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Behind The Screen: Sabrina DeLay from HUD

At GovLoop, we’re always looking for tips and tricks to enhance productivity at the office. However, time management and career learning and development don’t have to be as dry and boring as they sound.

For inspiration, we’re reaching out to GovLoop audience members, asking them to give us a run-down of their daily habits and tips to make work-life a bit more pleasantly productive. For our second installment of this new series, “Behind the Screen,” we reached out to former Featured Blogger Sabrina DeLay.

Sabrina at desk

Basic bio info:
• Current Position: Asset Resolution Specialist, risk mitigation through financial and risk analysis at U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
• Location: Fort Worth, TX
• One word that best describes how you work: Diligently

What mobile apps can’t you live without?
Keynote
o Why it’s good: Lets you present and create stunning presentations on mobile devices and tablets.
Instapaper
o Why I love it: If you’re like me you come across content that you want to read, but want to save it for later. This app does just that, and even better it will recall the material without an internet connection. Great for those travel trips to boonies.
30/30
o Why you need this: We’ve all got those days (weeks) where there are countless tasks on our to do list, including those projects we can’t quite motivate ourselves to tackle. This app assists you in scheduling your to do list. You set up a list of tasks, and a length of time for each of them. When you start the timer, it will tell you when to move on to the next task. This has been particularly helpful in starting tasks I’ve kept putting off and in keeping me from getting hyper-focused on one task. This app has been most beneficial to me because it reminds me to take time for myself, to get up and move away from my desk and to take my 3 minutes and 14 seconds a day to visualize.

Sabrina desk setupWhat does your workplace look like?
• It’s messy, until I get to a Friday where I have a moment to put everything back in its place and start the organized chaos all over again. I also always have plants. Right now I have an orchid, and ponytail tree, heather plant and ivy. My cubicle walls also have motivational quotes and a vision board for my career.

What is your best time-saving shortcut?
• Give yourself the first five minutes or so when you get to work. Don’t jump right in the the emails. Fix your coffee, take time to organize your thoughts and priorities (excellent time to use the 30/30 app), say hello and good morning to your coworkers and then take a deep breath and start your day.

What’s your favorite non-electronic device/gadget for work?
• Thank you notes. I keep a stash in my desk drawer. I take the time to handwrite notes to colleagues who I see demonstrate courage in the office, go above and beyond or just need a little encouragement. These notes are a great way that anyone can lead from the bottom, the middle and the top. It’s a way of acknowledging and encouraging the behavior you appreciate and want to see if your office environment.

What’s your favorite way to take a break during the day?
• Now that spring is here, this is totally happening more because my favorite break in the day is to go outside, feel the sun on my face, get some fresh air and walk. It’s the ultimate refreshment to the artificial light and stuff cubicle environment.

What do you listen to while you commute?
• In the mornings, I listen to the Kidd Kraddick Morning Show. I grew up listening to this show as a Dallas native. I love the light-heartedness of the show and it catches me up on all the pop-culture and Hollywood gossip. In my evening commute, I switch over to NPR. I drive a lot more at night going between work, coaching and home so I get a combination of news and programming.

What is your favorite federal news source?
• I enjoy GovLoops Daily Awesome, GovExec Today and Excellence in Government. I have email subscriptions and while I don’t get to read as many of them as I’ld like to, I do enjoy browsing the headlines.

Whom do you admire in the government?
• I met and worked with a young Foreign Service officer, Tara Foley, 5 years ago in Geneva, Switzerland. She was an inspiration from the moment I met her and has continued to be a guiding light for my career aspirations. Ms. Foley’s career modeled for me that a woman in government could be classy, intelligent and creative, respected for her hard work and admired for the grace she demonstrates in her accomplishments. She reflected back to me a belief that the only glass ceiling holding us back is the one we place on ourselves.

What are you currently reading?
Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy: A Memoir. Memoirs are my favorite things to read. I’m enjoying this “inside the room” narrative from Ambassador Christopher Hill. Hill takes you along his story, through adventure and tragedy providing insights not only to the policy and to the strategy of negotiations, but to the portraits of the people, those negotiations and deals included. Hill writes bluntly and without apology about the bureaucratic warfare in DC. Anyone interested in international negotiations, foreign policy, the Foreign Service or the dedication of one great civil servant should enjoy this read.

What’s one word your coworkers would use to describe you?
• Innovative. I felt awkward answering this question on my own because I wanted to know if how I wanted to people to see me, was indeed how they saw me. So I put it out to my co-workers and I must say their responses made me feel awesome. I recommend using this question as an ice-breaker at your next meeting. Give everyone stick-notes and pen and have people write down one word to describe each person. Each person leaves with a feel good stack of sticky notes listing the talents other’s see in them. Here’s my list: visionary, initiator, inspiring, progressive, thoughtful, sincere, curious, detailed, analytical, intelligent, people-orientated, management material.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
• Know I may have fought this advice for a bit, but it really is solid advice that I have taken to heart and is serving me well, “Bloom where you are planted.” Meaning, you may not necessarily be where you want to be at the moment, but take it as an opportunity to develop yourself. Don’t let circumstance dampen your ability to produce, shine, grow – just be you and bloom. Thanks to Charles Eldridge for sharing this advice.

What do you enjoy most about your job?
• My favorite aspect of my job is the opportunities where I can help others to do their job better.

Do you think you have some awesome work tips and productivity ideas that you want to share with the GovLoop community in this feature? Email [email protected] to set up an interview!

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Tunde Wang

Thanks for sharing your favorite apps–I can’t wait to try out 30/30. I can identify with so much of what you said: take a few minutes at the start of the day to get organized, take a walk outside during break, say/write Thank You notes to colleagues. I know a few people who do this via email and copy the supervisor. Do you have any thoughts on the pros/cons of copying the recipient’s boss?

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