Dari Israelstam, founder & creative director at Universal Favourite

Sydney - Australia
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Who are you : 

I’m Dari, I run Universal Favourite, the brand, design, and digital studio. I have a passion for aesthetics and for creating meaningful work with sharp, talented people. I also find a lot of happiness in traveling, music, and food, shared with friends.

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Your current job:

Founder & Creative Director. Leading a small business I find myself wearing all sorts of other hats at work. I also have an after-hours job as a dad. Definitely a job in and of itself. 


In which city are you located?
 

We’re amongst the hustle and bustle of Darlinghurst, which is just outside Sydney’s CBD. There’s a lot going on here creatively, I love it.

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A word to define what kind of worker you are :

Perfectionistic. It’s a valuable quality in what I do, but I’m always mindful of balancing it with getting things done.

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

The usual Adobe apps and whatever is my to-do list app of the moment (currently I’m using Trello for that). Overcast for podcasts. 1Password for password management. And I can’t do without my Rhodia notebook. As a studio, we also use Google products a lot, as well as Basecamp, Highrise, and Asana for project management.

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What does your office space look like?

Lots of light, high ceilings and a beautiful big set of windows that both overlooks and quietens the hustle below.

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

We all play Sonos-DJ here in the studio so it’s a very eclectic mix. When my headphones go in though and I need to focus, there’s different music for different ‘modes’. When I really need to keep a pace to get something out the door, for some reason The Knife’s Silent Shout has some association that works for me. Otherwise, I have a varied taste - currently I’m into We Are Shining, Stromae, Thundercat, Iron & Wine, lots of World music, African, Jazz, electronic.

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

The nature of my work is that a big part of my day is fragmented, so I’m always working on ways to protect my time. It’s one of my biggest challenges. I try to get out of the studio for a few hours a week so I can spend time working on the business rather than in it. I am always amazed at how much can be achieved when you step outside the construct of sitting in front of a computer at a desk.

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What tips would you give to improve productivity?

Focus on action, not motion - work on the important stuff, the stuff that’s going to have the most impact on what you’re trying to achieve. It’s so easy to spend time on the stuff that doesn’t really matter, tinkering away on things that are easiest, or that feed the illusion that you’re really busy with ‘work’. I am also a big believer in David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD) approach to productivity. And eating frogs. And shipping often and early.

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You're better than your colleagues to :

Playing the didgeridoo.

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What is the best advice anyone has given you?

Don’t think outside the box. Think like there is no box.

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What is your best tip for saving time?

There’s only so much time in a day, so for me saving time is more about prioritizing to work on the right things - that way you use your time better. If you’re stuck on something, take a break and do something else; going out for a walk allows your subconscious to keep working, which saves time you might otherwise spend fumbling around or procrastinating.

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What is your routine start and end of the day?

As I like to say, “the less routine, the more life”. I find I am able to be more creative if I approach days in different ways.

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

I really love my fancy five dollar headphones. I catch public transport to work so I love to listen to podcasts about all sorts of topics to expand my mind and ensure I enter into work fresh and inspired.

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