How I Get Things Done: Nicola Appel

What’s your job title?

I am an International Community Manager. My job is to help people interested in e-learning get connected with the E-Learning Heroes community by organizing local community events, supporting user meetings, and speaking at industry events. I also write articles for the German Articulate blog E-Learning Einfach Gemacht and the E-Learning Heroes community.

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

E-Learning Cheerleader (not instead of, but in addition to, my existing title!). ;) E-learning is my passion, and I like to show people all the great solutions and resources you can find in the E-Learning Heroes community. In addition, I love working with other e-learning professionals on ways to constantly improve e-learning to get the best results for our learners.

What's your workspace setup like?

I love the flexibility of being able to work anywhere I like—even when I travel! But most of the time I either work from home (switching between living room, kitchen, and office) or at a local coffee shop. I simply love the buzz around me there.


What is your creative or design philosophy?

I tend to find the most inspiration in unusual places. There are a lot of very creative magazines (print or online) out there that don’t necessarily have to do with design but use interesting layouts and concepts. So sitting at the hair stylist or dentist’s waiting room can actually be very productive. Browsing through Pinterest is also eye candy for me. And last but not least: traveling and exposure to different places, sceneries, and cultures is a source of inspiration I don’t want to miss.

How do you stay fresh and keep building your skills?

Talking to people, hearing about their experiences and ideas, and brainstorming with them is another thing that inspires my creativity and improves my skills. I’m lucky to have had some great mentors in the past whom I could bug with all my questions. So, my advice is to ask questions whenever you can. The only “dumb” questions are the ones you don’t ask!

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

I still use paper and pen and love making to-do lists, either in the evening as the last task of the day or in the morning before I start my day.

Just recently, my dear colleague Kelly Meeker introduced me to Evernote and I’m currently giving it a try. I love how I can combine lists, bookmarks, and notes in one place and even save articles from a website to read later offline. Everything that I had in different places before is now in one spot, and I really dig that!