Today, in the “How I Work” series, I am interviewing Helena Hendrika. Helene, 24 years old, is an Illustrator & graphic designer, teacher and student. Time management is something she works on a lot because she’s always busy. Besides that she collects perfumes, loves vintage furniture, tattoos and especially bullterriers.
Current Job: Illustrator & graphic designer
Current Location: Utrecht, The Netherlands
Current mobile device: Apple iPhone gold 5S
Current computer: Macbook white (the old one haha)
Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
Currently I’m doing a lot of things at a time. On Mondays I go to Amsterdam to work on my art project and follow a subject in the evening about artist in residence (AIR). On Tuesdays/Wed/Thurs/ I work at the Grafisch Lyceum in Utrecht as a teacher for projects and client communication and art. It’s an internship. In Dutch we call it “LIO-stage” it means “learning teacher”. But, I have the same tasks and rights as my other colleagues. On Fridays I visit Amsterdam again to work on my essay. I’m doing research about the new learning theories and the future of education during creative lessons.
What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
Of course my Macbook. Besides that I’m a huge fan of Wunderlist, Evernote (both list and to-do apps) but honestly I notice I’ll always come back to my paper year planner because I love to just write things down. It makes me more aware for some reason. I need my Wacom for drawings and a sketchbook is also an essential for me. When it comes to software, I use Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign a lot. Oh and I recently got myself into Exel, and it’s pretty helpful haha! Oh and last but not least, AppleMusic, Coffee, something to chew on …
What does your workspace setup look like?
I work wherever I can. I do have a home setup in my living room a small desk with all the stuff I need. But, I can work pretty much everywhere when there is enough space for my stuff and a good WiFi connection.
Sometimes I work at school when I want to focus myself on something else besides art.
What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Plan, plan plan. Make little goals and just do them. Don’t cancel your tasks because you need to do something that is more “fun”. Oh and constantly remind yourself of your goal. That really works for me.
Always do it for something, if you are doing it without a reason, just stop doing it.
How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
Like I said: I use an oldskool year planner. Because I like to see what my week will be like but I don’t want to know everything after that. I focus myself on each week at a time. I just write my task down, and little task I do right away. That is how I keep my head clean.
Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
No, to be honest I’m not that in to technological stuff. I like to combine the old and the future. My phone and Macbook are pretty much all I need. I used to have an iPad but that just was a waste of money, I never used it and it was too much. So I stick with my phone and laptop …
Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
I’m pretty good at keeping my sh*t together. I can say no to the things that are too much to me or don’t make me happy. I think lots of people make the mistake they “overplan” themselves and get caught up in a downwards spiral of tasks, you have to’s and whatsoever.
What do you listen to when you work?
At the moment I’m constantly listening to Lana del Rey’s new album Honeymoon. I listen to her a lot. Oh and LIGHTS, her music makes me happy and calm.
Sometimes I just turn my music off because I enjoy the sound of silence so much .. it really depends on my mood, but … I don’t NEED music to work. I just like it.
What are you currently reading?
Currently I’m reading a book about Auschwitz my aunt gave me. Most of the time I read before going to bed or in the train. I always have a little time left to read, and if I don’t I just make time for it. It’s all about priorities.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
I’m more an introvert. I like to be alone and focus on my stuff. I never really liked working in big groups op people with too many different work styles and opinions. When I’m working I’m quite egocentric.
What’s your sleep routine like?
I sleep a lot. When I Don’t get a good night sleep I feel cranky, annoyed and dizzy. So I got to bed around 10 at night and wake up around 6. 8 hours of sleep is my minimum but there are days I sleep 11 or even 12 hours. Don’t even know if that’s healthy but it works to keep me fit.
What’s your work routine like?
When I’m working at home, I first start with breakfast and putting on some clothes and makeup. I always make sure I look like I’m going to an office. Looking good and taking care of my appearance makes me more productive. After that I just start with the first thing that comes to my mind. Most of the time I end up watching youtube vids but I can easily get myself focused again. I really believe that you have to give yourself a lot of space.
If you don’t feel like doing your administration just do something else.
And come back later to it. So I don’t really have a routine. It depends on my tasks and how I feel. Everyday is different.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
“Make it simple but significant” – Don Draper (Mad Men)