How I Get Things Done: Allison LaMotte
What’s your job title?
My official title is International Community Manager. I think that it’s a pretty accurate description of what I do since all my responsibilities are community-centric and involve both the E-Learning Heroes Community and Articulate’s new French blog “Les Essentiels du E-Learning.” My role involves writing blog articles, creating downloads, helping out community members, planning events, and more.
What software tools do you love?
This is going to sound really cliché but it’s true: I love Articulate Storyline! I was a Storyline lover prior to coming on board at Articulate and I still am. I could (and do!) spend hours playing around in there. It just never gets old since the possibilities are endless.
I am also a huge proponent of Trello for keeping track of things I want or need to do in my professional and personal life. To-do lists with more to-do lists inside? Yes, please! Not to mention that when you check the box next to an item it actually crosses it out. Almost as satisfying as crossing it off on a piece of paper. Almost.
What's your workspace setup like?
One of the great things about Articulate is that we are a fully distributed company, meaning there is no office and we can basically work from anywhere! On my lazy days (and especially in the cold winter months), I am incredibly grateful that my commute to work is nonexistent. But when it’s nice out or I feel like being social, I like to set up shop in a local coffee shop. Here is a snapshot of my “mobile office”:
What is your creative or design philosophy?
I am a people person, so I glean a lot of my energy and inspiration from social interactions. When I’m feeling uninspired, I tend to instigate informal brainstorming sessions with my co-workers via our internal chat application, Slack. I find that bouncing my ideas off of other people is just what it takes to take them to the next level.
How do you stay fresh and keep building your skills?
I’m fortunate because my job basically forces me to stay fresh and build my skills. When I write an article, I start by doing research to see what other people are saying about that topic. When I do a download, it gives me a chance to get back into the Articulate tools and see what I can do. Spending as much time as I do surrounded (virtually) by so many talented e-learning professionals on E-Learning Heroes is another thing that keeps me on my toes.
How do you avoid burnout?
I feel incredibly lucky because my job has so many different facets that I really don’t have time to get sick of any one thing. Also, for the most part, aside from tradeshows and other events I can organize my time however I want; so, if I am not feeling inspired to write an article, I can create a download, interact with members of the community, or start planning my next event. Having amazing co-workers and community members to inspire me is also a great burnout deterrent!
How do you save time and boost your efficiency day to day?
I find that I am more productive and creative in the morning, so I plan my schedule so that I spend my mornings doing things like writing blog articles and creating downloads, and in the afternoon I try to be more actively involved in discussions and do other miscellaneous tasks. If I feel like I’m not being very effective, I try to step away from my desk and take a tea or coffee break.
What books or blogs have been influential to you?
My response here is going to be totally unoriginal yet entirely true, so get ready: the blog that has influenced me the most from a professional standpoint is Tom Kuhlmann’s The Rapid E-Learning Blog. I am also inspired on a daily basis by the articles that my fellow Community Managers write both on E-Learning Heroes and on their personal (though still e-learning-related) blogs. What an honor to work with such smart and talented e-learning professionals!
In terms of books that have influenced me on a personal level, there is one that really sticks out to me: The Papalagi. I have always been passionate about language and culture, so this book was extremely interesting to me, as it was written by a man from the Tiavea tribe about the people who came to colonize his homeland. I find it fascinating to hear him talk about concepts that, for most of us, are so much a part of daily life that we never even think about them, such as time, school, apartments, etc. I highly recommend it to any language and culture geeks out there or really just anyone that is curious to look at life from a completely different perspective.
What kinds of tasks do you love to do? What gets you excited to sit down at your desk?
I love anything that allows me to get creative and think outside the box. One of my favorite things to do is create downloads for the community since I get to try and push the Articulate tools to the limit, come up with new interactions, and play around with graphic design elements.
What do you like to do least? How do you keep yourself motivated to do that stuff?
I was sitting here trying to think of something that I don’t like to do, and I wasn’t able to come up with anything. Guess that’s what happens when you love your job!
Well, enough about me! Tell me about you. How do you stay fresh and keep building your skills? What kinds of tasks do you love to do? Leave a comment below and share your story.
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