The #MyWorkflow series asks educators who are active creators on social media to share how they do their work. Today we speak to Kamini Kamdar. Currently completing her Masters of Professional Studies in Education in my own second home of Auckland, New Zealand, Kamini is known for her ever-curious, endlessly evolving approach to early childhood education. I feel very fortunate that my great friend Paul Aniceto connected us, as I’ve been following her thinking and work through her compelling social media presence ever since. I look forward to sharing as-close-to-a-New-Zealand-flat-white-as-one-can-get-in-Toronto to the sounds of some smooth 90s hip-hop beats with her when she returns to the Great White North and hear of her personal and pedagogical journeys abroad.
How do you pay the bills?
At the moment, I am a full-time graduate student, which means lots of budgeting and enjoying the simplicity of student life. Aside from this one year – I teach. I had always dreamed of being a kindergarten teacher and feel incredibly fortunate to be able to ‘do what I love’ for a living.
What regular activity brings you little money but loads of happiness?
I love to hike and be in the outdoors. It’s one of the reasons I chose to study in New Zealand! Whether at home or in a new country, I regularly make time to find new trails and explore them with family and friends. It’s wonderful to be able to pack a lunch and spend the day outdoors – away from technology and to-do lists! Being an extrovert-introvert, I find that often by the end of the week I really need to be in nature so I can unplug and gather my thoughts. Hiking is my ‘quiet time’.
What’s your current phone? Which phone do you miss? What will be your next one?
I currently use two phones – the iPhone 4 as my New Zealand number, and then an iPhone 5 to take photographs on the go. I brought them both with me so that, in case something happened to one, I could easily replace it with the other (student life!) My next phone will definitely be an iPhone – just not sure which model will be out by the time my iPhone 5 stops working!
What’s your current laptop? Which laptop do you miss? What will be your next one?
I am currently using a MacBook Air. I love the fact that I can sync my gadgets (iPhone, iPad, Mac) all together. I miss my old laptop, an Acer that I bought a few years ago – it still worked when I purchased my Mac, so I feel like our ‘goodbye’ was bittersweet.
What apps and/or methods do you use to stay productive?
I use a combination of Evernote and notebooks to stay organized and productive. I use Evernote to keep track of all of my readings and research ideas. It allows me to separate chapters I am writing as well as tag ideas so that I don’t have to worry about creating a filing system.
Notebooks are a must for me. I brainstorm my ideas/thoughts in one that I’ve been carrying around for more than two years, and then one for each area of my research. They help me stay focused and remember right where I left off so I can continue making notes.
Which apps do you check persistently, even if you wish you didn’t?
The two apps I check persistently are Twitter and Instagram. I enjoy reading and participating in conversations on Twitter. Instagram appeals to me because of its visual aesthetic of photography. I have made many friends at home and during my travels through both of these platforms. Social media truly brings us together. I think we live in an amazing time where we can connect with others regardless of one’s geographic location.
How do you carry your gear?
I carry my gear in a tote bag. I like that I can access everything really easily and quickly – like my bus pass when I am running late to catch the bus! Being on foot in a new city means that I need to travel with all of the items I will need for the day. New Zealand locals refer to its weather as ‘four seasons in a day’ because the weather can change (rainy, windy, sunny) without much warning. Again, the tote allows me to grab a sweater, umbrella or sunglasses at a moment’s notice.
What other hardware rarely leave your bag?
My notebooks, planner and phones rarely leave my bag. I’m always jotting down ideas and have learned that inspiration can happen anywhere. I also NEVER leave home without my water bottle and a snack (that might be the kindergarten teacher in me!).
What piece(s) of analogue technology is a must in your life?
My planner is a must in my life. I am a very visual person so I need to see appointments, due dates and to-do lists in written form as well as in a ‘bigger picture’ (monthly calendar). Plotting everything by hand helps me to relax, and physically crossing things off my to-do lists make me feel so productive!
What drink, snack, or food sits next to you when you’re being creative?
Coffee. I have to mention how amazing a New Zealand flat white is. It’s made up of one-third espresso and two-thirds milk, and has been an iconic part of kiwi culture for decades. A flat white or coffee usually sits next to me when I am brainstorming or working on creative ideas.
When working, do you prefer the cafe, library, couch, office, kitchen table, or other?
I prefer to have a balance between working in cafes and at home. I like cafes because of their atmosphere and access to great coffee. I like working at home because it gives me time to gather my thoughts, and I know that if I need to bounce ideas off of friends, they are right down the hall.
When working, do you need quiet, ambient noise, speakers, or headphones?
A combination of both. When I am reading I need quiet. If I am writing or thinking about something creative, I need music.
If it’s one of the latter two, what’s on your playlist?
I am a big fan of 90s hip hop. My playlist consists of pretty much every Tupac album peppered with some other west coast artists – those beats! I’m one of those people that can listen to the same music over and over and never tire of it. Currently listening to Tupac’s “Soon As I Get Home”. ?
Morning, afternoon, evening, or the witching hour?
I work best in the evening, but as my dissertation due date inches closer, I am learning to be productive pretty much at any time of day.
How do you get from idea to shipping that idea?
I like to think of the creative process as a natural flow of progression. For me, it is important to stick to the initial vision and do a bit of research to think of how it will ‘fit’ into the bigger picture. Next come smaller tasks that build on one another until the goal/task is accomplished.
What’s one piece of advice you have for people that have difficulty with their workflow?
One really important lesson I’ve learned is to let the process unfold naturally. Things may not go according to plan, you may have to make revisions, or go back to the drawing board. Ultimately each project is a labour of love, and it’s important to remember the why (vision) every step of the way.
How can we find and connect with you online?