Born and raised in the Midwest, Jesse Virgil has found himself living in a perfectly aligned row of states (Iowa, Illinois, Ohio then Indiana). He recently married the love of his life in May, and is expecting twins early next year. Jesse is a Media Developer for Stericycle, inc., which specializes in medical and hazardous waste management, and brand protection services. In his interview he shares his process for getting things done.
What do you do?
I’m a Media Developer for Stericycle, inc., which specializes in medical and hazardous waste management, and brand protection services. Most of my work centers around the creation of brand collateral, such as signage, banners, slicks, brochures, etc., as well as designing logos for internal and external campaigns. Another major aspect of my job is the creation of presentations, which are used by our executives and sales team to present internally and to customers (both current and potential). I also produce videos on occasion.
How do you stay up to date with trends in your industry/field?
I use a combination of RSS feeds and Twitter to stay informed on design trends, as well as dabble in various books when time permits.
Best way to stay on top of email?
I’m a bit obsessive about not having new messages in my inbox. While others may not want to break away from their task when a new message pops up, I check it almost immediately. If an email doesn’t require me to follow-up, but is project specific, I file it away in the project’s folder (I make a folder for each project). If I do need to respond, but not immediately, I flag it for a response date and keep it in my inbox so that it stays top of mind.
Top five applications or programs?
Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Final Cut Pro and PowerPoint.
What is your best time-saving trick?
I work with a lot of files, so I find that file organization is a very important practice. It takes a good deal of time and thought to initially organize files in a structure that’s best suited for you and your team, but knowing exactly where a particular photo or document is located saves you from spending 5-10 minutes frantically searching.
One non-tech thing you can't live without?
In terms of work, having a pad and pen is an invaluable tool. I prefer taking notes in Evernote because it’s a great deal more flexible, but on occasion it’s faster and easier to do it the old fashion way. In addition, paper and a pen are fantastic when I need to sketch a concept during meetings.
What does your workspace look like?
I split my work between a Windows laptop and iMac. I connect my laptop to a good size monitor because I like working on big screens. As much as possible, I like to eliminate any unnecessary clutter from my desk; preferring to keep items in drawers that I don’t need on a regular basis.
Structure of your typical day? How do you divide your time?
My first task of the day is catching up on email, and following up on as many as I can. Afterward, I look over my project management tools (Trello and TeamGantt) to verify what I need to shift my focus on. Once I’ve verified the day’s tasks, I dive in on the first project. I routinely get a few minor requests each day, so I find myself frequently switching from task to task. If the request takes less than five minutes to complete, I do it immediately. Otherwise, I run it by my supervisor and the request is added to my list of projects.
When I’m not working on a project, I’m in meetings. These can range from reviewing work on a project, discussing new projects, or looking over my current project load and providing an update on my progress.
What is the greatest piece of career advice/wisdom you've ever received?
No one has said this to me directly, but I’ve learned the importance of finding the humor in stressful situations. I’ve worked on several projects over the course of my career that were both challenging and stressful. Choosing to laugh in moments like this, instead of letting it deflate me, has made me a great deal happier and helped curb burning out.
Who would you like to see featured on Ways We Work?
Christine Chan, Hosam Hassan, Sandro Pennisi, Paula DuPont and Pedro Lobo.