How (We)Work: Nicole Niss of Tablelist

This post was written by Boston Content committee member Lauren Landry, a digital content specialist at Northeastern University. Follow her, @laurlandry

Boston Content is proud to host its events at WeWork South Station, a coworking office space teeming with creators who are as inspirational as they are innovative. "How (We)Work" is a series dedicated to highlighting how those creators stay productive, creative and innovative. Prepare to start rethinking how you plan your day.

Image via  Nicole Niss

Image via Nicole Niss

Nicole Niss joined the Tablelist team in October 2014, eager to have a hand in helping shape the future of nightlife — an industry largely untouched by tech.

“Everyone I work with is incredibly smart and talented at what they do,” said Niss, who serves as the Boston general manager of the VIP reservation service for nightclubs. “I learn from all of them constantly.”

But having the ability to brainstorm with such a “young, driven team” is only one way Niss stays creative. Here’s a closer look at her daily routine.

Boston Content: What is your morning routine?

Nicole Niss: I absolutely hate waking up, so I basically give myself as little time as possible to get ready. (I need to work on that.) That being said, I still watch ABC every morning — a little healthy dose of entertainment, news and weather with "Good Morning America." I grab some kind of granola bar or snack to go, and head to the T. I read theSkimm, BostInno’s InTheKnow and catch up on my Facebook News Feed on my ride in, and then hit Dunkin' Donuts for a large iced tea (unsweetened, no lemon). I like to keep it simple.

What kind of content can you not start your day without?

I need a little bit of national news, local news and friends’ news. That’s why I like reading theSkimm, InTheKnow and Facebook — I can usually catch up on all three within my 45-minute commute. I definitely let myself get distracted by some good old BuzzFeed and Thrillist lists, too. I need something a little lighthearted while I’m waking up.

What are three things co-workers are likely to always find on your desk?

  1. A million sticky notes — I have an obsession with them.
  2. Pens — I love them, and usually have a good collection strewn about.
  3. Snacks and/or chocolate — You need fuel for your day. I have a drawer I keep stocked with snacks; the chocolate sits between my coworker and me. (It doesn’t last long, though.) 

How do you stay creative?

By keeping an open mind, eye and ear. I make sure to immediately write ideas down, take a picture if something inspires me, and just listen. Also, brainstorming sessions — solo or with my coworkers. I love jotting down everything I’m thinking, then going back and getting into the details, expanding and working it all out. Having a conversation out loud also helps me come up with new and exciting ideas I might not have thought of on my own.

How do you stay productive?

Music! Blocking everything out definitely helps. I would also be lost without my calendar and notebook. I have so much going on between work, networking and my personal life, I don’t think I’d ever know where I was supposed to be or what I was supposed to be doing without my calendar. Taking a break helps, too. Sometimes that means a walk, or sitting in one of the giant beanbags in the common space at WeWork.

What’s your favorite time of day to get stuff done, and why?

Probably from around 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. By 10 a.m., my morning caffeine has kicked in and I have had time to get my brain jogging. Come 1 p.m., I haven’t been going all day, so I’m still feeling fresh and motivated. I often end up eating later in the afternoon, because I like to work until 1 or 2 p.m. before taking a break.

Where do you go for inspiration?

I have a few specific Boston spots that always inspire me: the Public Garden, the Chestnut Hill Reservoir and down on the Esplanade. Honestly, though, I usually find inspiration walking around any part of the city. If that's not working, for some reason, I might curl up with a good book — gets my creative juices flowing!

Are there any quotes you live by?

Yes, absolutely! I have these written in different spots — on sticky notes, on my bedroom walls or in random places I regularly stumble upon during the day. 

From E.E. Cummings:

You shall above all things be glad and young.”
Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
The most wasted of days is one without laughter.”

From Paulo Coelho:

The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and to get up eight times.”
Stop being who you were and become who you are.”
You have two choices: to control your mind or to let your mind control you.”

Follow Niss, @NicNiss and @Tablelist.