Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Dr. Jennifer Askey in the “How I Work” series, from EnergizedAcademic. Her goal as a coach is to help clients work through frustrations, blocks, and setbacks to optimize their productivity and happiness–whether inside the academy or outside. She also coaches people who are ready to see their currently successful academic careers grow and flourish.
Her academic career has spanned a wide array of jobs, types of institutions, and research contexts. She has worked as an adjunct/sessional instructor, been on the tenure-track and achieved tenure (Kansas State University in 2010), and worked on temporary full-time contracts. She has been an academic office administrator, served on personnel committees and on university Faculty Senate. She spent two years developing new academic programs and working on cyclical program review and have shepherded new academic requirements through approval processes. She has seen the university from multiple vantage points and isfamiliar with both the problems and the potentials there for graduate students, faculty, administrators, and staff.
Her academic training is in Political Economy and German literature. She seeks to impower het clients to harness their own experiences to maximize their potential. She is working toward ICF (International Coach Federation) certification with the Coach Training Institute.
Current Job: sole proprietor and coach at Energized Academic
Current Location: Hamilton, Ontario
Current mobile device: LG4 android phone
Current computer: MacBook Pro 15″ laptop, circa 2013, Acer Chromebook c 2016
Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
I run a coaching business that offers productivity, coaching, and personal/leadership development services to academics (broadly defined). Instead of researching German literature of the 19th century, like I did in my professorial gig, I research paths in and outside of academia; research on positivity and habits, and small business stuff.
What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?
I use both digital and analog tools. I have modified the Bullet Journal set-up to work for me as sort of a long-range to-do list plus daily accountability tracker. I have a vast array of pens in many colours. My phone is 100% essential for meeting reminders, as well as mobility on skype or phone with clients. I use Dropbox and Google Drive to share docs with my clients; with the acquisition of the Chromebook, though, I find myself navigating more toward Drive and wish that everyone else did, too. I appreciate having all of our shared notes and records in one common space and the version tracking that both of these services provide.
Recently I’ve begun using Trello.com, a kanban-style workflow board online, to track issues and questions my clients and I want to cover, are currently covering, and have covered. It is also a way to keep our meeting notes in one spot.
What does your workspace setup look like?
I work from home, in a cozy corner of a refurbished attic.
What is your best advice for productive academic work?
Schedule your time well, give yourself hard deadlines, remember that the perfect is the enemy of the good, and don’t let little things gobble up all your time. Hire a coach to optimize your productivity and focus on your values and goals.
How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
Trello boards and the Bullet Journal
Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?
Well, I’m not a practicing academic at the moment but a lot of the skills I used in teaching and research apply to my current position as coach. I am an excellent public speaker and lecturer. I really listen to students and colleagues. I understand the big picture that comes into being at the intersection of a person’s individual agenda and the university’s mission.
What do you listen to when you work?
Instrumental/classical music, if anything.
What are you currently reading? How do you find time for reading?
I am currently reading Motorcycles and Sweetgrass by Drew Hayden Taylor and am listening to a murder mystery in the Danish Dept Q series on audiobook. Audiobooks are for dog walks; printed texts are for bedtime or family reading time (instead of TV!). I’m also reading Hey Ladies, Stop Apologizing to review for my professional blog; I fit that into my work day in fits and starts.
Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?
I am an extrovert. This definitely influenced my decision to become a coach, which requires marketing myself to people, reaching out to them, sharing my opinions and expertise, and–occasionally–pushing people outside of their comfort zones.
What’s your sleep routine like?
In my fantasy life, I go to bed at 11 and get up at 6:30. The 6:30am time is proving to be a bit optimistic when I don’t have transit to catch or a class to show up to.
What’s your work routine like?
It is variable because my non-negotiable work times are when I have calls or meetings scheduled with clients. These vary from week to week, so does my routine then, as well. I try to fit in a bit of professional reading each day, and make time for physical exercise (walk the dog, yoga) and meditation almost every day. I answer a lot of email and keep up with book keeping and scheduling, which takes up a fair amount of time.
What’s the best advice you ever received?
Know what a fulfilled and content life look like for you; know what your non-negotiable values are and use all that information to find the career, life partner, etc. for you.