'Either iterate or move on': Steal Rebecca Fabiano's work hacks - Generocity Philly


Mar. 20, 2017 10:25 am

‘Either iterate or move on’: Steal Rebecca Fabiano’s work hacks

The small business owner on leading with enthusiasm and not getting hung up on what she "should" do.

Rebecca Fabiano at Buzz Café.

(Courtesy photo)

Rebecca Fabiano, M.S.Ed., is a busy person. Thus, she has a few ground rules before committing to an event or activity.

Fabiano runs Rebecca Fabiano Consulting Services, LLC, which supports organizations and individuals that work with children and youth by improving program quality and providing professional development for staff. She’s also what we recently described as a “multi-hyphenate do-gooder” due to her many side projects, including PopUpPlayLeadership Lab within The Bamboo Project and the Sandbox Collective.

Here’s how she gets it all done — with enthusiasm as a rule.


Where do you work? Coffee shops, home office, company office?

I have a home office, where I work most of the time and where I can also host meetings with clients — though when the weather is nice, you can find me outside in the backyard doing my work.

I love being at coffeeshops to get work done and for some types of meetings. My neighborhood favorite is Buzz Café, where I also host a monthly networking and professional development meeting for the Sandbox Collective. There you’ll find a seat toward the end of the bench that I fit into perfectly because I am there so often! If I know I am going to be distracted if I work from home by the pile of laundry calling to be done (one hazard of a home office), then I head out to a coffeeshop where the background noise helps me stay focused.

Rebecca Fabiano's home office.

Rebecca Fabiano’s home office. (Courtesy photo)

What’s your KPI for every day? How do you know it’s been a productive day?

Productivity looks different for me day to day depending on the client and the projects I’m working on. I love to be able to look at my to-do list and see that it’s (mostly!) completed. However, for me, the best indicator of a productive day is when it ends and I feel energized, as opposed to wiped out.

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What’s a time-saving life hack you practice?

About a year and a half ago, my friend Michele Martin put me on to the ARC Customizable Notebook System from Staples (there are other versions) and it was a game-changer for me in terms of organizing my work, which helps me to save a lot of time trying to find my notes, keeping up to date on my to-do list. And while I miss spending time in the stationary section at Target searching for the perfect notebook, it’s also helped me reduce waste and saves space because I don’t have a ton of notebooks lying around for years anymore.

What motivates you about your work?

The flexibility that I have to create the type of work I want to do and who I want to work with is at the top of things that motivates me about my work. I have an idea a minute and because of how I’ve structured the business and my time, I can test new ideas without being worried if they don’t work, I don’t get hung up on it; I either iterate or move on.

Rebecca Fabiano notes

(Courtesy photo)

When life gets busy, how do you make sure you make time for your personal priorities?

About a year ago I was feeling overwhelmed by both personal and professional obligations, so I created this reminder, which I carry with me in my notebook (see above) and has helped me to create time for my personal priorities.

I will choose to participate in events/activities and spend time with people if:

  • I can enthusiastically say “Yes!” without the word “should” showing up.
  • I have a feeling of wanting to know more or a sense of curiosity.
  • I will learn, try something new or meet someone new.
  • It adds something as opposed to taking something away (e.g. my time, my energy, etc.)

What tool or practice do you wish existed to help you get it all done?

Honestly, sometimes I wish I could clone myself so I could get more done. I’m pretty particular in my work, so I like things done a certain way and would trust the other me to get it done that way!

What’s your preferred workday soundtrack?

I like NPR to get the day going. If I’m lucky enough, the soundtrack is of the city sounds I hear, which means I’m working from my backyard. When I work outside I can hear the El train two blocks away, the ice cream truck meandering up and down the side streets, birds chirping, and airplanes flying overhead. That reminds me that even though I often work solo, I’m connected to the world and especially this city.


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