How I Work — Brenda Bethman

By Brenda Bethman

With a hefty nod to the folks at Lifehacker.org 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.

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How I Work — Brenda Bethman

How I Work – Josie Ahlquist

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

By Josie Ahlquist

  • Location: Los Angeles, CA
  • Current Gig: California Lutheran University Doctoral Candidate and College of Education Graduate Assistant.  Epic Wife, Animal Rescue Momma and Blogger.
  • One word that best describes how you work: Flow
  • Current mobile device: iPhone 5, Tablet: iPad 2
  • Current computer:  Macbook Pro

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

There are three areas I will highlight with tools I can’t live without, including school/work, blogging and all others fun areas of my life.  But there is one app in particular if for some reason disappeared tomorrow I may cry.  No seriously.  Because Evernote, premium version is my jam.

From recording my research interviews, dreaming about the future, writing blog posts to creating lists.  It syncs with all my devices, so on the go or at home I am up to date.  I just can’t say enough good things about Evernote, or my addiction with its’ ability to help me stay organized, efficient and on point.

  • School/Work: As a (recent) Doctoral Candidate, using technology tools to keep me on track are crucial.  Evernote is on this list, but Dropbox has also been extremely crucial.  No more days of frantically looking for my USB drive that has my paper on it.  Kindle is also key for textbooks and relevant social media books that I can quickly reference to through past highlights.  Google+ hangouts have also proved extremely beneficial to connect with my colleagues across the country doing similar social media in higher education research, but also to use for research interviews.  Finally, Pandora has been a great resources and companion to keep my ears and writing soul.
  • Blogging: I have been blogging consistently for 15 months.  Right away I jumped onto wordpress.com to serve as my blogging source; I love the ease formatting as well as endless options in customizing themes and widgets.  As my blogging expands, I will probably move over to wordpress.org, which also for even further customization.  Along with Evernote, Scoop It has provided a great content curator for me.  Also, I use a website called http://www.123rf.com/ where I buy credits to use photos on my blog site.
  •  Personal: Fitness and the pursuit of happiness are cornerstones to my life.  Because of this, I have apps that I use almost daily.  The first of these is MyFitnessPal which helps me track calories as well as exercise and overall health.  It has been great to apply a level of awareness to my daily activity, especially since I sit so much as doctoral student.  I joke the reason I got a dog was to get out the house more, but really having animals in my house adds much more happy days into my life.  Because of this, I find myself using the website and app called BringFido to help provide us help in finding restaurants, hotels and other things to do wherever we are that are dog-friendly.  Finally, I will admit I am an Instagram junkie.  I have always loved taking photos, so it really wasn’t a surprise that I would use it a lot.  Recently I have added reflection to my posts, completing a movement asking if you can be happy for 100 days, called #100happydays found at http://100happydays.com.

My workflow is like this: 

  • I wake up nearly every day at 8am on the dot, thanks to a furry companion that refuses to sleep in.  We walk for about 15 minutes then I load up on my favorite tea and cereal.  I could live on those two staples alone.  My Fitness Pal app would tell me I should do otherwise.
  • After feeding the dog, I look first at my Google Alerts that I have set up for daily delivery.  These are automatic emails I receive from Google searches that look for the following terms like “Digital Education or Social Media in Higher Education” and especially my name.  While I eat, I review articles that I feel are shareable.  Many times I tweet these out right away, unless there are a large number, then I will use the website Buffer to send them out throughout the day.
  • After one hour of reading, reviewing/updating to-do lists and responding to emails I head off to exercise, either running, yoga, lifting or spinning.  I realize this schedule wouldn’t work for most people that are at work during the day, but due to working and going to school from home, a mid-morning workout fits for me.  I love knowing there rest of the day my workout is already complete and I use the energy to aggressively move into my to-do list.
  • My workday truly begins around lunchtime.  I work in chunks of two-hour blocks, physically moving my body and location of work after each.  In those breaks I may run a quick errand, go to the dog park or heck maybe a siesta!
  • I minimize social media and email inboxes out of view, especially when I need to be purely writing.  I first start in my office, then move to the kitchen table and usually end up in the late afternoon/evening at a coffee shop.
  • I described above how I work as ‘flow.’  I attempt to set up my surroundings and well being to allow for complete immersion in a project.  I know when I am in ‘flow’ when I lose track of time, forget my fingers are moving on the keyboard and find myself singing at the top of my lungs from the most recent Pandora random song selection.
  • While in ‘flow’ I may go back and forth from my computer, to journal to white board and back to my computer.  My mind works in color-coding, to-do lists and dream boards.  I stay focused with movement and variety of visual/learning methods.
  • Whenever I find myself falling out of a state of flow, I find an article that will refuel me or breeze through twitter to see the latest news or student affairs chatter.  Sometimes even changing the song or where I am sitting will do the trick.
  • At the end of every day I write my to-do list for the next day, as well as ensure my schedule lines-up to meet those demands.  I write my number one priority at the very top, with other items falling under based upon priority.

What’s your workspace setup like? 

Honestly I can and sometimes have to work anywhere.  The last few months I have been on the road a ton, so I made the best of airplanes and hotels.  I actually found my best productive and flow moments on an airplane without wifi.  This last year has been the first time having a home office.  Recently I had to ‘reclaim’ the space, as it was set-up too much as a guest bedroom.  While we love our guests (and welcome more), going into my last year in my doctoral program I had to make this space more for me.

Now I am surrounded by the books I love, photos of inspiration and an open workspace that finally works.  You’ll also find a dog bed and toys on the ground, as my little guy tends to follow me wherever I happen to be in the house.  I also enjoy working at our kitchen table, as the lighting is great and the table is huge allowing me to completely spread out books, research journals and notebooks.  When I head out of the house, I tend to hit up Coffee Bean, Starbucks or Panera.

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

Having access to evernote, kindle and google drive wherever I go is a serious timesaving shortcut.  I can be at the dog park or doctors office and pull up a paper I’m working on or get through another journal article.  I try to use even those ten minutes to good use.

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

My headphones.  Whether out on a run or working at a coffee shop, these are a requirement.

What do you listen to while you work?

Sometimes I need to hear what I know and love, using my own itunes playlists.  Other times I use Pandora or Spotify to explore.  My go to’s depending on my mood, ranging anything from my girls like Ingride Michaelson and Norah Jones or club beats from Skrillex and Robyn.  There are also two YouTube-based artists I can’t get enough of Mike Tompkins & Lindsey Stirling.

What are you currently reading? 

It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd.  This should have been finished months ago, but submitting and passing my dissertation proposal had to be priority one.  The love the book because it blends research with practicality and challenges perceptions of youths use of technology like social media and gaming.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

I actually see myself as both.  While I do ‘test’ as an extrovert and see many of those personality tendencies in me, I cannot ignore other elements of introversion that are salient.  Recently I heard about a new classification called Ambivert where I ‘tested’ positive receiving equal parts extrovert and introvert.

What’s your sleep routine like?

I try to be wind down at least by midnight, up by 8am and if the day allows for it I have no problem cashing in on an opportunity for a nap.

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

My 20-year-old self.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

I love using quotes for inspiration and advice.  Here are my favorites:

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

“Life isn’t about finding yourself, life is about creating yourself.”  -George Bendard Shaw

“Surround yourself with people that are going to lift you higher.”  -Oprah Winfrey

“Do not stop thinking of life as an adventure.  Live bravely, excitedly and imaginatively” -Eleanor Roosevelt

How I Work – Josie Ahlquist

How I Work – Kristen

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

by Kristen Abell

Location: Kansas City, MO
Current Gig: Web developer for University of Missouri-Kansas City
One word that best describes how you work: efficient
Current mobile device: iPhone 5
Current computer:  Mac desktop at work, Macbook Air 11″ at home

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

I am a Dreamweaver gal through and through – can’t live without it for my job. I also love Fetch for accessing files on our web servers and Firefox’s Firebug app for web development – if you are a web developer, you’re probably already using this. If you’re not but want to learn more about how to do it, this is a great app.

For my social media, I always have Tweetdeck open to keep an eye on Twitter through the filters I’ve set up – this should surprise no one that saw me do the Genius Lab on this tool at ACPA. I also use WordPress for blogging.

Also, I’m old school when it comes to lists – I’ve never been able to break away from a good ol’ pen and paper to-do list. I take it with me everywhere I go.

My workflow is like this: 

  • First thing each morning is answering emails. Once I get into my workflow, these fall off my radar, so I try to answer as many questions as I can before I get started.
  • Then I hit the to-do list and prioritize as needed. After checking my calendar for uninterrupted time, I generally plan to work on my bigger projects during larger chunks of time and fill in the smaller chunks of time with checking social media, answering emails or phone calls, or connecting with colleagues both on campus and beyond.

What’s your workspace setup like? 

I work in cube city, but because I like to feel at home when I’m working, my cube is probably the best decorated one – complete with Wonder Woman and Buffy the Vampire Slayer memorabilia. I’m also within sight of a window, which is a good thing for someone like me who enjoys their sunshine. I don’t have a standing desk – yet – but I’ve been considering it. They’re becoming fairly popular in our workspace.

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

I don’t know that it’s time-saving, but it’s life-saving for me – I take a lunch break every day and get away from my desk. Whether I go out to lunch or just take my lunch hour to walk someplace else on campus, I have an hour each day that is just mine.

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

My pad of paper – it gets me through meetings where phones aren’t allowed (yes, we still have those on our campus), and I’ve written many a letter with it – not to mention a doodle or 20.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else? What’s your secret? 

What do you listen to while you work?

Depends on the day – today is a Pandora station focused on “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey. Yesterday it was my Aimee Mann station. And somedays it’s my Cake station – I find this one to be best for days when I have to crank things out.

What are you currently reading? 

I Thought it Was Just Me (but it isn’t) by Brené Brown – after seeing her at ACPA, I decided to give this book a shot since it’s been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years. Also a book on writing – although that’s mostly been a few pages here and there in between other books. I also just finished The Virgin Suicides for about the fifth time – it’s always been a favorite of mine. Reading is kind-of my thing.

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert?

What’s your sleep routine like?

I need a solid eight hours most nights, and I try to make sure I get that – so I’m in bed by 10 and up by 6. Except on nights when I’ve found a friend online to chat with or when I’m reading a good book.

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

Erik Qualman – or someone at Google. And then I’d like to send the answers to my boss.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Oooh – this is a hard one. I have a hard time taking care of myself over work, and I’ve had a friend or two tell me that if I’m not well, I’m not doing anyone else any favors. I’m still working on reminding myself of this one.

How I Work – Kristen

How I Work

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

by Valerie Heruska

Location: Bloomington, IN
Current Gig: Assistant Director for Residence Life, Academic Initiatives
One word that best describes how you work: organizedchaos
Current mobile device: Smartphone: iPhone5. Tablets: iPad 2
Current computer:  MacBook Pro with a 13″ monitor. Clearly I drank the Apple juice.

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

I love Feedly, especially for personal purposes: saving recipes. I also use Evernote on all of my devices for work meetings and I can easily transfer notes that I take into emails to my colleagues and students. I’m use I’ll figure out more uses for both, but for right now, this is how I use them.

For my running, I use Nike+ GPS and for when I am in a new place, I use map my run online and transfer my route to the app. on my phone.

My workflow is like this: 

  • I take every single agenda for a meeting I receive as an attachment in an email and automatically drop it into Evernote. It allows me to type my notes into each of my Evernote agendas and I am able to use tags to figure out what I need.
  • I have a gigantic dry erase board in my office which stores all of my random ideas and also a huge checklist of things that I need to do. I also resort to using beautiful post its to tack things up on the board as well.

What’s your workspace setup like? 

I have a beautiful cherry-oak desk, in an office with no windows.  I have a monitor, which a stand so it is at eye-level. I also have a stand for my iPad and frequently bring my MBP to my office when I am working on graphics. I like to surround myself with things that inspire me: books, plants, pictures. I have a duo coarkboard and dry-erase board, which is great for putting my favorite things near me, without cluttering my small office space. I also have a small desk lamp and a standing lamp because the fluorescent bulbs give me migraines.

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

Do something during your day that makes you happy. Also, if you’re in an office with no windows… or even if you aren’t… go outside and take a walk. Move around often and clear your mind. Don’t sweat the small stuff… seriously, let it go.

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

My nutribullet. I make some really tasty (and chock full of energy) beverages for any time I get the craving for something sweet. It’s definitely something I  enjoy having and it keeps my blood sugar at even levels so I can be productive at my best time: the morning.

What do you listen to while you work? P

I have a pandora station that I named after me: Valtastic. It features the following artists: Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse, Nikka Costa, and soulful voices.

Women’s Running Magazine. I wish I had more to say about reading, but I haven’t been able to get to the library. 

Are you more of an introvert or an extrovert? P

What’s your sleep routine like?

I’m usually in bed by 10PM and shortly asleep thereafter. I’m usually up at 5:30/6AM. I get up around 5AM when it is lighter out in the morning.

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

Kerry Washington as Olivia Pope.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? P

Why not go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is. – Mark Twain

How I Work