How I Get Things Done: Mike Enders

What’s your job title?


What title do you think really captures your roles and responsibilities?


What devices do you love to use?

No joke, I love my Leatherman Wave. I can’t tell you how many times I’ll use it during the course of a week. Okay, so it’s not an electronic device (I do enjoy my iPad and Nexus 7), but it’s like this awesome “get stuff done” helper! I’m convinced that if everyone wore a Leatherman multitool, the world would be a much more self-sufficient place.

What software tools do you love?

At the risk of sounding silly, I still get warm fuzzies every time that I get to work in Articulate Storyline. It’s crazy how much power that tool puts into the hands of people like me, with little or no background in coding or Flash. Yet at the same time, it’s helped me begin to understand those programming concepts that I never understood before. I also appreciate the flexibility of Camtasia and really enjoy using Slack.

What's your workspace setup like?

A triple display set atop a motorized adjustable-height desk from Ergo Depot. The desk is a heavy beast but is also able to support my boom-mounted Rode podcaster mic. I love being able to switch between sitting and standing positions throughout the day. I’m also a diehard mouse user and have an 18 x12-inch mousepad. If you’ve never tried a large gaming-style mousepad, you should. If you are a mouse user, here’s a test: note how many times in a busy day that you “pick up” your mouse to adjust it (left or right) because you’ve run out of room as you move your cursor across the screen. The large mousepad will allow you to easily move the mouse the length of two monitors and save you a lot of readjustment time!

How do you stay fresh and keep building your skills?

I have the attention span of a caffeinated fruit fly so I naturally seek out new [insert distraction here]. On the flip side, this does help me, as I tend to be attracted to new tools, new research articles, new techniques, new examples, etc. A great example of this is the weekly E-Learning Challenge we have here in the community. I love breaking down the examples that people submit every week. It’s fun to guess how they accomplished something, tinker with the idea, try to recreate it myself, and then open up their file to see how it was done. So many surprises!

How do you save time and boost your efficiency day to day?

I waste time to save time. Well, not exactly “waste,” but I do make myself step away from my work throughout the day. Primarily, I’ll make myself work out (a quick P90X3 session is great!) or take several opportunities to get outside for some fresh air. The science is clear that the brain needs downtime to marinate and coordinate all those funky bits of info bouncing around our heads. Our creativity and productivity demand it. It may seem paradoxical, but giving your brain downtime is one of the best things you can do for your productivity!

How do you manage your workflow? Do you have a project management tool you love?

I don’t have one single tool or method. I’ve always adopted and used tools based upon the project need. When I worked with clients and needed a deeply collaborative interface, I used Teamwork PM. For lightweight management, Trello is a great tool. For my personal day-to-day management, pen and paper are my preferred medium. I end each day by writing a list of reminders and my goals / to-do list for the following day. There’s something really tactile and pleasing about physically scratching off the items instead of simply clicking a checkbox.

What books or blogs have been influential to you?

The Magic of Conflict by Tom Crum. Sure, it might be a little too Eastern in thought for some, but it provides a wonderful approach for reframing the conflict in our lives. Rather than viewing conflict as a competition, Crum encourages you to view it as an opportunity for discovery and growth. The lessons in the book have served me well over the years.