I came across Timothy Hales because he's a very active member in the External Communities Group. This is one of those community moments when you feel like you know the person just through your interaction in a community, even though you've never met face to face. Timothy has a fantastic (and very packed) workstyle, and I'm happy he shared it with everyone through this interview!
Leigh: Where do you work?
Timothy: I work for Esri, a mapping software company. Our technology enables organizations to create responsible and sustainable solutions to problems at local and global scales. It is based out of Redlands, CA, but I work out of our Charlotte, NC regional office.
Take a virtual tour of our headquarters - http://arcg.is/18bINpH
Leigh: How would you describe your current job?
Timothy: I am the Enterprise Community Manager for GeoNet, our Jive-x community. I technically do not have a job description, but you could say that I do about everything imaginable as it relates to our community. I manage the day-to-day operations of the community including user engagement, moderation, training, technical support, reporting, system administration, product testing, and more.
Leigh: Are you familiar with the Jive WorkTypes? If so, what was your WorkType?
Leigh: How do you think your WorkType plays into how you get work done in Jive?
Timothy: My WorkType helps me focus on improving the user experience of our customers. Every time I am presented with a workflow or task, I am always searching for a better way to accomplish those things. Jive provides a great platform, but I am always giving feedback on how it can be better. When Jive applies this feedback to future releases, it not only helps our community but also many other Jive customers as well.
Leigh: Did your team have a chance to take the WorkType Finder quiz? Have you all talked about your results?
Timothy: Team?!? I am supposed to have a team? I have a lot of great resources for various projects, but I am the only one dedicated 100% to the community.
Leigh: So how do you use Jive at work (internal community, external community, etc.)?
Timothy: Jive is an external community for our customers. It provides a way for them to ask questions and troubleshoot software problems. They also collaborate around projects and use the platform as a way to share code.
We are working hard to build other forms of engagement through the migration of our blog and idea platforms. My colleagues are very innovative in how they apply the community to their particular industry. For example our Education Team uses the community to engage students in discussions for their massive open online courses (MOOCs). We also just launched a new series called Esri Ten For where the community asks questions and an expert answers ten of them on video.
Leigh: What a great series!
Leigh: What's your computer situation... Do you use a Mac or PC (or something else)?
Timothy: I just recently switched to a Mac for the first time a couple weeks ago. I've always used a PC, but was looking for a system that could increase production for graphics and video design, improve processing performance when running code when managing the community using the Jive API, and a system that travels well since it's my main connection to the community 24/7. It has taken some getting used to, but I absolutely love it. No plans to go back.
Leigh: Tell us what you use for your mobile device?
Timothy: In the past, I have used the Palm Pre, Motorola Q, and Samsung Galaxy; yet the iPhone 5c is by far best and most stable device I have ever had. There is no way I am switching from Apple. Like a friend said, "Apple's walled garden may be small, but it's a very nice garden."
Leigh: Besides Jive, what apps/software/tools can't you live without?
- Waze - The best navigation app out there. Sure, I know how to get to work or my house, but this app helps me avoid accidents, road closures, and traffic jams.
- Goodbudget - I still believe in the importance of creating a budget, and there is no better way to manage your spending than with a cash envelope budget.
- EverNote - Although I use OneNote for work, I use EverNote for personal items. I like how I can access it on my computer, iPad, or iPhone.
- Snagit - I am always grabbing screenshots of issues and basic how-to steps. TechSmith Snagit makes it very simple.
Leigh: Do you have a favorite non-computer gadget?
Timothy: That's a hard one since everything nowadays is computerized. I enjoy cooking and so there are a variety of kitchen gadgets that I like, but probably my favorite right now is my pull-up bar. It's portable so I can have it in my bedroom, kitchen, or anywhere with a door frame. I've added a bit of bling from the past year to help with motivation. It also doubles as a monkey bar for my kids. They try very hard to do pull-ups, but more than anything they enjoy swinging on it.
Leigh: How do you stay organized? What's your favorite to-do list manager?
Timothy: At home, I am not even close to being organized as compared to my work organization. OneNote is my friend and the only way I stay up on work. I take a scrum-style approach to how I handle my daily tasks. I have a "back-log" for random ideas and tasks that don't have to get done in the near future. My "current" list is for tasks that have a due date or must get done soon. The "today" list is of tasks that I have pulled from the "current" list that I plan to get done each day. The "completed" list helps me realize that I am actually getting things done because who doesn't like the feeling of accomplishment? I do a full review of each list every Friday morning. That helps me prepare to hit the ground running Monday morning.
Leigh: I love this approach.
Leigh: What you surround yourself with is important, what's your work space like?
Timothy: I like having a clean desk. I may have a bit of clutter in my drawers or overhead bin, but you won't find that on my desk. I am a very technical guy at heart, hence the reason for three monitors and the MacBook Pro. I start every morning with a cup of English Breakfast tea. Yes, it is sweet! I live in the South. I keep a water bottle close by to maintain my hydration. Slightly behind me are the handprints of my children and a bridal portrait of my wife.
Leigh: What's your best time-saving trick?
Timothy: Stay off of your devices. It is amazing how much time we waste every day looking at our phones.
Leigh: How do you balance work and life?
Timothy: I work some strange hours at times, but try to keep my work during normal business hours. Outside of those hours I make sure everyone is asleep or out of the house before breaking out the MacBook. So if you work with me you may get emails between Midnight and 6AM. I love spending time with my family! I have been married for 12 years and have four children (one girl and three boys). We play soccer, xBox, board games, Legos, Nerf guns, and a whole lot more. I am active in my local church and serve in our preschool department. In my spare time I enjoy running and staying fit. This year I took on the challenge of earning my Spartan Trifecta.
Leigh: My jaw just dropped. You do so much and with such a big family. Good on ya!
Leigh: What's your sleep routine like?
Timothy: Sleep... what's that? Haha. I'm usually in the bed by midnight and up by 6 am or so. With four kids I rarely sleep in and always go to bed way later than I should. I like to think I get more sleep than I actually do, but my Jawbone tells me otherwise. I get about six hours of sleep on average.
Leigh: Are you more of an introvert, ambivert or extrovert?
Timothy: Ambivert for sure. I have characteristics from both ends of the spectrum. I am the youngest of five children with the next oldest being 10 years older than me, so I grew up kind of as an only child. For this reason I tend to enjoy being by myself. However, this does not keep me from being social. I can strike up a conversation with anyone at any time. I really don't go out much unless it's with my family.
Leigh: What's the best advice you've ever received (and from whom)?
Timothy: One of the best pieces of advice came from a previous boss. He challenged me to continue my education. Not just the degree variety, but anything that helps me grow as person or advance my career. Since then, I am always looking for learning opportunities. Whether it be online classes, books, articles, seminars, or breakfast with an elder, just get out there an keep learning.
I don't know about y'all, but I'm certainly going to use some of his tips and I'm re-motivated to make the most of every day! Thank you so much, Timothy, for sharing your fantastic workstyle. Does anyone have any questions for Timothy?