Rethinking ‘Downtime’: A Creative Reboot with Microsoft Surface Pro

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A quick life update: I recently made the decision to transition out of my role in PR in search of something that was grounded in creativity and allowed me to tap into that side of myself on a more regular basis. In the meanwhile, I’ve been focusing much more of my time on blogging and brainstorming for What We Wore, as well as dabbling in a little freelance writing. While it’s only been a few short weeks since I wrapped up my last full-time job, I’ve come to the realization that downtime isn’t always synonymous with doing nothing and I wanted to talk about that today with a little help from my trusty Microsoft Surface Pro.

A few weeks ago, Alistair and I had the great privilege of sitting in on a master class with local fashion designer extraordinaire, Hayley Elsaesser. Fun fact: Hayley was one of the first local designers we learnt about at our very first Fashion Week back in 2015 when What We Wore was on the cusp of being published. The class was everything I could have hoped for and more, especially so as someone that’s trying to delve deeper into graphic design. Hayley’s style of design is so iconic, and her process was hypnotizing. In case you didn’t know, Hayley’s clothing label is dominated by her quirky, colourful prints that often emulate 90s nostalgia (think flip phones, arcade games, etc). I truly felt like a kid in a candy story watching Hayley create her base design, and then duplicating it to create a print for her apparel. And she did it all using the Microsoft Surface Pro!

Here are some shots from the masterclass...

Some of my favourite things about the Surface Pro are:

1) Intuitive – Holding the Surface Pen makes designing an incredibly intuitive process. How many times have you dreamt up a design in your head only to go onto your laptop and create something wildly underwhelming? The nostalgic feeling of physically holding a pen and drawing helps keep the creative juices flowing, and the Pen even adjusts its stroke based on the pressure and angle with which you touch the screen.

2) Lightweight – With or without the Type Cover, the Surface Pro is incredibly lightweight and portable. It’s perfect for on-the-go work because you can prop it up and type away or detach the Type Cover and use it in tablet mode.

3) Laptop or tablet, you choose – Speaking of the Type Cover, I love being able to switch between laptop and tablet mode. When I’m drawing or watching a video, I really like to get comfortable and a keyboard can often come in the way of that, so I it’s great having the option to detach and work away or reattach and type away when I’m working on a blog post.

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Suffice it to say that I left the master class with Hayley feeling inspired AF, and as soon as my Surface Pro arrived, I ripped into it and made sure I was stocked up on all my apps.  While I had briefly studied graphic design at university, a lot of what I actually learnt and used in later years was self-taught, so I was excited to dig up some new tutorials and get to work. Fast-forward to today, I’m a few weeks out of a job and surprisingly, not panicking (yet). I often say this to friends, but our generation is obsessed with working. We love tooting our own horns about working ourselves to the bone, working ourselves ill, literally. Oftentimes, I get anxious when I have downtime because I feel I’ve forgotten to do something. I get anxious that I’m not being as productive as I could be. So, recently I’ve been trying very hard to rethink ‘downtime’ and my Surface Pro has come in handy in this experiment. Instead of thinking of downtime as entire hours during which I’m doing nothing, I’ve been trying to spend my time just doing things I enjoy – walking to get my lunch and a coffee instead of ordering in, reading my pile of unloved books, writing for this, that, and the other, doodling, and watching latest true crime docu-series (most recently it was Evil Genius). Downtime doesn’t have to mean mindlessly binge watching Netflix’s entire archive while simultaneously hating myself for wasting time – it can mean indulging in things I actually enjoy that also contribute to my overall growth. So, until my job hunt proves fruitful, you’ll find me in a corner at my local café doodling away on my Surface Pro, putting “pen to paper”, expanding my horizons and all that jazz.

*Although this post was written in collaboration with Microsoft Canada, all opinions stated herein are my own.

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