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Ragnar Freyr, creative director

Ragnar Freyr, creative director

Published by Leonardo Calcagno

Who are you?

I am Ragnar Freyr, a 36-year-old designer from Iceland.

Your current job?

I recently took on the job of a creative director of product experience at a genetics software company. I also run my own small startup with two of my friends and freelance/teach when I’m interested.

In which city are you located? 

I’m located in Reykjavík, Iceland.

A word to define what kind of worker you are?


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

My essential digital tools/apps are:  

Sketch for user interfaces, Adobe Creative Cloud for all things design, Principle for micro-interactions, Things for tasks and projects, Day One for reflection, Samsara for meditation, Slack for communication, Spotify for music, Freckle for time and YNAB for money

What does your office space look like?

My home office is cozy but somewhat minimal. I am surrounded by wood panels and natural textures. My desk is an heirloom gem. It used to belong to my grandfather-in-law who used it at his woodworking shop. It used to belong to his father. Somewhere, in between, it was also owned by my father-in-law.

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

I mostly listen to music of the electronic kind but it varies. I gravitate towards minimal beats with soothing melodies but I can also get pumped on some bass music. I collect my favorite music discoveries each year in a playlist. Here’s the one for 2016:

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

I start my work day in Things and do my daily review. If I do my weekly reviews right, my tasks should be pretty straightforward but often I’ll have some urgent (but maybe not important) tasks imposing. Sometimes, if I am overwhelmed I’ll time-block my tasks in a calendar. Setting intentions at the start of the day it helps.

What tips would you give to improve productivity? 

Cultivate awareness. Increase silence and space. Get appropriate rest. Do less.

You are better than your colleagues in? 

I try not to compare. Comparing is often a thief of joy.

What is the best advice anyone has given you?

To incorporate compassion into my consumption. Especially in terms of my diet.

What is your best tip for saving time?

Setting intentions about how you are going to spend your time. Do only the thing that you are doing. Surf the urges of wanting to turn towards distractions.

What is your routine start and end of the day?

My day starts with a bottle of cold water after waking up. Then I meditate for 20 minutes, try to do yoga or movement for about 30 minutes, shower and make myself a smoothie. While drinking the smoothie I read articles or watch Youtube. Then I take a walk with my dog and finally get to work.  

  My evening routine is simpler. I go to bed about an hour before I want to be sleeping. I spend that hour reflecting on my day, chatting with my wife and/or reading fiction.

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

I do love my Paperwhite Kindle for late night book reading. The Victorinox Swiss army knife has been super useful and the Vitamix blender is essential to my morning routine. Also headphones.