How I Work: Jenna Movsowitz, Managing Editor - Startup CPG

Haily Marzullo is the founder of Humankind, a gender-inclusive apparel brand. She also previously consulted for brands like Kylie Cosmetics and Buck Mason.

Published on
25 May

What mental models do you rely on to help prioritize and boost productivity?

Trying my absolute hardest to single-task. I tend to default to multitasking, so I have made it my mission to focus on the one task in front of me and absolutely nothing else. I usually implement this with time-blocking and love using Pomodoro or the app Groove to set clear time limits on my work.

How do you achieve a state of mental flow or deep-work?

I (literally) throw my phone across the room, put my computer on Do Not Disturb mode, and make the task I’m working on full screen. I sometimes listen to music to help me get in the “zone” too – huge fan of the Spotify playlist “Big Desk Energy” or the Interstellar movie soundtrack (seriously).

How do you structure your day to set yourself up for success?

First, I always start out with an early workout – it helps me get out those energetic jitters before sitting down. I know I’m most productive in the morning, so I usually avoid scheduling meetings before noon. Because I always hit a 3-4 PM slump, I usually let myself take a break around this time, and pick back up work after, knowing I may work late but will be more productive.

What’s the biggest obstacle to your productivity on a day-to-day basis?

Things popping up on my screen. If I am working on one project and get an email or Slack about something else, I’ll almost always respond to that instead of continuing to work through it.

What are the tools or resources in your productivity stack that moved your business forward in the past year? What impact did those tools have?

Notion! It’s been so helpful to dump all of my tasks in one place and be able to organize them in a way that makes the most sense to me. I also love time blocking to make sure I’m giving dedicated time to bigger projects, not just immediate to-dos.

What causes you to procrastinate? How do you push past this?

Projects without a concrete deadline. I tend to work best under pressure, and leave things untouched until pressure arrives. I push past this by finding the thing that excites me most about the project and starting with that first; once I get the momentum, it’s hard to stop.

How do you create balance between work and personal life in a remote environment?

I am (mostly) firm about not working on weekends. We can always get ahead on certain tasks if we spare weekend time, but I don’t really think of that as getting ahead in a more holistic sense. For me, the social connections and experiences I have during the weekend are their own form of capital for my business, and I am constantly reminding myself of that.

What challenges set you back from managing stress?

Getting too “in the weeds” of my own work. When I don’t take the time to zoom out and remind myself that the world is much larger than the work I do, I can get really caught up in a stress spiral. That’s why I love keeping people around who do completely different work than I do, and why I love taking long walks with plenty of thoughtful observation.

What hobbies or activities outside of work keep you inspired and energized?

Though I write for a living, I also creatively write which keeps me excited about the craft. I also love working out (especially weight lifting and F45), cooking delicious meals, and going down deep holes of Spotify music discovery.

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