This is Technical.ly’s How I Work series, where we take a look at the tools and tips the region’s founders and technologists use to get through the day. If you’d like to be a part of this series, email us: email@example.com.
Like many of us these days, the first thing Jenny Wang does when she wakes up is check her email.
Wang is a vice president at kglobal, a full-service public relations agency based in downtown D.C. that offers media relations, graphic design, branding support and more.
“I’m notorious for being constantly on my email — night and morning,” Wang told Technical.ly. “That being said, for sanity’s sake, I probably should take time to drink my coffee every morning before digging into my inbox.”
Outside of using her MacBook and iPhone, Wang said she’s pretty low-tech, although she does enjoy calling out to Alexa for various things like setting alarms, checking the weather, playing music and placing orders on Amazon. Despite her busy days, Wang also still finds some time to enjoy activities outside of work.
“When I’m able to and have time, I join a regular weekly Zoom HH with a group of former ambassadors and statesmen to talk politics and current affairs (I’m an odd exception in that group),” she said. “I’ve also been running a book club for the last several years — we read a new book each month, and before COVID-19, we’d meet in person to discuss and drink wine, of course.”
Technical.ly asked Wang more about her work-from-home life, and how it is consistently changing. Here’s what she had to say:
As a vice president at kglobal, what does your job entail and what are you working to help clients achieve?
As a vice president at a mid-size public relations agency here at the heart of our nation’s capital, I lead integrated communications campaigns on behalf of clients across different industries. Essentially, by helping my clients gain greater visibility brand awareness, I’m helping them achieve their ultimate business goal — growth. In addition, I provide crisis communications and issues management counsel.
I wear a lot of hats — I manage various accounts for our team, serve as the main point-of-contact for many of my clients, develop new business leads and proposals, help mentor and guide junior employees, and recruit new team members to ensure staffing needs are met.
Oh, and I find time to do the work itself! Pitching reporters, keeping abreast of new developments and trends, putting together communication plans, ensuring deliverables are top-notch quality, etc.
Simply put, I help keep the trains running on time.
How often do you check your email, and do you use any program to get to “Inbox Zero”?
I definitely ascribe to “Inbox Zero” — I can’t stand having unread notifications on any of my apps! My Outlook is always up while I’m working, so I’m very often responding to emails and Slacks in near real-time throughout the day. I’ve found throughout my career that clients appreciate my higher-responsiveness. As I always say, “the news doesn’t sleep.” If I’m awake, that usually means I’m checking email very regularly, even if it’s late-night.
Also, I file emails religiously into various sub-folders for different accounts — I find this to be a life-saver in terms of always staying on top of things and being able to find any past email easily. Anything that is high-priority does not get filed right away, but rather, flagged and kept in my main inbox for me to address quickly.
For ongoing projects, how do you keep track of your progress?
For our various client accounts, my team usually uses a dedicated tracking system/project management tool called Smartsheet. I also am old-school in that I keep a hand-written work journal detailing every day my to-dos, as well as the time I spend on each item and account (being a billable PR consultant). I also have a separate personal planner that I carry around with me everywhere. For the different accounts I manage, much of what needs to be done and prioritized is also, quite frankly, always in my head.
When you need to take a break, what are you turning to?
I find it’s been even harder for me to have work-life separation during COVID! However, I do online Barre3 workout classes that help me destress, and oddly enough, watching CNN gives me mini-breaks throughout the day.
What’s one time-saving tip you have?
I find having a detailed to-do list and knowing what items are higher priority allow me to focus on more timely things. This way, I review or address what’s more important right away, and the less timely items I save for later.
I find myself in a lot of meetings, but if I know I’m not absolutely needed for a meeting, I tend to not join in order to buy back some time. I’m always looking to buy back time! I also prefer running short, efficient meetings that focus on priorities and actionable next steps.
Many of us are shifting to remote work these days. What are your tips for staying productive at home?
I find myself being even more productive while working from home. Though I miss being in-person with my colleagues (I’m an extrovert and traditionally have hated WFH), there’s just less distractions for me at home.
I think it’s important to be flexible with yourself while working from home. For example, working hours are a bit more flexible these days. I myself like saving some work for the evening, as my brain just works better at night, so I don’t feel guilty if I sign off a bit early for a workout knowing I’ll be online later.