Mich Atagana is a storyteller at heart. After over three years as the Founding Editor of Memeburn, a South African-based tech news website, she moved to Google in 2014.
She has since continued to tell stories as the Head of Communications and Public Affairs for Google South Africa. On this week’s How I Work, she walks us through her work routines and how she stays productive.
Current role: Communications and Public Affairs, Google South Africa
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
Current computer: MacBook Pro 13″
Current mobile device: Pixel 3
Describe how you work in one word: Relentlessly
Tell us briefly about how you started your career and how you got where you are today
I always wanted to be a journalist. I am a writer and stories are my art. I started lecturing while pursuing my master’s degree, and when that was done, I began working for a startup — I enjoyed it so much I became obsessed with startups. I always think of life as a series of adventures and I like to be on the lookout for the next adventure.
Walk us through a recent workday
My days are different, it all depends on what I have planned. My day began with a 7 a.m. meeting with some partners, followed by email catch up. After that, there was a team meeting to discuss what was happening with various teams. Then I had some reading time to see what people were saying about Google and other tech companies in the press. I gradually worked my way through my to-do list. I either had lunch at my desk or forgot to do so. There were some more meetings I had to attend and then because it was a Monday, I went to do some Yoga at 6 p.m. After that, I caught up on my emails again then I did some more work. Finally, just like every other night, I tried to read before I went to sleep.
What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
Uber, Keep, YouTube Music, and WhatsApp. My Telescope might be the single most important thing in my life.
What’s your favourite shortcut or hack?
Gmail’s shortcut to compose mail – C
What tasks do you dislike but still have to do?
Adulting. I am really organised at work though I suck at it in my personal life. I would outsource my life admin if I could – paying the bills, going to the doctor, and even feeding myself.
How do you keep track of what you have to do?
I use Google Keep to track most of my to-do list items, and I have Post-it notes everywhere, but mostly I use Keep. I write things down and Keep allows me to manage what I need to do.
How do you recharge or take a break?
What is this break thing you speak of? I would like to say I have figured this out. I used to work for a startup and I have been bad at taking breaks. Though I am getting better, I obsessively check work emails; I am constantly working. I take these one-day breaks where I just do nothing, and I love playing video games and reading so I do those often.
What do you enjoy or spend time doing besides work?
Writing, travelling, reading, and meditating.
What are you currently reading, watching or listening to, or what do you recommend?
I just finished Bad Blood — a good book for a startup fiend — and I loved it. I also read Matthew Buckland’s book ‘So You Want to Build a Startup.’ I am currently rewatching Parks and Recreation, while watching the ongoing Rick and Morty, and Explained.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
“Monumental f***-ups happen, you deal with it, take the heat and get up. Because tomorrow is another day.”
What’s a problem you’re still trying to solve?
Simplifying travel within Africa.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?
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I write about media, technology and internet culture. Reach me on Twitter @okikesam