How I Work — Brenda Bethman

By Brenda Bethman

With a hefty nod to the folks at for the idea and questions, we’ve decided to share a little bit about how the bloggers at SA Women Talk Tech work.

  • Location: Kansas City, MO
  • Current Gig: Director, UMKC Women’s Center / Director, Women’s & Gender Studies Program / Affiliated Faculty in German at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. On the side, I blog for SAWTT, write occasionally for Inside Higher Ed, and am a co-founder/consultant at Alt Academix
  • One word that best describes how you work: Interrupted
  • Current mobile device: iPhone 5S, iPad Air
  • Current computer:  iMac @ the office / retina MacBook Pro @ home / MacBook Air (11″) on the road (yes, I know it’s excessive)

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Why? 

  • Facebook & Facebook Messenger: Yes, I have a problem 🙂 But seriously, I love keeping in touch with family, colleagues, friends, former students, and find Facebook works for me. I share a mix of personal (workouts, cat pictures, food & cocktails) and professional (Women’s Center events, feminist news, etc.). I have actually had folks tell me they really enjoy my Facebook feed and look forward to my posts. Others probably can’t unfollow me fast enough. I use Messenger to chat with friends and went back to using the separate app after I realized how much I dislike the chat heads.
  • MyFitnessPal/Fitbit/Pact/Digifit: Last August, I decided to get serious about getting in better shape and eating healthier and use these four apps to track workouts, food, sleep, and for motivation. I’ve previously described my setup and how tracking works for me. If you are interested, check out this post (or this one, which describes an earlier version of my system).
  • Reeder: I read a LOT of blogs and find the Reeder app (on both my iOS devices and my Mac) to be the best way to keep them organized and keep up with them.

Workflow. My workflow varies tremendously depending on what I have going on that day (teaching, meetings, student appointments, etc.). That said, here are a few things I can count on consistently happening:

  • I get up between 6 and 6:30 every weekday (weekends I might get to “sleep in” until 7:30 — depending on how hungry the cats are).
  • Despite all the articles saying not to, I start my day by catching up on email and social media while I make and drink my coffee.
  • I make a daily to-do list, listing the goals for the day.
  • At some point on most days, I will workout. I work out at the campus recreation center, which makes it easy to squeeze in. I’ve found that lunchtime workouts are a great way to have more energy for the rest of the day, so I do that fairly often.
  • I will be interrupted by a student/worker/crisis/whatever, so I just go with the flow as much as possible and re-prioritize the to-do list as needed.
  • Depending on the day, I head home between 5:30 and 7:30 (or later if we have an event). I try not to take too much work home, but will use the evening to catch up on reading and/or emails as needed. Most nights, I am in bed by 10 p.m.

What’s your workspace setup like? 

My campus office (where I do most of my work) has an L-shaped desk. One part of the L houses my iMac and is where I sit to do work. The other part has a standing desk with my laptop. I switch between sitting and standing throughout the day. I also use an app called BreakTime to remind myself to periodically get up and walk around. The desk is covered with photos, cards, and other fun things. And I have a TON of books in both my campus office and study at home. At home, I have a study that I use to work, but if the weather is nice, you will most likely find me on the porch with my laptop or iPad.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?

Self-care. Too often, we let that go in favor of working more. It took a while, but I have finally learned that I work better when I make time to rest and rejuvenate, so I am careful to take at least one day per week completely off. It keeps me sane and helps me get more done when I am working.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without and why?

My Fitbit.

What do you listen to while you work?

Usually, nothing. I am one of the only people I know who almost never listens to music while working.

What are you currently reading? 

I just finished Paper Towns by John Green. Not sure what I am going to read next.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

Extrovert. Ask anyone.

What’s your sleep routine like?

As I mentioned above, I am usually in bed by 10 and up by 6 or so. Once I go to bed, I read for about an hour, so usually get around 7 hours of sleep per night. When I’ve had an especially long or hard week, I will sometimes skip the reading so I can get the 8 hours. And I love napping on the weekends whenever I can.

Fill in the blank: I’d love to see _________ answer these same questions.

All my fellow SAWTT bloggers.

How I Work — Brenda Bethman

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