt than been told – and I’m sure I’ve been told them in one way or another – that I’d want to pass on.
The first is that no matter what situation you’re faced with, you can rest assured that the human race has been dealing with – and surviving – pretty similar things before. The universe will look after you – just let it.
And the second, which almost feels contradictory when it’s this close, is to get on and do stuff. It doesn’t even really matter what, because doing something is definitely better than doing nothing.