A Day in the Life of Crystal Anderson, VP of Product at MX – Tearsheet

MX is a financial data platform based in Utah. As Vice President of Product, Crystal Anderson’s role encompasses all product lines, from organization to management to design.

Anderson has been with MX for about a year now, and has been in the financial industry for over twenty years, with nearly all of that time spent in product management or product development.

But it wasn’t finance that caused Anderson’s passion for the product, but rather a hunting and fishing TV show, for which she was working as an editor at the time. The big ah-ha moment came when the showrunner approached her about a new idea he had in mind about getting rid of the smell – like hiding your smell from the animals you’re hunting.

Until then, the main goal to get rid of the smell was to spray your clothes with urine. The idea was to use the new enzyme technology developed to create an odor-free environment without having to rely on a lot of unpleasant scents.

“It introduced me to the idea that there really was a profession where you could have an unmet need, and that you could actually create something that satisfies that need,” Anderson said. “I was just dumbfounded that it was actually a career I could have.”

Fast forward nearly twenty years, and Anderson works with the product all day, every day.

Needless to say, there is a lot to do.

But the addiction to writing and the strong work structure help Crystal see things crystal clear.

This is a day in her life:

Early morning: Thinking about yesterday, speeding up today

I really try to be intentional about how I start my day. It just makes a big difference.

For me, that means using the morning to meditate, read, or write a diary – I’m in the diary quite a bit.

There are days, of course, when I just want to have my coffee and sit back and watch TV. But there have probably been two or three times that have already done so in the past 10 months.

Then, at about 6:30, I will wake up my daughter.

Like everyone, I’ve been working from home since March 2020. And I really liked it. Before working from home, she and I would rush out in the mornings—give her a piece of granola and walk out the door. And there were a lot of tears, because we were in a hurry.

Today, though, I’ve really come to love our morning routine. It’s something I’ll make sure to keep, because it makes our days—my husband’s included—start that much better.

Now we start our day together around 6:30 – she’ll get ready, brush her hair, get dressed and all that stuff. But now I can make breakfast every morning, which means she and I start our day with a nutritious meal.

It’s also our time together in the morning before we get ready. It is more peaceful. I took her to school and that’s when my day begins.

Work: shifting gears, shifting notebooks

So I have that hour in the morning and it’s my personal time, where I’m really trying to make sure I’m not doing anything work related, and that I’m doing something for myself to fill up my cup.

But then I start my work with focus time as well. At MX, we try to avoid meetings between 9 and 12. It gives everyone a chance to spend that time in a distraction-free environment – whether it’s time for engineers to code, designers to design or our product managers to do research and write vision documents.

And so I spend my day the same way my team does, which means I do that focus in the morning.

I’ll attend meetings now and then, but the bulk of them usually happen in the afternoon – or in my case a little later since I’m in mountain time.

For today’s tasks – I like to make a to-do list.

For me personally, I know that I memorize things when I write them. It’s just the way I learn. I don’t go back and read what I wrote often. But what I’ve found is that the mere act of writing helps me remember. It is also very soothing. I like to write with a very specific pen, for example.

I actually have three notebooks in front of me now – I have my personal journal, my to-do list notebook, and my usual notebook.

I like to use what I write during my focus time to get ready for the day and really prepare myself for afternoon meetings.

A sports fanatic’s approach to team building

My husband is a sports talk show host. So we’re a big athletic family – it turns out I’ve found someone who loves sports, too.

Part of what I really like is the celebration and the meaning surrounding something that can be kind of innocuous. I mean, the whole idea of ​​hitting a ball and then running around an area would seem like a meaningless activity if there were no celebrations and traditions around it. But I really like what it does for human contact.

And if I think about it, I think that’s probably how I approach team building and even my own life. We do all these ceremonies and things, but it really only becomes meaningful when it comes to human contact.

In the evening – break from work and make time for family time

One of the other great things about working from home is that when my daughter gets back around 3:30, she’ll come over and say hello. I’m still working after that, but I feel like if she needs something or wants to come over and tell me about her day, I can take that time to be there for her.

I work a few more hours, but around 6:30 or 7, I try to shut it down. And if there’s more than I need to do, I really try to do it after my husband and daughter fall asleep.

There are definitely nights when I have to work extra time, but for the most part, I really want to make sure I’m going to reserve that period for family time. It is very important to me.

Our dinners are usually done right when I leave work. So we’ll eat together, and then my daughter will read to us, or we’ll go out and play soccer – she’s really a soccer fan.

And, you know, it all looks really nice, but I also like to go green and watch TV. I don’t like anything that is too emotionally taxing. We were just starting to catch up on This is Us—and my husband was like, “Are we going to watch this one day?”

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