Hey! My name’s Brenna Loury, and I’m the Head of Marketing at Doist, the fully remote company behind Todoist (a task management app) and Twist (a team communication app for remote teams). I’ve been working remotely with Doist since 2012 and, as the first marketing hire, have worn many different hats along the way!
Seattle, Washington, USA
Head of Marketing at Doist by day, mom to one daughter (and a baby on the way) by night!
Current Computer, Mobile, etc?
- 2015 Macbook Pro (fingers crossed this computer will live forever!)
- Apple Magic Keyboard with Numeric Keypad
- iPhone 11 Pro
Where can we follow you on the Internet?
Describe how you work in 10 words or less?
Empowering my hyper-talented team through trust, autonomy and big-picture vision.
Tell us a little bit about your background & how did you get started with remote work?
After graduating from college with a degree in Communication Arts (and minor degrees in Business and Advertising), I decided that I wasn’t yet ready for a “real job,” so I enrolled in a long-term volunteer project with Habitat for Humanity Chile. What was supposed to be a seven-month trip ended up turning into a seven-year journey!
From 2010-2012, I worked as the Head of PR and Communications for the Start-Up Chile program within the Chilean Ministry of Economy, where I met Amir, Doist’s CEO and Founder. At the time, he was participating in the program.
I began working for Amir and Allan (Doist’s COO) on a freelance basis as they were getting ready to launch Todoist’s first mobile apps in 2012. Even though the three of us lived in the same city (Santiago), we only met once in person! Remote work has always been part of the Doist DNA, and I didn’t meet anyone else from the team until our first company-wide retreat in 2015.
What job responsibilities do you have?
- Collaborating with other teams at Doist to set the roadmap and allocate resources accordingly.
- Empowering my teammates to do their best work.
- Working on high-level, strategic frameworks for the branding and positioning of Doist, Todoist, and Twist.
- Reviewing projects and works in progress and sharing high-level feedback.
- Rolling up my sleeves and filling in gaps whenever my team needs an extra set of hands.
Take us through your typical weekday?
I’m a massive fan of the time-blocking productivity method – it has helped me structure my days in a way that allows for in-depth work with a little bit of synchronous communication mixed in. On average, I only have about one meeting per day since Doist is almost fully asynchronous.
What’s your workspace setup like?
I love my office; it’s a calming space for me. Unfortunately, it’s soon going to turn into baby #2’s room – parting ways will be difficult! It’s a pretty simple setup, but some staples include:
- My Fully brand adjustable standing desk
- Exercise ball that doubles as my chair
- Shelving for my printer, shredder, and papers
- Dog bed for my #1 office companion, Ivy
- My spiral notebook & pencil
My desk faces a window that lets in some natural light (a must, especially during dark Seattle winters) and allows me to enjoy a bit of nature while being inside. It’s a small thing, but outside my window is a hummingbird feeder, and it’s always a joy when they come to visit throughout the day.
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What apps, gadgets, or tools can’t you live without?
- Twist & Todoist (obviously!)
- iA writer
- Libby app for checking out digital library books
- NYTimes cooking app for recipe inspo
- Philips Saeco Incanto espresso machine
How do you keep track of what you need to prioritize?
You’d be correct if you guessed that I live my life by Todoist. I rely on Labels and Filters in Todoist to stay on top of all my work-related tasks. Any task that has to do with Doist gets a @work label, and then those tasks are funneled into my "today at work" Filter, which only shows me work-related tasks that are due today.
In that Filter, I usually mark one or two tasks as a high priority for the day to know exactly what to prioritize. I discuss this a bit more in the recent Todoist Office Hours: Managing a Team with Todoist.
How do you recharge or take a break?
Going on walks has always been a super effective way for me to recharge my batteries. If I’m thinking of a large problem to solve or need to do some strategic thinking, I go for a long walk (without any headphones) and dictate notes as they come to me in my iOS Notes app.
What are you reading currently? What do you recommend?
In my free time, I rarely read nonfiction. I really enjoy a good novel – some of the ones I’ve enjoyed reading this year include: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout, Largo Pétalo de Mar by Isabel Allende, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion, and The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennet.
That said, I designate Wednesdays as my "learning day" and, on those days, schedule ample time to read through relevant blogs, newsletters, etc., that I accumulate in my "Learning" project in Todoist throughout the week. Some of the blogs that I frequently read include Reforge, Open View, First Round Review, CXL, and Marketing Examples.
Advice for someone who is looking to switch to a remote job?
Be honest with yourself. Today, remote work is super trendy, but, ultimately, not everyone thrives in this environment, and that is okay!
Take time to introspect and consider what changes or adaptations you’ll need to make to do your best work remotely.
What qualities would you recommend are a must-have for a person seeking a remote job?
- Autonomous, independent, and otherwise able to be self-motivated
- Excellent communicator
- Ability to be candid and honest
- An open mind and a kind heart
What, according to you, are the pros and cons of remote work?
Pros: Flexible schedule, independence & autonomy, lots of space for deep work and learning new things (at least at Doist)
Cons: Not getting to see my colleagues very often in person. Though I may have only met some of them a handful of times, I care for them deeply and it makes me sad that we don’t see each other more often.
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