The “How I Work” series, most noteworthy done by Lifehacker, has been reproduced by multiple authors for good reason: people love to hear from successful and influential people and learn the intricacies of their day-to-day. It can be inspiring and motivating to hear about the best, and oftentimes most simplistic practices.  In our “How I Work” interview we refined our questions by adding a few of our own and spiced them up with inspiration from Lifehacker as well as thinkspace mentor Matt Heinz. If you’re interested in checking out our previous “How I Work” interviews they get compiled here.

In this edition you’ll be hearing from KJ Dykema from Family Retirement. As a financial advisor she practices what she preaches and lives frugally and budgets like a BOSS. She also travels all over to help employees and individuals understand their own 401k’s and sets up 401k Lunch and Learn with a variety of companies. During her free time she spends time with her family. Not only is she the oldest of seven siblings but also has a 5 year-old son. You’ll be able to find them weekly at the Pike Market walking around, one of their favorite and longest-running activities. In addition to spending time with family, KJ loves to share two really incredible resources in the community, Seattle Preschool Program and Launch, who do great things for underserved families allowing tiered fees, programs, and making sure all kids have quality education. If you are interested in learning how KJ can help, the best way to contact her is through her website or her company text line.

Name:  KJ Dykema

Current Gig:  Independent Financial Advisor and Insurance Professional

One word that best describes how you work:  Time block

Current mobile device: iPhone X

Favorite verb: Love

Grit Score: 4.7 You can learn your Grit Score here)

How do you recharge or take a break from work? With my son; his infectious smile keeps my end goal in mind.

What was your dream job/passion project as a kid? Pediatric Dentist

Sunrise or sunset:  Sunset

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today. I started at a small independent firm with one advisor. When he saw my potential I had to replace my job with automation so I could take client meetings and maintain the portfolios. I was hired when I was seven months pregnant and took three weeks off and when I came back the advisor and I achieved goals he had never hit before.

Number of unread emails right now? 0 for now…

First thing you do when you come into work? Use my Push Journal to plan out my day and time block to make sure it can all get done.

What is your email management strategy? I have it set for Unread first then, keep emails that need a follow up response in Everything else until they are complete when I move to a folder.

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? Write everything down. If it’s off your mind and on paper you have more headspace to attack everything.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? There are sometimes when I need to work late or weekends, but if I am with my family that time needs to be completely dedicated to them and I need to be present.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success?  It’s a bit odd but I usually wait until 10 am or until I have crossed off some of my initial tasks to have my coffee. I make it a treat so I feel like I have earned it for the day.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? youcanbook.me, Zoho, Canva, Mint

Last thing you do before leaving work? Fill up my water bottle and say bye to the Thinkspace greeting team.

What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal with it? When I get questions about how politics effect portfolios.  I have to refocus what the goal is of the investments they have and what they CAN do to ensure their security with their plan.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend? Every time I get on a plane I start to reread The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? Chalene Johnson. I love her organization strategies and her podcast are what keep me dialed in.

Describe your workspace? Bright and Calm

What is your working process like? I use the Push Journal to prepare. I form habits and those habits help me clear up and allow me to be creative, spend time with my son, and everything else.

What’s your best shortcut or life hack? I don’t believe in shortcuts. It’s hard to take shortcuts and expect the same end result.

How do you keep track of what you have to do?  Push journal. Chalene Johnson (creator of Turbo Kick and other workouts) introduced me to it. It breaks down goals, number of hours needed to get things done, time blocking, etc.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Get out of the problem and into the solution.

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans? I was in the restaurant industry for over 10 years and still work twice a week at a bar because I love being social. The dynamic of those people is really interesting.

Interested in becoming a “How I Work” spotlight? Contact Stephanie and she’ll be excited to come chat!

The “How I Work” series, most noteworthy done by Lifehacker, has been reproduced by multiple authors for good reason: people love to hear from successful and influential people and learn the intricacies of their day-to-day. It can be inspiring and motivating to hear about the best, and oftentimes most simplistic practices.  In our “How I Work” interview we refined our questions by adding a few of our own and spiced them up with inspiration from Lifehacker as well as thinkspace mentor Matt Heinz. If you’re interested in checking out our previous “How I Work” interviews they get compiled here.

In this edition you’ll be hearing from Michael Elliott from RocketDog. Rocketdog originally launched in 1999 and Michael dove in full time in 2000. Not only is he an active member at thinkspace, he’s also heavily involved in the tech community. This year he was co-lead for Seattle Startup Week and sits on panel discussions often. It’s important for entrepreneurs to make time for themselves and Michael does that by going on hikes with his bulldog Chuck. You can visit Michael, and Chuck sometimes too, in the Seattle office.

Name:  Michael Elliott

Current Gig: Owner of RocketDog

One word that best describes how you work: Hustle

Current mobile device:iPhone

Favorite verb: Get

Grit Score: (You can learn your Grit Score here) 3.75

How do you recharge or take a break from work? Great food and drinks with friends.

What was your dream job/passion project as a kid? NFL Football and or Superhero

Sunrise or sunset: Sunrise. It’s such an amazing sense of renewal, though I have to admit I see way more sunsets.

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today. I’m somewhat of an accidental entrepreneur. I enjoy, and sometime dread, controlling my own destiny, but it is the path I have chosen and wouldn’t have it any other way.

Number of unread emails right now? 0

First thing you do when you come into work? Review my plan/projects for the day, then meditate for 10 minutes.

What is your email management strategy? Not as good as I’d like.

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused?  Meditation.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? I’ll let you know when I find it.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success? My notebook. I write down all of my tasks/projects that I need accomplish for that day with two items on the top of each page: “What’s the one thing that I can do to dramatically change my world” and “What’s the most important thing I can do today to achieve that goal?”

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? Adobe Suite

Last thing you do before leaving work? Review my tasks and what I need to finish before end of day.

What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal with it?The hunt. Though I love it, it never ends.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend? I’m a big fan of Culture Code, Power of Habit, and The Power of Moments.

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? EO (Entrepreneur’s Organization) has been a fantastic experience over the last decade. It’s like have a built-in brain trust of several hundred of people, that I can reach out to anytime.

Describe your workspace? Awesome!

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? When I was graduating high school, I was gifted some money as a graduation present and when my best friend’s dad handed it to me, he said “I gave you more than any of the other boys because I know you will do something with it and I look forward to seeing how your journey turns out.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans? I love giving back, and I encourage those around me to find ways to give back in a meaningful way.

Interested in becoming a “How I Work” spotlight? Contact Stephanie and she’ll be excited to come chat!

The “How I Work” series, most noteworthy done by Lifehacker, has been reproduced by multiple authors for good reason: people love to hear from successful and influential people and learn the intricacies of their day-to-day. It can be inspiring and motivating to hear about the best, and oftentimes most simplistic practices.  In our “How I Work” interview we refined our questions by adding a few of our own and spiced them up with inspiration from Lifehacker as well as thinkspace mentor Matt Heinz. Check out our full compilation of the “How I Work” interviews here.

In this edition you’ll be hearing from Kalle Ryynänen who has been working with OptoFidelity since 2007. When he started he was one of the first hires and has been able to be a part of many great teams and projects. Kalle claims that staying hands-on in projects has been the secret sauce as to why he still enjoys being a part of the great team of OptoFidelity.  Kalle has been a member at thinkspace Redmond for a year and a half.

Name: Kalle Ryynänen

Current Gig:Director of Accounts and Team Lead at OptoFidelity

One word that best describes how you work: Respond

Current mobile device: Google Pixel

Favorite verb: Do (things)

Grit Score: 3 (If you’re interested in learning your Grit Score take the test here.)

 

How do you recharge or take a break from work? Running before lunch.

What was your dream job/passion project as a kid? There have been many but I didn’t pick any of those.

Sunrise or sunset: Sunrise

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.

I have done most of my career in OptoFidelity. I started in Finland as a systems engineer at the beginning of 2007. It was just handful of employees then and now we have 150 + 8000 in our mother company. The startup growth has given loads of opportunity and has kept me in OptoFidelity. In 2016 I moved to US and Redmond, WA to establish OptoFidelity PNW operations.

Number of unread emails right now? 3

First thing you do when you come into work? Get a cup of coffee and I try not to read my emails before that.

What is your email management strategy? Don’t let the emails pile up. Process them as soon as possible.

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused? I don’t.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? I commute by running and then dedicate time between dinner and kids bedtime + weekends to family.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success? Late evening meetings with remote team.  

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? My camera.

Last thing you do before leaving work? Turn the lights off and lock the door.

Who are the people who help you get things done, and how do you rely on them? My boss and support team in Finland are amazing. We communicate often. 

What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal with it? Reporting. I deal with it by scheduling.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend? I recommend Audiobooks. That is my way of falling asleep at night. My recent favorites have been ultra-running related books and business memoirs. To mention one: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike.

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? My boss Lasse Lepistö has supported me and provided resources as needed.

What is your working process like? Continuous prioritization.

Describe your workspace? Light and bright. The reason for selecting thinkspace is the flexible/scalable office service. This is already our third office in thinkspace within 1.5yrs. We have been able to adjust our space based on our needs.

What’s your best shortcut or life hack? I would say that there are no shorts, but being open for new things might take you far fast (or not).

How do you keep track of what you have to do? Confluence task management.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? Smile more.

Interested in becoming a “How I Work” spotlight? Contact Stephanie and she’ll be excited to come chat!

The “How I Work” series, most noteworthy done by Lifehacker, has been reproduced by multiple authors for good reason: people love to hear from successful and influential people and learn the intricacies of their day-to-day. It can be inspiring and motivating to hear about the best, and oftentimes most simplistic practices.  In our “How I Work” interview we refined our questions by adding a few of our own and spiced them up with inspiration from Lifehacker as well as thinkspace mentor Matt Heinz. If you’re interested in checking out our previous “How I Work” interviews they get compiled here.

In this edition you’ll be hearing from Rick Miller from Richard Miller CPA, who has provided accounting and financial planning out of thinkspace Redmond for almost four years. Prior to working for himself,  Rick provided tax consulting and accounting services for small businesses, estates/trusts and individuals working as Sr. Tax Manager for Nordberg, Hammack, Kolp & CashPS.  When not with family, Rick can be seen on his bike cycling both for fun and to raise money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.  

Name: Rick Miller

Current Gig: Sole Owner of Richard Miller CPA

One word that best describes how you work: Holistic

Current mobile device: iPhone

Favorite verb: moving

Grit Score: 4.1 (If you’re interested in learning your Grit Score take the test here.)

How do you recharge or take a break from work? I ride my bike; an average ride will be about 30 miles.

What was your dream job/passion project as a kid? Geologist

Sunrise or sunset:  Sunrise

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today. I was a geology major at University of Idaho, and it just became clear it wasn’t. I looked at college as a trade school and knew I wanted a degree in something that you could actually get a job at. That’s how I got into accounting. I worked for an entrepreneur, an accountant by trade, and learned that I could take accounting and take it anywhere in business. I didn’t want to work  at a large firm and gravitated to small firm accounting and it fit me well. I was always a small business guy. Two years in Baker, Oregon turned into 10 years. We moved to Washington to be close to family and I ended up on my own since 2004.

Number of unread emails right now? 40 that are important, then probably a lot of junk.

First thing you do when you come into work? Look to see if anybody has sent an email overnight. I try to start each day with correspondence.

What is your email management strategy? I don’t have folders or anything like that. If I have an assistant one day I’d have each client with a folder. Currently, I pay the extra space from GoDaddy and sort junk and clear deleted emails. If I can deal with an email in it’s entirety, great. Otherwise I flag it and it becomes my task list. Whoever thought to create the “unread an email” option is a genius.

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused?  I have to embrace that there are days that there is more work that comes in that I can do, and that’s okay. I keep a list and prioritize it or ask who is the squeaky wheel that I don’t want to deal with if I wouldn’t get it done. I know afternoon isn’t the time to start a big project, so that’s when I can choose things that will be easy to get from A to Z on. I to to find a way to find momentum.

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? I’m still on that journey to tell you the truth. My clients all go through the same projection. They are grow, grow, grow, and I take on a lot of work. Then companies hit a second stage of how to make the same amount of money, but work less. The third phase is asking how much income do I actually need and how to cut back. Looking for that transition is stage four. I don’t know too many successful people that just stop.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success?  Yes, answering correspondences first thing in the morning usually; and working on simpler, less complex tasks during the day when there are many interruptions.

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without? My creative solutions cloud, which contains most of my tax and accounting related software programs.

Last thing you do before leaving work? Look at the next day’s schedule.

Who are the people who help you get things done, and how do you rely on them?  Mainly clients and their bookkeepers. Good communication as to what I need to do my work is critical.

What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal with it? Tackling something that I’m not 100% sure about, or that is new to me – which will involve a learning curve. I try to block out some uninterrupted time to deal with these.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend? I just finished Dan Abram’s book about Lincoln’s last trial (before being nominated in 1860 for President). I’m also about 1/2 way through H.G. Wells’ ‘The Time Machine.’

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? Todd Flynn, CPA CFP at Soundmark Wealth MGMT; Brian Bircher, CPA at Martin, Bircher, Thompson, CPAS; Richard Cash, CPA at Novogradoc CPAS; Doug Purd, CPA (RETIRED).

What is your working process like? I work alone; no employees on all planning and implementation projects. I heavily rely on client correspondences during an engagement. ‘ Out of dialogue comes truth.”

Describe your workspace?  Single office in Redmond; C-shaped desk; good sound system with computer for Pandora and Youtube Music while working.

What’s your best shortcut or life hack? Not needing to keep everything or scan every single piece of paper that comes my way. Get your work done: scan what’s truly important. 

How do you keep track of what you have to do?  To do lists, project tracking features in my tax software.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The only person who is ever going to make your life better is you. Like the Great Steve Harvey has said, “You gotta jump.”

Is there anything else you’d like to add that might be interesting to readers and fans? It’s cliche, but I do get my best ideas for helping clients or “thinking outside the box” when doing something totally different, like riding my bike or mowing the lawn. It’s important for me to get away from my work in order to do my best work.

Interested in becoming a “How I Work” spotlight? Contact Stephanie and she’ll be excited to come chat!

The “How I Work” series, most noteworthy done by Lifehacker, has been reproduced by multiple authors for good reason: people love to hear from successful and influential people and learn the intricacies of their day-to-day. It can be inspiring and motivating to hear about the best, and oftentimes most simplistic practices.  

Bi-monthly, you’ll hear from thinkspace’s Stephanie Slaton, Executive Assistant of thinkspace CEO Peter Chee, as she makes her way around the office getting to know you. In our “How I Work” series, thinkspace will feature members from Redmond and Seattle who are veteran entrepreneurs or startup techies, answering what will become our standard “How I Work” questions.  You’ll be able to catch up on previous featured stars here as well. This “How I Work” entry features Tiffany Larson of ZappBug, a thinkspace Seattle member.

Name:  Tiffany Larson

Current Gig:  I do both Marketing Management and Web Management at ZappBug

One word that best describes how you work:  Sprints

Current mobile device: IPhone X

Favorite verb: Strive

Grit Score: 3.70 (If you’re interested in learning your Grit Score take the test here)

 

How do you recharge or take a break from work? I take short walks

What was your dream job/passion project as a kid? I was obsessed with animals and wanted to be a Veterinarian. But as I got a little bit older there was a live stream on tv of archaeologists unearthing mummies in Egypt and after that, all I wanted to be was an archaeologist and go to Egypt.

Sunrise or sunset:  Sunset

Tell us a little about your background and how you got to where you are today.  I graduated from college with my degree in Visual Communications and Design. I graduated during the recession and getting a Graphic Design job was nearly impossible. I had an interest in web design and development but my school didn’t offer much at the time, so I taught myself the basics of front-end development. With the help of a little saying “Fake it until you make it,” I was able to get my first web development job for an eCommerce store. I moved on to a social media marketing company and from there to my current role at ZappBug.

Number of unread emails right now? Thirteen in my work inbox, 5000+ in my personal. I make sure I check for important emails and I just ignore the others.

First thing you do when you come into work? I have to get coffee. 

What is your email management strategy? I read what is important and then once every couple months I do a mass delete of all the spam and non-important emails .

How do you keep yourself calm and/or focused?   I make lists for everything. By breaking down larger projects into small tasks it helps me to stay focus and not overwhelmed. I feel a lot more accomplished when I can look at a project and see half the tasks checked off. 

What’s your perspective or approach to work/life balance? I think it is super important to have a good balance. If you work too hard for too long it can really drain you. I have worked for companies in the past that didn’t believe in the balance and it just burns you out. I am very lucky to currently work for a company that believes strongly in a work/life balance.

Are there any work rituals critical to your success? I work in sprints. I spend around two hours at a time getting lost in my work and then I get up and go for a short walk and repeat. 

What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?  PhotoShop, Everything Google (analytics, drive, etc…), and Asana.

Last thing you do before leaving work? I double check that I have completed my list for the day and if there is anything left I create a new one for the start of the next day.

What’s your least favorite thing to do, and how do you deal with it? I do not enjoy writing, especially large pieces of content which is needed for marketing and websites. Writing is not my strong suit, but obviously most jobs involve a lot of writing. I will usually quickly write something up and have someone copy or edit it, or I will just straight up ask or hire someone else to do it for me.

What are you currently reading, or what’s something you’d recommend? “Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders.” I have just started it. I am not sure if I would recommend it yet. 

Who are some mentors or influencers you wish to thank or acknowledge? I have a couple of college professors that really pushed me to do my best, Brian Kamp and Kristine Hwang.

Describe your workspace? Organized chaos; my desk is always a little messy.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? I mentioned earlier, “Fake it until you make it.” We are lucky enough to live in the day of the internet. It is so easy to google anything you don’t know.

Interested in becoming a “How I Work” spotlight? Contact Stephanie at stephanie@thinkspace.com and she’ll be excited to come chat!