Laurens Bonnema is an Agile Management Consultant with Xebia and an expert in sustainably aligning business and IT to improve the results of IT projects. He also helps people (re)learn how to visualize their ideas through sketchnoting, graphic recording, and videoscribing so they can communicate those ideas more effectively, help each other to solve problems, and have lots of fun.
For the past 17 years, Laurens has served in almost every role in IT. Even Project Manager! More about Laurens’ work at Xebia can be found here. Want to know more about sketch-noting, graphic recording, and videoscribing? Hop on over to www.bonnema.ink.
When do you wake up every day? What’s your alarm set to?
My alarm is set to 5:55. Most of the time, that’s also when I wake up.
Tea or Coffee?
Coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon.
Any rituals to set the tone for the day in the morning?
After I wake up, I drink a glass of water and meditate for 10 minutes. When time permits, I read a few newspapers on my iPhone before getting out of bed. If not, I hit the shower, get dressed and go downstairs to grab some breakfast. Over breakfast, I look at my calendar to get a feel for the day, and check my Sprint Backlog to select the three most important things I want to get done today.
When do you feel most productive?
I feel most productive in the morning. That’s when I get most of my work done. After 12:00, my energy tapers off. I usually experience a small burst of residual productivity around 21:00. But between 12:00 and 21:00, I’m mostly on autopilot.
Where do you work?
Work is where the client is. For me, that’s usually in or near one of the main cities in The Netherlands: Rotterdam, Amsterdam, and Utrecht. But I’ve done assignments in Spain, France, Italy, Turkey, and India as well.
Three must have items on your desk
If I could pick only three items to have on my desk, it would be my Leuchtturm1917 Whitelines Link notebook, Montblanc Meisterstück LeGrand fountain pen, and Apple Macbook Pro.
What do you listen to while working?
To concentrate on work, I listen to classical music. Mostly Mozart. When I need less focus, I switch to podcasts. At the moment, the Tough Girl Podcast by Sarah Williams is my favorite.
What are you reading currently?
I’ve just finished “Your Press Release is Breaking my Heart” by Janet Murray and am currently reading “Verbaal Meesterschap (Verbal Mastery)” by Remco Claassen. Remco is one of the most celebrated public speakers in The Netherlands. Next up is “Ego is the Enemy” by Ryan Holiday.
How do you organize?
I use Scrum to stay organized and productive. I have a Product Backlog spread out over several Trello boards. Every two weeks, I select items from those boards and put them in Todoist. That’s my Sprint Backlog. Every day, I select the three most important items to get done from Todoist. Some days I do more, almost never less. I don’t distinguish between personal and client items. When I did, the personal items never seemed to get done. Now, I have a nice work-life-swirl going that suits me much better than work-life-balance.
Any hacks you prefer for work?
Learn something new! And start teaching it to others as soon as you’re somewhat competent. It will keep you engaged, fresh, and enthusiastic. That translates to all the other stuff you do. Even the stuff you don’t like as much.
What are your favorite gadgets?
At the moment, my favorite gadget is my iPad Pro. I love it! It’s a wonderful drawing tool that also functions as a powerful tablet. Highly recommended for anyone getting into digital drawing!
What apps can you not live without?
It’s a bit of a list I’m afraid, but I’ll try to keep it brief and limit myself to the eleven iPhone/iPad apps I rely on the most that aren’t time-wasters: Mail, Trello, Todoist, Calendar, Fantastical, Buffer, Overcast, OPTIMIZE, Headspace, Adobe Draw, and Concepts.
Any new addition to your routines?
The newest addition to my routine is guided meditation with Headspace. I’ve been meditating for years without guidance, and I love the way Headspace makes it easy to stay focussed. I’m still a bit on the fence about it though. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll discover I prefer unguided meditation after all.
Also, I’m trying to make habits of exercise and writing. Mostly failing at that so far. So tomorrow I’ll try again!
How do you recharge?
Reading. Nothing gets me relaxed faster than reading a great novel. That, and sleep of course.
(Pic courtesy: Laurens Bonnema)