On How I Work, we talk to some of the smartest people across various industries in Africa who share their stories, productivity hacks, and tools for getting things done. This week, we are going behind-the-scenes at Techpoint Africa with Ifeanyi Ndiomewese.
Ifeanyi cut his teeth as a startup reporter at Techpoint Africa, researching and providing insight on the industry and also heading several projects. He now leads Techpoint’s sister company Mediapoint, a visual content agency built to tell stories for brands. Here’s how he’s directing the growth of the company while working from home during a pandemic.
- Current role: Managing Director, Mediapoint.
- Location: Lagos, Nigeria.
- Current computer: HP ENVY x360
- Current mobile device: Samsung Galaxy A30s
- Describe what working in this pandemic is like, in one word: Permit me to use a few words: fun, challenging, and interesting.
Tell us briefly what you do and what your job entails.
As the managing director of Mediapoint, my job is to ensure that money comes into the company. I oversee Mediapoint’s operations and this involves coming up with strategies and working with the team to ensure that our daily activities go according to schedule.
The entire responsibility of the company is on my shoulders, and when things don’t go according to plan, fingers get pointed at me. So, it’s a position that comes with a lot of responsibility.
Tell us briefly how you started your career and how you got where you are today.
Because of my strong passion for Nollywood I started out writing stories that I intended to produce as short and long films. It was a very long journey and the process was quite interesting, and then life happened. I found myself writing about technology: startups stories and the like.
It has been a fascinating ride because I’ve spent four and a half of the last five years with the Techpoint Africa editorial newsroom constantly learning, relearning, and challenging myself to do more.
Now that I lead a team of creatives doing a lot of video production and content creation, I feel my passion for the arts, movies, and technology can be expressed by the convergence my new role offers.
Is this your first time fully working from home?
No, this is not my first time working from home. One good thing about working with Techpoint Africa is that there is a schedule that allows us to work from home.
Walk us through a typical workday since you started working from home.
I don’t plan my day; I believe there is a reason we have a mental check.
Before bed I remind myself of my unfinished tasks and I process them overnight when I am usually half-asleep. Consequently, I sleep for four or five hours each night because I’ve gotten used to subconsciously working while asleep.
Because I know what needs to be done and already have them in sequence, I wake up energised and start working immediately. Sometimes I go to the kitchen as early as 6 a.m. to make breakfast and then return to my bed, which is my workspace, to work.
When I start working, I reply to emails and have meetings with my team where we plan and schedule meetings with clients and people we plan to work with.
What apps, gadgets, or tools have you been relying on to work from home, and how do you use them?
I have several tools and gadgets that I use to work.
I particularly like Google Docs because it makes my life and my work easy. Since I write a lot, whether it’s a proposal or an email draft to my team or clients, I depend on Google Docs.
I’m not big on Slack and often use WhatsApp because most of our prospective clients are not on my Slack workspace.
I also use Google Mail for email communication.
And then I use Google Calendar to schedule meetings with colleagues and clients, create reminders, and send out invitations.
Having to work from home, how do you allocate time for work and other things?
Because I’m used to remote work I know when to switch between work and personal things.
I’m not going to pretend that it’s easy; it takes a lot of practice, self-awareness, and discipline to be able to keep up.
Remembering that I will do an assessment at the end of the month helps me to stay on track and dedicate time to ensure that I meet my responsibilities.
How do you avoid/cope with distractions?
I‘ve lived alone for three years so I don’t have people who distract me, and I don’t have friends who come around often. It’s just me in my apartment, working. I think this has been very good for me.
I don’t live in a noisy community with a lot of distractions and this is ideal for the type of life I want to live: a very quiet life.
How do you recharge or take a break?
I binge on Netflix a lot because it connects to one of the things I am passionate about: filmmaking and movies. I don’t watch movies like the average person. Funnily enough, when I watch a movie, I rewind some scenes six or seven times. You can’t watch a movie with me because I’m keen about learning new things and movies are one way to do that.
Also, the pandemic has made me realise that I have culinary skills, so I cook a lot.
Sometimes, I read an online article that is unrelated to work; and many times, I fall asleep while reading.
When I’m not doing any of these, I am on the phone with my bae catching up on each other’s day.
What’s your biggest challenge with working from home and how are you trying to solve it?
I will not say I have a challenge with working from home at the moment. Up until recently, my biggest challenge was power, but I solved that by buying an inverter. So the combination of power supply and my inverter gives me almost 24 hours of electricity daily, and that has made my life very easy.
Other than that, I enjoy working from home. I’m an advocate for remote work and I think 2020 has been a blessing in disguise because it made us see the impact of remote work where you don’t have to jump on the road every day facing traffic and all of that. So, I see more challenges with having to go to work every day than working from home.
What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to? What do you recommend?
Reading: How to Make it Big as a Consultant by Williams A. Cohen and Selling to Win by Richard Denny.
Watching: The New Legend of Monkey, Greenleaf, Project Power. I recommend Sons of the Caliphate and The Arbitration. (All on Netflix)
What piece of advice would you give someone trying to adapt to working from home?
First of all, find your rhythm because what works for one person may not work for the other. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to working from home.
Also, it’s important to understand the need for responsibility. People have to take responsibility for their work when working from home because when you don’t deliver, it tells on your accountability. Once you’re able to do that, it becomes easier.
And finally, always find time to rest in between.
Who would you like to see answer these questions?
Onyeka Akumah, Founder and CEO of Farmcrowdy; Kola Aina and Kayode Oyewole (both from Ventures Platform); Uka Eje, CEO of Thrive Agric and Yomi Kazeem, Reporter at Quartz Africa.