Brit gal Liz Hover is the Digital Media Manager at the National Screen Institute (NSI) in Winnipeg. She’s been named one of the world’s top “125 fearless female bloggers.” Liz teaches social media marketing and blogging to students at NSI and also manages the organization’s website. If you dig dogs you’ll love Liz’s dog’s blog Hi, I’m Sadie Shih Tzu.
What time do you get up and moving? What are the first few things (work/business/personal) that you do each morning?
I get up everyday at 5:30 a.m. Even on the weekends. The first thing I do is switch on my laptop which lives on the dining-room table. While I’m waiting for it to do its thing, I go outside for a cigarette. Yes – I’m one of THOSE people. Then I read a lot of emails. I usually also check the Daily Mail website (a British tabloid newspaper).
I get up everyday at 5:30 a.m. Even on the weekends.
When do you first check your email? And how many emails do you get a day?
I check my email as soon as my computer will let me. I probably get around a couple of hundred emails a day. I have two accounts myself and one for my dog, Sadie. I always check my work email too.
Do you have any tips for dealing with email? (Any techniques or tools you use?)
If I don’t read and action an email straight away it usually gets forgotten. I make a point of reading and replying straight away. Whenever I think, ‘I’ll read that later’ I don’t so it’s now or never.
I subscribe to email updates from lots of design, social media marketing and pet blogs. If the email is still in my inbox unread after a couple of days, I’ll delete it. Of course I check its importance but ultimately if I couldn’t find time to read it, it loses its relevance.
What time do you usually arrive at the office? And what does your typical day look like?
I’m at the office anywhere between 9:30 a.m. and 10 a.m. First thing I do is grab a glass of water (I never drink coffee!).
Log on to my computer and open up Outlook to see what has arrived in my inbox since earlier that morning.
I read A LOT. I subscribe to zillions of blogs and websites – both film and TV industry news and social media marketing stuff.
I read A LOT. I subscribe to zillions of blogs and websites
So a large part of my day is spent reading through emails. Sometimes what I read might become a blog post or I’ll post it to NSI’s Facebook or Twitter.
I don’t think I really have a typical day.
Working as a website manager can often mean I’m very reactive – waiting for things from others. I might have to edit a bunch of stories for our website. Or I might have to fix sponsorship logos on our site.
I use Photoshop a lot. I don’t think there’s a day when it isn’t open on my computer. I might be creating a small ad for our website or resizing a photo for someone’s blog post. Opening up Photoshop is almost as routine as opening Outlook.
Three times a week I see a personal trainer for an hour between 11:30 a.m. and 12.30 p.m. I do a lot of sitting in my job so exercise is super important. In the summer months I cycle to and from work but we get snow for half the year so regular exercise is essential for me. I do a lot of running, skipping and weight training.
I do a lot of sitting in my job so exercise is super important.
I rarely go out for lunch. It’s usually eaten at my desk (sushi or salad). And that’s just the way I like it. Invite me for wine after work if you want a meeting with me J I prefer to carry on working while I eat.
I tend to work very quickly. While I’m waiting for a photo to open, I’ll be checking NSI’s Twitter account or reading emails. I think the idea of multi-tasking is a myth. I can’t read emails and listen to a webinar at the same time. I usually fill small gaps of time with lots of little things.
Our office tends to wrap up around 5 p.m. I won’t stay much later than that because if I have more stuff to do, I’ll do it at home.
I use DropBox a lot so if I have to use work files at home I just pop them in my NSI DropBox folder. I often email stuff to myself at home too.
What’s the most interesting thing about your job?
The people I work with.
My job allows me lots of creativity, which I love, but the most valuable thing about my job is the team around me. I’m very lucky to work with people I like. We’ve joked that we’re quite family-like. Until recently almost the whole team had been working together for just over five years so we know each other pretty well.
We’re very collaborative. We all ask each other for ideas. We tease each other. We laugh together and we support each other during challenges.
How do you approach productivity? What challenges do you have in this area? How are you overcoming them? Any tips for others?
In the last three or four years I’ve learned a lot about how I work. I’m very fast at what I do. I don’t usually put things off. If someone needs to talk to me, I’ll make myself available immediately. One of my first bosses taught me this. She was breathtakingly busy but she always made time to sign things, meet with people and respond to phone messages.
I’m not the sort of person who says, ‘I don’t have time.’
I always look for the quickest way to do something – never at the expense of the quality of my work – but I can usually look around a task and see how to get from A to B quite quickly.
I do a lot of writing in my job too. I write very quickly. I think this is a skill I’ve developed from just writing a lot for many years. It isn’t hard for me to write a blog post or an email. These aren’t things I labour over. I just get on with it.
Do you have a good work-life balance? If no, why? If yes, how do you achieve it? What are you beliefs around this?
It depends who you ask! I think I have a good work/life balance but my partner would probably say ‘You’re always in front of that bloody computer!’ And he would be right.
Can you share a personal or business challenge that was hard to deal with and how you overcame it and what you learned from it?
In 2003 I moved from London, England to Canada. I’d lived in England all my life but was compelled to make the move across the ocean for many different reasons. I was 29.
My mum is from Winnipeg, Canada (where I now live). She left in her early 20s to marry my dad who she’d met when she was on holiday with her best friend.
So I did the opposite. I went on holiday to Canada, met a man and decided to emigrate. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
My relationship broke down after a year and I was ready to go back to England feeling like a failure. Many tears were shed and I was pretty depressed. I even saw a therapist to deal with the breakup.
Moving to a new country, having no friends, no job (at first) and trying to keep a failed relationship going was incredibly hard.
Then I met my current partner, John, and my life did a complete 180. I’ve been in Canada for eight years now. We own a house together and I’m the proud step-monster to twin 11-year-old-boys.
John was born in England but grew up in Canada. He even went to the same high school as my mum and grew up in the same neighbourhood in Winnipeg. I’ve learnt that life can take some interesting twists and turns.
I learned to follow my heart and trust myself through all this craziness. I’m very instinctual.
What inspires you?
So many things! I mentioned I read a lot. I’m very inspired by designers and bloggers. I love looking at website design. My dog inspires me a lot too. Check out her blog and you’ll see how often I write there.
What is your favourite quote of all time?
“There is no ‘try.’ Only do and do not.” – Yoda
In your industry, what is the biggest trend or opportunity you are seeing right now?
I straddle two industries: film and television and marketing. I think it’s kind of obvious but digital media is so powerful in both industries. We have so much opportunity to create using new formats and communicate with audiences in ways we never could before.
If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what would you be doing?
I’ve always worked in marketing but didn’t find my passion until about four years ago when I became NSI’s website manager. If I hadn’t fallen in love with the internet, web design and social media marketing I’d probably be a very ineffective, depressed marketer.