“How I Work”: Ali Selbo, Chief Experience Officer for Tegrita Consulting Group @_alijae #HowIWork

February 15, 2018 Matt Heinz

By Matt Heinz, President of Heinz Marketing

Some of my favorite recurring features in Inc Magazine as well as Lifehacker is their This Is How I Work type series.  For a few years now I’ve been honored to have several amazing business leaders and sales experts participate in our very own #HowIWork series.  I recently updated our questions about work-life balance and more.  It’s like “20 questions” only better.  Check out past participants here.

This week I’m excited to feature Ali Selbo, chief experience officer for Tegrita Consulting Group.  In addition to a successful marketing career at companies such as Citrix & PTI Marketing Technologies, Ali is also a six-year member of the Junior League of San Diego.

Here in her own words is how she gets stuff done.

Location: I live and work remotely in the Little Italy neighborhood of sunny San Diego, CA

Number of unread emails right now? I have 26 unread emails in my inbox right now.

First app checked in the morning? The first app I open daily is email, and I have a process. I take a few minutes to scan for anything time sensitive or urgent. This sets my tone for how quickly I try to move through my morning routine of getting ready and walking the dog, and how fast I need to prepare my brain for a long day.

First thing you do when you come into work? When I first start my work day, it’s a vanilla latte or a cappuccino with cinnamon (sometimes both) and a mental checklist of what needs to happen for that day. Going through what’s most important prevents me from starting a spiral of scattered chaos. Starting with email; I sift and sort through my inbox moving emails into folders, acknowledging receipt of emails if I cannot reply within the first half of my day. From there, I take time to prepare for upcoming meetings and working with team members on Client projects.

What is your email management strategy? My email management strategy starts and ends with organization. I have cardinal rules when it comes to email: never leave an email un-responded to for more than 24 hours; favorite the reply-all button; and know when to take the email offline to a phone conversation and circle back via email to close the loop.

Most essential app when traveling? The essential travel apps are Yelp, Slack and SleepMachine. Yelp for a good recommendation for food and drink to keep me happy, Slack keeps me connected to the team on the go and SleepMachine creates a continual soft white noise, which helps drown out hotel and airport noise to get the best shut eye in new environments.

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? To stay calm and focused, I resort to homeopathic remedies where possible. I love my oil diffuser with peppermint and grapefruit essential oils. It runs most days about 6 feet from my desk. I also drink StayCalm and have it in packets for traveling. It’s a natural magnesium supplement, and helps me with anxiety when feeling “always on”.  When I’m feeling really overwhelmed or unable to focus, a good spinning or yoga class does the trick. Often times, when I’m on the go, I will stop by a new studio to stay sane.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance?  The work/life balance is more important now than ever. My first job after college lead with a strong respect for work-life balance, so, it’s been engrained in me from day 1 of my career. Also, it has become something very important in decisions that I make. Taking the time for “me” helps to maintain perspective of what’s truly important in life. My career, although important, is not my be-all-end-all. Plus, my husband and I work very hard to have a no phone/laptop zone for at least an hour daily and to be as present as possible to one another.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success?  I don’t have any rituals critical to my success; but I do believe in “what’s meant to be, will be”. There’s no sense in working yourself up over something that’s not intended to be fate. I’ve used this in my young adulthood and in my career, and I have to say in terms of where I am, I know it’s the right place for me right now.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?  I without a doubt could not live without the internet and my phone. It’s become imperative in a daily routine to always be connected.

What’s your workspace like? My workspace is simple, and the atmosphere is critical to my mood. If it’s messy and cluttered, I’m more apt to be distracted and overwhelmed. Keeping a tidy and simple workspace is definitely something important to me. I also try to only have 1 glass out at a time; nothing worse than dirty coffee mugs and water glasses staring back at you.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or lifehack? My best time saving hack is the concept of “killing many birds with one stone”. How many things can you accomplish at once? I like to accomplish as many things as possible at once, as long as quality is not compromised.

What are you currently reading? I am between books. Any suggestions?

Last thing you do before leaving work? The last task I do before “leaving” work, is clear out emails to prevent a long next morning or coming back to my desk later in the evening. I make sure time is set aside before I go to bed each night to sort through the days’ remaining emails. This leads to a solid fresh start the next day.

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? Some of my mentors and influencers stem from each stage in my career, but primarily those in my personal life. It’s the humans who surround me daily; those are the ones who have become the strength in numbers and support system cheerleading for me as I continued to grow. Many do not know my personal life, but for those who do, it’s their patience and support. I feel overwhelmed with gratitude, and a constant driver to push me to where I go tomorrow and the next day.

Name some supportive people who help make it possible to do what you do best? The most supportive person is my husband. Until about 5 years ago, he had no concept of what a “click through” was or how to measure it. And it wasn’t until he started a business in online marketing that he too could relate to what I do… well most of it anyways. No matter what time zone or hour of the day or night, he’s always there to listen, advise and pat me on the back when I need it most.

What’s the best advice you¹ve ever received? The best advice I ever received was “If you will regret not doing something, then do it. Otherwise you will always wonder the “what if”.” In fact, I just shared this with a friend at dinner last week who’s at a crossroads in a career decision.

Name a guilty pleasure TV show The first guilty pleasure show that comes to mind.. hm, there isn’t one… there’s a few!  My current favorite is the Good Doctor. I also love Scandal. Olivia Pope is so interesting, I love to watch how she ticks.

Anything else you want to add?  Fun Fact: I’ve learned age is only a number. When I was a sophomore to junior in high school, I had 3 jobs (part time) to pay for my cell phone service, gas and car insurance. I also graduated with a BS in Business and Marketing in 3 years.  

Q: How do you give back?

A: I give back by spending my time working with the local community through the Junior League of San Diego. It’s important to me to live by doing. I didn’t always have rainbows and sunshine growing up, and it’s important for me to help show children that anything’s possible, not matter what obstacles stand in your way.


Who would you like to nominate for this series?  Let us know!

The post “How I Work”: Ali Selbo, Chief Experience Officer for Tegrita Consulting Group @_alijae #HowIWork appeared first on Heinz Marketing.

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