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Liz Pearce of LiquidPLanner. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.
Liz Pearce of LiquidPlanner. Photo via Leslie McDaniel, Seattle Girls School.

LiquidPlanner CEO Liz Pearce is a self-described organizational freak. So, how does this busy mom — who took over the reins of the Seattle online project management startup in 2012 — get her job done?

Find out more in this edition of The Working Geek, our occasional feature on how hard-charging tech professionals do their jobs. Here’s more from Pearce, one of the finalists in the CEO of the Year category of the GeekWire Awards.

Location:  Eastlake Avenue, Seattle

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Liz Pearce relaxing while working

Computers: Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. I’m notorious for being tough on hardware; my team has actually threatened me with combat-grade machines.

Mobile devices: iPhone 5 and iPad mini

Favorite apps and software tools: My personal toolkit includes LiquidPlanner, SnagIt, TweetDeck, MS Office and Tableau Reader.

Describe your workspace:  I can work anywhere as long as I can use a mouse. At the office I switch back and forth between my sitting and standing desks. In between, I move around constantly – I can’t stay in one place for long.

What’s the best time-saver in your job? Saying no to things that aren’t mission critical.

How do you keep track of your busy life? For little things I need to do in the next 24 hours: paper and pencil. For bigger things I need to do in the next 12 weeks: in LiquidPlanner. For long-term projects or goals: in a journal.

What are you listening to?  My breath! I’ve recently started meditating.

Book on your nightstand:  Search Inside Yourself (see above). This book was written by a Google engineer – it teaches how to use meditation to increase focus and improve your emotional intelligence. Also, The Invisible Bridge. I like to have at least one piece of fiction and one business book going at the same time. 

Night owl or early riser? Describe your sleep patterns:  In the middle. After putting the kids to bed around 8, I work until 11 and sleep until 6:30.

Best advice: Feed the eagles, starve the turkeys.

searchinsideyourselfWhere do you get your best ideas? The 15 minutes of peace and quiet I have in the mornings to get ready after the kids leave for school. I dream up ways to solve problems under the blow dryer.

Stress reliever: I’m most stressed when I have a big project hanging over my head or a painful decision to make. The only way to get rid of the stress is to do the work or make the decision. Then, I have a dance party!

First Job:  Print shop assistant.

How do you unplug? Reading a good book or watching TV, drinking wine, and eating popcorn.

What would you be doing if you weren’t at your current company? Starting a new company.

Are you more tortoise or hare?  Hare. I talk fast, eat fast, move fast, and drive fast. I’m working on slowing down (at least the eating and driving!)

How do you run meetings? I like to keep scheduled meetings small, short and to the point. When we have all-hands or large group meetings, I try to make them entertaining so people actually want to be there.

Everyday work uniform?  Slacks or jeans, a blouse, and low heels. Walking up the five flights of stairs to our office is my main form of exercise, so I’ve cut back on high heels.

Daily reads?  The comment stream in our internal LiquidPlanner workspace, Twitter, Facebook, GeekWire, TechCrunch, CNN.

Whose work style would you want to learn more about:  Christian Chabot, CEO of Tableau Software. Geocaching founder Jeremy Irish; CreativeLive co-founder Chase Jarvis and HasOffers CEO Peter Hamilton.

The Working Geek is an occasional feature on GeekWire offering tips, tricks and insights into how busy tech professionals get work done. 

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