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Genia Trofimova, CEO at Introwise

Genia Trofimova is the co-founder and CEO at Introwise, a business platform that is making it easy for everyday experts to offer coaching and advice online. Genia recently shared some of the daily habits she uses to keep her sharp, and, some of the ones that aren't so easy to follow, but, are crucial keys to success that she incorporates into her routine.👇

What does a typical workday look like for you

As we are an early-stage startup, it’s hard to draw a typical workday. Our team is remote-first and spans several time zones. Thus, when I wake up, I check if there are any urgent things to react to and how many new customers signed up while I was sleeping.

I usually take a longer break around lunch, as I work during the evening. At 18:00 my time we have a regular team standup meeting and 3-4 more calls I have with investors, mentors, clients, the team, etc. I finish around 9 or 10 pm.

Describe the layout and feel of your personal workspace

I use my laptop and a monitor. I need to have a large desk, as to my left I always have a water decanter, a glass for water, a teapot of hot tea and a teacup ☕.

To my right, I need space for my large notebook where I take notes or consolidate thoughts on paper.

Are there any routines or rituals that are non-negotiables for you and help you maintain a good work/life balance?

I believe that people should only advise things that they are doing themselves, and currently, I am not a great example of someone with a good work/life balance.

Good sleep is non-negotiable, but it’s easier said than done.

What I want to do more - is allow myself to learn things outside of work. For example, I love languages. But this is not something that will help grow our business. But, when I allowed myself to learn at least 30 minutes of a new language per day, my brain started to work on work-related topics better.

I also try to allow myself one day of the weekend to be a “weekend”. It’s usually Saturday. Some days I may peek at work things during the day, but not enough to allow the brain to wonder. So, at all times when it’s possible, I love to take one day off on Saturdays and go hiking, binge-watch Netflix, or read a book.

What are some mistakes you've made in your career that others could learn from?

Don’t fall in love with your idea. At the same time, don’t take advice as a fact. Your job is to take all the great advice from great people and make the best decisions for your company/stage. Everyone has different experiences, different stages and different environments.

What's one of the #1 struggles you've needed to overcome when managing a [distributed/remote/hybrid] team?

🕑 Time zones 🕚 I absolutely love working with my co-founder in the same time zone, but most of the time there is a 10 hour difference between us. I am a morning person, but we often need to make important decisions or have impactful discussions during my late evening, and this affects my quality of sleep. However, we manage to make it work, and I am so fortunate to have Denis Anisimov as my co-founder and our CTO.

I also often worry for my team, as I don’t want them to have burnout. With people working in different time zones, there is FOMO and things are boiling 24/7. It’s easy to keep checking Slack for all the amazing news and achievements, and every person should take care of their work/life balance themselves. I can’t forbid them to work, but I do want them to sleep well and be happy.

Which tools, habits, beliefs do you live and work by that allow you to overcome the struggles of working remotely?

Freedom - is one of the most important things in life for me. And for people who work at Introwise, too. Freedom of working when it best fits you, freedom of living where you want, or being a digital nomad. Freedom of concentrating on work when you need it, without people coming to talk to you at your desk all the time. Freedom of working with amazing people, no matter where they are located. And this freedom and what it gives us is more important than the obstacles we need to overcome.

How do you limit distractions while working from home? And, which personal productivity hacks do you follow religiously?

I set up my working environment in a way that I don’t have many distractions. Myself and a hectic amount of tasks (read: multitasking) is my main destruction from focusing. What often helps is to block times during the day where I know my brain is the most productive and creative - and make sure I don’t have any meetings or personal appointments during that time.

Also, I am lucky I have my Introwise page. All my life I have always given back to my community and often volunteer or do paid workshops. After we went through Techstars Seattle in 2020, things changed and I simply didn’t have time to teach as much as before. With my Introwise page though, I can still give back. People can quickly book paid time with me or sometimes I conduct very cheap group sessions and masterminds for women in tech or entrepreneurship. Introwise automatically allows people to book with me when I have availability, so I don’t have to waste time emailing back and forth, and it syncs with my calendar.

Is there one particular podcast or youtube channel that you can't stop listening to?

I am rather a book person. I love my Scribd and the audiobooks on it. I listen to books every time I walk. I recently started to listen to a podcast from my friend: it’s in Russian and it’s called “Синдром Льва Толстого”. There are so many great podcasts that I always have wanted to listen to, but they are usually long. This one - is only 10 minutes long, launches every Monday, and two friends there discuss everything they have learned during the last week. Given that they study at Stanford, run startups, and have families - this podcast is just a huge learning + distraction opportunity 😃

If you could be doing anything else than what you're doing, what would it be?

I need to focus more. I’ve always been a master of time management, even before it was popular. But being a CEO of an early stage startup just laughs at all my task tracking and weekly planning. I need to find a way to hack it to see that I am productive.

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We'd like to thank Genia Trofimova, for sharing so openly her remote working success tips. If you'd like us to feature you and your team, feel free to reach out by leaving a comment on the post below. And, if you'd like to improve the way your team works remotely, start by learning how to master the way you communicate asynchronously.