Archive for the 'productivity' Category

Creating a new workspace

July 21, 2009

Hey everyone! I’ve just moved into my new place which is 3 minutes away from school, so this week has been quite hectic and exciting. As a student, my budget is small, even smaller now that I’ve moved out, and I am dealing with the challenge of configuring a small space for two purposes: as a bedroom and as a studio workspace. I am inspired by great workspaces, and I believe a great one is an aid to creativity and productivity. My main considerations in creating my own are:

1. Function – I estimate that most of my work will be done on my laptop, so that will be a central aspect of this room. I will be doing a little bit of drafting and sewing and handwork, but I hope to do most of this at school. The work that I do bring home will all be separated and stored after use in my closet, where it shares space with my clothes and personal storage. I bought the greatest desk from Ikea (pictures later), which meets my functional needs as a designer well. 

2. Simplicity – In keeping with my desire to keep things simple and live as minimally as possible both for physical and mental clarity, I aim to keep my workspace flow as simple and uncluttered as possible. I left most of my belongings back at my parents’ home, and took only what I needed. Now, I realize that I don’t need much to live off of. 

3. Aesthetics – Designers love beautiful things, it is no surprise. I feel so much more excited to get to work when I am in a space that I feel inspired in. Increasingly, I am drawn more and more to a minimalist aesthetic, bright and airy, with lots of white space. Although this was my original vision, I soon realized that it is hard to do white well on a budget, because keeping everything the same tone requires a reliance on texture and detail to keep from looking like a hospital room. I also love colour, so I decided to use red and purple as accents, which are great colours to add to creative energy. Decor will be kept to a minimum, and its function is to stimulate me visually and add to creative energy rather than dull it. I don’t need as much decoration as I think, because my work in itself is very visual and I always have visual inspiration to use as decoration anyway. Plus, in keeping with my student budget, I prefer to go with the basics now and spend more later on items that will last. 

3. Transitional capabilities – I am not sure how long I will living at this residence. I hope to live here at least until I graduate next April. I will bring my furniture along with me when I do move, and will aim to keep things organized and simple enough to move. In terms of transitional capabilities, I am also referring to the physical manifestation of my life transformation over the next year as I work on my graduation collection, develop further skills in my areas of interest, and graduate and get going in the real world. 

This has been a great way for me to look at how much stuff I have acquired over the years and what it means to me (not much). I have to take some time out to go home and actually purge, like actually. On the path to living more consciously and simply, I am thinking about the way I organize, the way I accumulate, and the way I consume. I am trying to use technology as my aid so that my work remains as much on the computer as possible and I do not have junk to throw away all the time. I use my library borrowing privileges to gain knowledge and information instead of buying books. Heck, I have even dropped all use of sticky-notes and notepads and favour of my personal notebook that I fill up completely with random thoughts, brainstorming, to-do lists and etc. (although, I have started to get the hang of Google Calendar and am loving it! I just started using the offline capability recently and have almost completely transitioned all to-do lists onto my computer). 

Once I have my room all figured out, I will definitely post pictures! Stay tuned.


GTD: An Intro for Fashion People

February 22, 2009

My trusty Moleskine has been a great partner in organization for me, however, with my avid interest in technology and GTD principles, I have been playing around with some tools to help me in both my personal and professional life.

Team projects and collaboration

In class, we are doing a group project in product development. I suggested that we use Backpack to share our research and information in a collaborative manner (and this way, we have everything in a handy reference place.) In the context of fashion design, I see this tool cutting down meeting times and simplifying the research and design process. We’ve posted our SKU plans, company information, charts, inspiration images, etc. I see us posting our flat illustrations on there when we get to that stage of the product development process. (Note: At my internship, we tried implementing this as well, but because the company is such an intimate environment where everyone is always in the same vicinity, there wasn’t really a need for it).

Note taking and research

There is so much information on the www for designers to make use of. Most of the time we glaze through it, see things we like, and most often, it gets lost after that moment of “aha!”. I found myself experiencing this all the time, so decided to search for solutions. The catalyst for this was realizing that I was constantly coming across possible research material for my grad collection.

Prior to this, I have been using Notepad (y’know, the one that comes with Windows) to write my to-do lists and notes (it was a weekly mish-mash of to-dos, notes, and dear-diary type thoughts), but that hasn’t really been effective. Google Notebook is my new best friend. Here’s a little how-to to get started.

My categories make sense for my life:

– Inbox (where everything goes before I have the time to sort it)

– Fashion –> Marketing/Promotion, Design

– Technology

– Notes to Self

– Grad Collection

– Personal Finance

– Future Projects

– Etc.

I use it for professional and personal purposes. It is fully integrated into my internet browser, and the simplicity and ease of use is really great. I mastered this in 10 minutes and now use it for everything.


As a freelancer, I could see this working as well. Basically anything that you would require taking notes for could utilize this very handy application. As designers, we really have to be on top of trends, especially ones that cut down work and makes life easier. One thing I have noticed time and time again is how unorganized most designers are – the basic principle of GTD is through simple organization, work efficiency and productivity go up. Plus, designers are creative people. Use this practical tool and make it work for you. People in the technology industry are ahead of the curb in this aspect, but fashion people can benefit immensely.

Once you find the tools that work for you, take a little time to set it up for what you need it for, and after a little getting used to, I really believe that it makes a profound difference on productivity, which makes a profound difference on creativity and the amount of energy we can expend on this.

The most creative and effective people are not often the hardest working – they are the ones who can identify problems and provide solutions.

This is something I believe is crucial to people who work by themselves, for themselves, own their own businesses, set their own timelines, etc. Again, a lot of time is wasted by not being productive. You could be designing, drawing pretty pictures, daydreaming even!

What  else?

I also use to bookmark articles of interest to me. Its easy, and my bookmarks show up on this blog for my readers. I guess if ever I was really bored, I could go through my delicious account and reread all these.

Gone are the days of using your internet browser’s bookmarks or favorites section (that was useful probably back in 1998 when the internet was not nearly as vast and expansive as it is now).

I also have live RSS feeds of my favorite blogs up in my toolbar. They serve as my headline section basically, customizable to the topics that are of interest to me, and change up every few months. Right now, Zen Habits, Fashion Incubator, Geekologie, The Business of Fashion, Freelance Switch are up there. This forces me to keep up and allows me to learn something new about the fields I am interested in without having to actively spend time searching for it everyday.


To sum up, get started on GTD. It’ll make a difference in your life, and the sooner you integrate it into your everyday life, the better. Admittedly, it takes a while to weed out the useless tools from the ones that’ll work, but Google usually is a good guarantee. I’m constantly searching and exploring this, and trying to make it applicable to my life as an aspiring fashion professional.

What’s in a name?

October 9, 2008

The name Fashion 2.0 is a reference to Web 2.0, “a term describing changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aims to enhance creativity, secure information sharing, collaboration and functionality of the web.” The world is changing as it always has, but technology is doing so at a much faster pace than fashion. Why? Fashion has so many dimensions and is directly related to so many sociological influences. All dimensions must work in collaboration together for mainstream fashion to move forward, and it is difficult to achieve that overnight.

I will repeat this statement over and over again, something I hold to my values: We do not need more clothes in this world – we need better designed clothes, clothes that foster community, growth, and changing values.

And that’s where this new direction is relevant: we are combining industries, harnessing our creativity to become more productive, and using productivity to become more creative. Technology serves us so many purposes – one of those is that we are given so much more leisure time. What have people done with this time? We’ve become a consumer-driven monsters. Tsk tsk. This past year I went on a 4 month shopping ban, and I did well on that, but consider this: my original plan was to last a year.

So 2.0, the next step in fashion, one that goes beyond aesthetics just as the web has gone beyond purely information.

I’d love to meet people who share this philosophy.