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I am Ana Adi, and This is How I Work

Today, I have the pleasure of hosting Dr. Ana Adi in the “How I Work” series. Dr. Adi is a Professor of Public Relations/Corporate Communications at Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin. She moved here after she lived in the UK, Bahrain, USA, Belgium and Romania. She writes and speaks often about digital communication (from strategy to measurement) including storytelling. She writes about the “serious stuff” she does on her website ( and Twitter (@ana_adi) but check her instagram for a mouth-watering incursion into her culinary experiences and travels (@ana_ady).

Current Job: Professor of PR/Corporate Communications
Current Location: Berlin
Current mobile device: Iphone 6
Current computer: MacBook Pro

Can you briefly explain your current situation and research to us?
I am a Professor of PR/Corporate Communication at Quadriga University of Applied Sciences in Berlin, Germany, a university focusing on the training and development of executives in communication, politics and public affairs, human resources, sales and marketing. My current research projects are a mixture (usually) of two or more of the following themes: digital communication and strategy, political communication, protest communication, corporate social responsibility and storytelling.

What tools, apps and software are essential to your workflow?

My cloud spaces (Hubic and Dropbox) are the most important for me right now. These allow me to access all my information and data from any device no matter where I am in the world (provided that I have an internet connection). Then my messaging apps (Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger) but also email and phone are important to keep up with my research partners and collaborators. I have used IFTTT (If This Than That) and Socioviz to capture some of the social media data for my projects and Skype and Call Recorder for some of my interviews. I am thinking of going back to using Mendeley to sort out my literature archives and I am thinking of testing Overleaf for a book I am co-writing.

What does your workspace setup look like?
I do alternate between a home office and university office.

What is your best advice for productive academic work?
I find useful keeping an overview (and tickbox kind of list) for my ongoing projects. To write I need a relatively quiet place (or a closed door and the endorsement of my colleagues or family of the “research in progress/do not disturb” policy) and a good planning list (which is why I often sketch lists and draft writing outlines to which I keep on adding as I go along). I also find collaboration extremely important for productive work (this also helps produce more outputs and have a potentially higher impact with them).

How do you keep an overview of projects and tasks?
My calendar (or better said synchronized calendars) are a good tracker of my work. They include in-project deadlines (which are captured in emails and project planning docs that have been previously agreed with my research partners and that are backed up in the cloud).

Besides phone and computer, do you use other technological tools in work and daily life?
My phone and computer act as hubs for all my information. The info is synced and backed up between devices.

Which skill makes you stand out as an academic?

You might want to ask my colleagues about that. I’d like to think that it’s my flexibility, respect for my colleagues’/partners’ work and my knowledge of a couple of languages.

What do you listen to when you work?

Nothing works better than peace and quiet these days.

What are you currently reading? How do you find time for reading?
I am switching between several books/journal articles and podcasts that include topics I am teaching and researching. When I am in the office, I catch up on my reading on the subway on the way home (I do have a rather long commute so that helps). Otherwise, I just build it in my schedule.

Are you more of an introvert or extrovert? How does this influence your working habits?

An extrovert. I am not sure if it influences my working habits but it helps colleagues know what I am working on and what to expect from me (and by when).

What’s your work routine like?
What is important for me is that the work gets done: so I focus on the deadlines I have to meet and the tasks I have to accomplish; it starts with emails and moves on to the closer deadlines… my day thus can be very long and rather short (and work can happen on the go, in the airport, between brushing teeth and making coffee…)

What’s the best advice you ever received?

I didn’t receive it but it is an advice I share often: back up, back up and back up your data.

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