Tim Cigelske, on How to Keep Track of Interns and Think Bigger

As the director of social media at Marquette University, beer expert, running coach, writer, husband and father, Tim Cigelske inhabits many roles, and he’s accordingly found multiple uses for iDoneThis in his personal and professional lives. While he recently started using iDoneThis with his summer interns, Tim has been a member for over a year, with a personal account for his freelance work and a team account with his wife, Jess.

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Along with Google Calendar, the couple uses iDoneThis to keep track of their household, their three-year-old daughter and her dance classes, and what’s going on in their lives. “There’s a lot going on outside of work so this helps keep tabs,” Tim says. And for his freelancing, he uses iDoneThis as a handy reminder system, recording published links, and using his iDoneThis emails to prompt him the next day or next week to promote his work on social media.

Though summer is traditionally a quiet time on campus, the intern team is in full force, having grown from one regular contributor to five, and hard at work on the school’s manifold social media channels and longer-term projects. “It’s the same thing, lots of social media promotion,” so Tim decided to bring in iDoneThis as a tool to keep track of what the interns get done, leave feedback and notes, provide reminders to publicize content, and show his team the overall path of their work from plan to production to promotion.

One of the things that’s so awesome about iDoneThis is the simplicity. You don’t have to learn a new skill, you don’t have to download anything, you just have to know how to email,” Tim remarks. Yet he was still surprised when he sent his new team invites for iDoneThis, and “they got it right away! Before I even instructed what to do, I started getting emails saying what they’d done.”

Still, Tim realizes that college students tend to have a certain comfort-level with new tools. “There’s just a lot of openness to trying new things in that age group,” he observes. “We actually use a Facebook Group to discuss ideas and get to know each other on a more personal level.”

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The interns are all on different schedules from each other and from Tim, another challenge that the iDoneThis/Facebook combination addresses. “It’ll change again in the fall. It’s not your traditional nine to five, and it’s another reason why this helps. They post what they’re doing when it’s convenient for them, and I can start my day with an overview of all that’s going on.”

While regularly dealing with constant streams of social media, Tim is a firm believer in setting up systems to take some of the cognitive load off your mind. “We always think willpower is what’s going to solve our problems and that’s usually not the case, or ever the case,” says the man who was on a daily run-streak of 973 when we spoke. Establishing the framework of “I’m going to run today” as a mental given helps make it happen. “A lot of people might think that that’s difficult. I mean, it’s not necessarily easy but it takes a lot of the thought process out of exercise.”

Tim — who has also eaten the same thing for lunch, by and large, for the past five years (cold meat and cheese sandwiches, in case you’re interested) — explains why such systems are so important:  “It makes it easier to not have to think too much about unnecessary decisions and leaves more bandwidth for decisions that are more complicated.”

“That’s why iDoneThis is helpful,” he continues. “I’m going to get that daily digest of everything that’s going on as opposed to me having to go to Facebook or Twitter or Tumblr or Pinterest to see what’s new. This gives me a system that I can rely on to make my life easier. It helps you free up that space for bigger decisions and bigger thoughts.”

We’re happy that we’re helping to make room for Tim and his Marquette University interns to do great work and think great thoughts!