Sharing the stories behind how different businesses are blueprinting efficiencies in the workplace.
Tell us about your background, and your current role at itenwest.com.
I graduated with a graphic design degree and then worked in the advertising industry as a creative for about 15 years. Currently, I’ve branched off from agency life and started freelancing as a creative director, art director and brand consultant.
You have seen vast changes in the industry. Tell us more about those changes, and the role that software and technology tools have played.
The changes in the industry have been drastic. I can remember the days we used to use paper job jackets to track hours and change requests. Also, who could forget those countless hours spent boarding creative on black boards hours before the pitch. Technology tools have completely changed the industry and how we work together. It’s more eco-friendly, cost-effective, efficient and honestly improves quality of life.
You’re now freelancing as the head of itenwest. How has your workload changed, comparing your previous agency life vs. managing your own schedule with clients?
I remember being overwhelmed at times with the workload in an agency. I would drain my creative brain power working 70-80hrs a week. I turned into a monkey machine. Now that I’m able to manage my own schedule and clients, I’ve increased a better quality of life, decreased the time spent on projects and rounds of revisions.
What software tools do you currently use to collaborate, manage work, and track your time?
Toggl, Hourstack, Zoom, Dropbox, Invision, and frame.io are the key players in contributing to my productivity at itenwest.
You mentioned that you have some experience using HourStack. Tell us more about how you started using HourStack, and the need for accurate yet flexible time tracking and resource allocation tools.
I started using HourStack when I managed a creative team at my last agency. It was easy to see what the team had on their plate, including myself, and the hours spent versus allocated. It helped me see how long a project took verses how many hours were allocated was key. This allowed the team to become more accurate in the future. Hourstack’s organic and flexible tracking experience also allowed us more freedom to work on projects when truly inspired, instead of when the Project Manager told us to.
What is the overall business impact when the right tools are implemented? What ROI have you seen from having the right tools and resources in place?
When the right tools are implemented, the business runs more smoothly, the clients are happier, and the margin of error decreases. Plus, when the creator has less stress the end product is better and more effective.
What is your physical work environment like, and how does that impact your productivity?
My everyday work environment changes. Some days I work from home, other days I work on my partner’s porch or at a random coffee shop, and sometimes a different city entirely. When I keep things fresh and visually different, I allow myself the flexibility to head to the dog park or even go on a hike in the middle of the day. I’ve found that my ideas are better and I’m faster when I start creating. No more blank stares or gazing off into space for solutions at an office desk. Those days are long gone.
Finally, any recommendations for top reads, talks, conferences in 2020 for those trying to stay on top in a very fast-paced, creative environment?
My Top 5 Recommended 2020 Conferences