Note-Taking Is The Queen Of Productivity Tools, Here's Why | Clozette

In today's world, we are all expected to be more versatile, ready for multi-tasking and be at the top of our game given the competitive crowd. But having a multi-pronged lifestyle can lead to an overwhelming amount of stress and fatigue. This is why tools for productivity that slide easily into our fast-paced routines are a must. But does relying on our gadgets prove to be the best among all productivity tools? 

According to studies, writing down notes may be slower when it comes to produced word count, but it is definitely more effective in information retention than typing. This is because people who type down their notes tend to simply transcribe what is being fed to them, while writing allows the subject to paraphrase and absorb the information given its traditional nature. So for laidback folks who are still into handwritten notes and journals, talk about great news, right? 

Now, for those whose interest was piqued by traditional note-taking, read up. We talked to Sally Koh, General Manager in Singapore of renowned stationery brand Collins Debden, on why traditional note-taking is still the queen of productivity tools even in today's digital age. 

Organisation and productivity don't have to be complicated

Productivity Tips: Organising is simple

We often look at organising and getting productive as a necessity — a task. And that is probably the main cause of the problem when we're struggling to get things done. But similar to how we treat our most burning passions, our relationship with productivity and organisation need not be complicated. 

Sally shared that there was once a point in her career where she was all over the place. She struggled with rushing through tasks and deadlines and that killed her productivity. So she decided to finally adopt a "focus boost" system that allowed her to be more flexible. And it wasn't something complex like setting alarms every 10 minutes or colour-coding her online calendar. "I turned to the simplicity of pen and paper," she quipped. 

Finding your journal match is a whole lot of fun

Productivity tips: Collin Debden Sense notebook

Sense notebooks, SGD12.90 to

We love using our phones for organising because they're always on-hand. But now that we've established going traditional is still a great option, how do we make sure that our choice of diary or journal is the right fit?

Aside from looking at covers that fit our aesthetic (everyone's favourite part, obviously), Sally also recommended to always consider something that's easy to bring. "A good diary eases everyday organisation and increases efficiency. It needs to take into consideration the appropriate size for a good fit into a bag, a secure elastic closure to hold additional notes in the notebook and an expandable inner pocket to hold notes and name cards," she noted. 

There's more freedom in free-writing

Productivity Tips: Take things step by step

Once you've found your match, it's time to get writing. Everything seems urgent when you're overwhelmed with things to do. But taking the time to sit back, get a pen and paper, and regroup your own thoughts help significantly with how you're going to get through the rest of your day.

One great method when laying things out on the table would be free-writing. This is when you write everything you have to do in the order they come to your mind, as random as they are. After you've cleared out every nook and cranny of your noggin', that's when you start organising your thoughts and tasks based on priority. "Doing this helps me to stay organised and on track day-to-day. I get more done in less time," Sally mentioned. 

Remember, productivity isn't about doing things all at once. It's accomplishing things using an efficient and effective system.

Don't worry about perfection, do YOU

Productivity tips: Do YOU

People are often discouraged by the idea of turning to traditional diary-keeping or journalling because they feel like you need to make it as creative as you can. After all, with all the Pinterest-worthy bullet journal tutorials we see today, it's normal to feel like this may not be the best thing for you.

But Sally shared that while she was also "artistically inept" it did not stop her from finding the right flow, structure, and style that works for her. "I had to learn to embrace imperfection and that my journal may not be beautiful," she said. She even elaborated by saying that her notes were filled with many strikethroughs and that the pages even had bled-through ink. But at the end of the day, it's not about being flashy or having notes worthy of a place at a museum. It's about finding a note-keeping strategy that helps you deliver to the best of your abilities. "We all have different ways of organising our day and time, the important thing is to use the diary according to your preference," Sally recommended.

Traditional note-taking is, in itself, an experience

Productivity tips: Collin Debden Palette notebook

Palette notebooks, SGD18.90 each

Most aspects of our lives today are mediated by technology. This is why a step back from this familiarity also proves to be a better and effective method when it comes to getting productive. "That’s the beauty of paper organisation. It’s enduring, it’s permanent; it doesn’t ‘disappear’ into the digital cloud. Plus it helps with a digital detox," Sally said when asked about digital versus traditional organisation. 

Speaking of digital detox, it also helps us move away from other distractions easily made available to us by the internet. We're talking social media, online games, Netflix — you get the idea. Diaries and notebooks are productivity tools that help us truly be alone with our thoughts. "Set a goal, plan how to get there and document your progress with your diary," Sally advised. "When you develop a habit of combining actions with planning, you’ll take better actions over time."



There's no denying that sustainable brands are gaining traction right now more than ever. In Singapore, more and more eco-conscious labels are emerging. Two of the most promising ones are modest fashion brand Lully Selb and swimwear label PINKSALT. Keep on reading to meet the women behind these up-and-coming sustainable fashion brands in Singapore and know more about what goes behind the process of building their labels.

Lully Selb

Founded by Nurulhuda (Lully) and Selma Bamadhaj (Selb) in 2015, the fashion brand is becoming a go-to place for women who love modest fashion. "I wanted to create a brand to be the voice for women who want to break stereotypes of how Muslim girls should look," Selb shares. Even as a young label, their stylish shawls featuring unique hand-drawn prints exclusive to each piece are already gaining international attention and have been receiving rave reviews across South East Asia and the Middle East. "The VIP prints collectors club is a hit, and we’re continuously growing our community of print lovers," Selb says. 

Lully Selb

Designs by Lully Selb

As fashion graduates, their work process is very intuitive. "We begin with gathering inspiration and visuals for each collection. From there, the process is fluid. We experiment a lot with tactile materials and tools as both my partner and I believe in creating with our hands," Selb shares.

Lully Selb

Founders Nurulhuda (Lully) and Selma Bamadhaj (Selb)

The duo has always been an advocate of sustainable fashion and their label is one of the more popular sustainable fashion brands in Singapore. Their most recent campaign is called #DreamwithLS, which aims to support local and regional artists by featuring their work as prints for the next collection. When asked what's next for the sustainable brand, Selb shares that they are collaborating with Batik Art from Yogyakarta in Indonesia. "We are currently collaborating with them to produce some unique pieces to showcase their talent and support their traditional craft, eventually helping them become entrepreneurs themselves."


A result of a coincidental meeting and shared passion for fashion, PINKSALT is a sustainable fashion brand in Singapore that offers modern swimwear and resort wear label that continues to make waves regionally. Both founders had to step out of their comfort zones to build the brand from scratch. Co-founder Belinda Lee went against the grain and pursued a career in fashion in her 40s. "I attended the Apparel Design and Product Development diploma course in Fashion at the Textile and Fashion Industry Training Centre ( and was excited at the prospect of producing my designs as a business," she shares. Meanwhile, co-founder Su May furthered her studies to eventually get a Diploma in Merchandising and Marketing. As business partners, they've become unbeatable.

PINKSALT founders Belinda Lee and Ng Su May

The brand's trademark of providing swimwear designs that are feminine, stylish and classy became a hit with modern fashionistas. And two years into their business, PINKSALT is moving towards becoming one of the promising sustainable fashion brands in Singapore. "After entering the industry and learning more about how the manufacturing process works, we realised how wasteful the fashion industry is and wanted to do something different starting with our new sustainable collection, which will be launched soon," Belinda shares.


PINKSALT Penn Tankini

What's in store for us? Belinda gives us a hint: "We are working on some interesting designs in cotton jersey material for our next capsule collection and plan to start an activewear line featuring our unique digital prints in interesting silhouettes."

We don't know about you but these sustainable fashion brands in Singapore definitely make us want to purchase with a little bit more mindfulness.

Find out more about's inaugural TencelTM Fashion Design Competition 2019  a 5-day workshop held from March to July here.



Pleats make for a crisp and tailored look without looking too strict and structured. It's no wonder this style continuously owns some of the best looks, whether on the runway or in street style. This is why in its greatest manifestation, the pleated skirt, it never ceases to exist in our Clozetters' wardrobes. Just check out these looks for proof! 

Earth (tones) with the sky and seas

FAVE 5: Pleated Skirts - cforcassan

(Photo from: cforcassan)

Cosy layers

FAVE 5: Pleated Skirts - Lingwei

(Photo from: Lingwei)