How to Invest in Yourself: Hartford Funds Quantitative Portfolio Analyst Brianna Peruggia Talks Prioritization and Productivity

Brianna Peruggia is a Quantitative Analyst for ETF strategies for Hartford Funds. She is responsible for helping with efficiency in analytics for the systematic strategies, which involves using coding platforms such as R to perform analysis on risk statistics and historical performance for Hartford Funds ETFs.

Here is what Brianna had to say when asked about prioritization and productivity:

GenHERation®: How do you structure your days, so you can accomplish all of your competing tasks?

Brianna Peruggia: Time management was not always something that I was good at, it really took some trial and error of structuring my days certain ways so that I wouldn’t be hopping between different things all day and only getting half of everything done and nothing fully done. The way that I structure my days now is that anything that came through after I left the day before gets completed first. I know which things are the most pressing, so those are the tasks I begin my day with. Once those are all completed, I move on to my priority list of projects that I am currently working on. The project with the closest due date is the one I take on first, and once that’s completed, I move down the list based on due dates. Now, typically a project for me doesn’t get done in one day, so majority of the time days are spent doing the most time-sensitive tasks in the morning and then in the afternoon working on projects based on due date. This helps me to complete all my competing tasks because I have no reason to jump back and forth if I am focused on one thing at a time all the way through to its end.

GenHERation®: What are three steps you can take to limit distractions while working to remain productive?

Peruggia: Three steps that you can take to limit distractions to remain productive while working are:

Try not to have your phone in plain sight. I usually put it on the portion of my desk where I can’t see it but if I get a call, I will still hear it. I think we all struggle having the desire to check our phones consistently throughout the day, myself included, but if it’s not always in our line of sight we will be less inclined to pick it up while we are focused on remaining productive.

Set goals throughout the day. You can say, “I am going to get x amount of this project done before I leave for the day.” Compete with yourself to get things done, set goals for yourself, and stay focused on attaining them. Setting these goals throughout the day will push you to want to be more productive and get things done in a timely fashion.

Play background music. This one may not be for everyone, but it can certainly be for those who don’t love working in dead silence. Have some sort of light, relaxing music playing in the background. Sometimes this will help to keep your mind focused. It also helps to prepare you for working in an office environment where people will be talking, and odds are it won’t be dead silent. If you build yourself up to already being accustomed to hearing background noise, you will still be able to focus even in environments like that.

GenHERation®: How should you prioritize your duties when you report to more than one manager?

Peruggia: This is one I am incredibly familiar with since I do report to more than one manager. Something I found extremely helpful was to set up a call with both of my managers to discuss priorities and expectations, and how to go about taking on tasks from both teams. I have also set up a weekly call with each of them, separately, to go through each of the tasks I have completed for them and what I am currently working on. This is so that I can keep them in the loop and to do a temperature check to see if there is something else that has arisen for me to tackle that is more time sensitive.

GenHERation®: What strategies do you rely on to complete projects on time when you do not have specific deadlines?

Peruggia: The one main strategy I rely on in these scenarios is checkpoints. I set a checkpoint for myself once or twice a week when I am working on projects that have no deadline to ensure that I am working at a decent pace. For these checkpoints, before they occur, I usually set a goal as to the amount of the project I would like to have completed by or before that checkpoint. I will also do these with whichever one of my managers the project is for, so that they can see how I am progressing through the project. I also like to consider how long it has taken to do similar projects in the past and try to use that as a baseline for how long it should be taking me, give or take.

GenHERation®: How do you find the balance between standing out and adding value without having to say ‘yes’ to everything?

Peruggia: This is something I struggled with for quite some time, because as someone who is a people pleaser and believes that I can take on all of these tasks at once, let me tell you, I can’t! There is a balance between standing out and not having to say yes to everything. Something that I found incredibly helpful for these kinds of situations was setting expectations for everyone that I work with or for. The way that I like to stand out is by completing all of my tasks in a timely manner. However, that does not mean that because I am able to finish projects in an efficient time frame that I have all of the time in the world to take on everything else. I will let people know that I am more than happy to help them in any way that I can, but that there are projects and tasks in my queue that take precedence and if there is time after completing the prioritized projects then I will be more than happy to help. This allows me to set the expectation of yes, I would love to help, so that they know they can come to me with things they need help with, but it also tells them that I have more pressing things that will take priority over that. It’s like giving them a yes, without giving them a yes.

GenHERation®: What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?

Peruggia: The best piece of advice I was ever given was that nothing extraordinary comes from inside the comfort zone. It is incredibly necessary to push your boundaries and see what you’re capable of. I was a horrible presenter, it broke me down into sweat and tears, riddled with fear, so I decided to join a presentation club at work to hone those skills and prove to myself that I could do it. When I joined and did my first presentation in front of the group, I was consumed with fear and anxiety, but I made it through the presentation and continued to grow from there now doing it multiple times a year and I even earned a trip to Arizona for one of my presentations. This is a perfect example of putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and getting something extraordinary out of it. I will forever encourage everyone to push beyond the confines of the comfort zone because you have no idea how beautiful it can be on the other side.

Brianna Peruggia is a Quantitative Analyst for ETF strategies for Hartford Funds. She is responsible for helping with efficiency in analytics for the systematic strategies, which involves using coding platforms such as R to perform analysis on risk statistics and historical performance for Hartford Funds ETFs. Brianna has 5 years of financial services experience with 3.5 years at Hartford Funds. Brianna attended Temple University where she received a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Finance, and attended Villanova University where she received her Master of Science in Data Analytics. She is a registered representative of Hartford Funds Distributors and holds FINRA SIE, Series 6, 7, and 63 licenses.

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