Thanks to Fueled Collective for underwriting our How I Work series!
What one word best describes how you work?
What is your current device/hardware/office setup?
MacBook Air + iPhone + iPad. I’m not an Apple fanboy, but I guess I’m pretty tied into the ecosystem. Early adopter on iOS releases. Late adopter on macOS releases. Go figure. When I’m in the office, an extra monitor and wireless mouse are key.
What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?
Gmail + Boomerang + countless other Gmail plugins.
Vim, Excel, Google Spreadsheets, and SQL. Knowing your data is key.
What your sleep schedule like in terms of hours/wake-up and the morning routine?
I’m more of the early to bed and early riser type in general, and I value sleep because I know I perform better if I’m well rested. That said, when we have a big milestone or push it can go in extremes. On those weeks, maybe I’ll go to bed around 1:00am 3-4 nights in a row, up at 6:30, and then crash the night after that as early as 8:30pm in an effort to catch up.
Is there a method to how you schedule your days?
I greatly prefer scheduling meetings in the afternoon in an effort to maximize morning productivity.
Monday – Friday, 6:00-8:30pm are almost always reserved for time with the family.
I’ve also learned to value regular exercise. I better manage stress and also focus better throughout days I’ve exercised. I try to run at least ten miles a week – whether I’m traveling for work or back in Minnesota. Depending on the day, I usually schedule running in during the 7am or 11/noon hour.
How much time do you spend in vs. out of the office?
It depends on work travel schedule. When I’m in Minnesota, I’m typically in the office approximately 45-50 hours per week. Outside the office, I probably work another 20-25 hours per week. Work travel varies quite a bit depending on time of year from an extreme of six trips in seven weeks to one trip per eight weeks.
Where is the office?
Grain Exchange, downtown Minneapolis.
What’s your best time-saving shortcut/life hack?
Start your day and write a list of your top priorities on an index card. Focus on those priorities first. Make sure to prioritize the important and not just the urgent.
What is that one thing you have to do, no matter what, every day?
The one crazy thing I do every day is fall asleep listening to an episode of Arrested Development on Netflix on my iPhone.
What is your preferred form of communication and why?
It depends. For deeper understanding, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or hop on a video conference. Much as I hate email in general, the fact that its asynchronous is great.
On average, how many hours a day do you spend in meetings?
This has substantially reduced over time. Within our company – an average of an hour a day. If you count sales and partner calls, it ebbs and flows, but the number is much higher.
When, where and what do you typically eat for lunch?
Varies, but I’ll eat anywhere from 11 to 2 depending on the days needs. In the interest of time, I rotate between a large stash of four “go to” frozen meals at the office… 1) Chicken Tikka Masala / Trader Joes. 2) Mexican Rice Bowl / Costco. 3) Buffalo Chicken Bites / Target. 4) Chicken Fingers / Costco.
On days I splurge (both time & calories), I like to hit up iGrill (an Indian buffet), Vellee Deli, Kindee Thai, or a food truck.
How many hour a week do you work on average and do you work in the evenings and/or weekends?
65-70 hours per week. I work evenings and weekends, but I also try to pretty strictly carve out time for the family in the morning and early evening. When the kids are in bed, I’m working.
What is the best advice you ever received, accepted, and applied?
When it comes to running a startup, there are so many things I’ve taken from Ben Horowitz’ blog as well as his book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things. If I had to boil it down – be yourself and nobody cares.
Fill in the blank: I’d love to see Mike Bollinger from Minnesota’s tech industry answer these same questions.