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Office tale of Cynthia Savard Saucier, director of design at Shopify

Office tale of Cynthia Savard Saucier, director of design at Shopify

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Your current job : 

Director of Design at Shopify

In which city are you located? 


A word to define what kind of worker you are

Resourceful. Having the ability to overcome challenges is essential in my position… and being surrounded by the best in the world makes this much easier.

What tools are essential to your life (app, software, etc..)

1- We recently move in a much larger office that has a lot of meeting rooms. I use the Modular Watch face on my Apple Watch and it’s a life saver. I’ve customized it to present my next meeting with the location. I’m also using the Time Travel option to know if I’m available later in the day.

2- Sleep Cycle is an iPhone app that tracks your sleep patterns and wakes you up during light sleep. I wake up every morning feeling pretty good.

3- I listen to many, many podcasts and I prefer Overcast to any other apps

4- I use, and love my noise cancelling headphones (Bose Quiet Comfort). They are magical.

What does your office space look like?

I work from many places around the office. When not at my desk, you’ll find me in the yoga room enjoying its light and sitting in on a bean bag. I also like finding an empty meeting room and spending the afternoon there.

What kind of music do you listen when you are working?

Whatever is playing on the “coffee shop playlist” on Spotify. Admittedly, I have a very poor musical

Do you have a way to organize your day to maximize your work ?

1- I try to start the day with productive and creative work. If not, I’ll answer email as a way to procrastinate.

2- I group similar meetings and have them always on the same day. For example, I have all my team one-on- ones on Tuesday afternoons. That way, I can prepare for all my meetings at once and there’s no idle time in between each of them.

What tips would you give to improve productivity ?

I find one thing that I want to accomplish every single day and I make this my priority. All the other meetings still happen, but when I get back to my computer, I know where to focus my attention right away. If I don’t single that objective out, I tend to get easily distracted by clerical and redundant

You’re better than your colleagues to :

Cook and make chocolate! In all seriousness, my super-hero power is that I find naturally what a person is secretly really good at, and place them in a situation where they can use that secret skill.

This also means pushing someone slightly out of their comfort zone while offering just enough support for them to succeed.

What is the best advice anyone has given you ?

As a teenager, I’ve been told by a teacher: “If you know something, never be afraid to say it. If you don’t know something, never be afraid to ask.”

As a professional: “There’s a difference between being effective and efficient. Aim for efficiency.”

What is your best tip for saving time ?

Always challenge the length of a meeting. It rarely needs to be more than 45 minutes. Also, never be afraid to leave a meeting that is useless.

What is your routine start and end of the day ?

Start of day:

– 7:20 to 8:20 : Wake up, check my iPhone, delete any useless emails from my inbox, get up, shower and get dressed.

– 8:20 to 9:30 : Commute to work by Metro, eat breakfast at work, take the first 30 minutes of my day to plan what I want to do and what are the priorities of the day.

– 9:30 to 11:00 : Do some productive work (ideally)

End of day:

– 9:00 to 10:30 : Generally watch a series with my fiancé. Recently, that means House of Cards.

– 10:30 : Prepare for bed.

– 10-:30 to 11:00 : Check my iPhone, answer personal emails, scroll through Facebook and fall asleep.

I consistently get 8 hours of sleep, and the first and last thing I do everyday is check my emails. I know this is a bad habit, but I haven’t found anything else that has worked better for me at this point.

Aside from your computer and your phone, what gadget can you not you go without?

As much as I love gadgets, I end up not using them that much, or getting bored with them quickly. Except from my watch (that I never wear on the weekend) I don’t use any gadgets.

photo credit : Cindy Boyce