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How Do You Juggle Your Life, Work And Keeping Up With The Design Industry?

UX Planet — Medium | Guy Ligertwood

Question 13: How to manage being a busy designer

A little nod to a big week in Australia

20 Designers, 20 Weeks, 1 Question Per Week

Learn From twenty experienced designers as we go deep into one question every week.

This week we look at juggling what going on your life and keeping up with the deign industry

Previous articles in the series (so far)

Intro Article: Get to know the designers
Question 1: How did you get into design?
Question 2: How your typical work day?
Question 3:What things you wish you knew when you started in design?
Question 4: What are the best ways for you to stay inspired?
Question 5: What do you want to see in my UX design portfolio?
Question 6: 5 important questions you need to be able to answer in the UX interview
Question 7: 5 design books every UX designer should read
Question 8: Imposter syndrome: Your experience with it as a designer and tips to manage it
Question 9: 5 non designer books every UX designer should read
Question 10: What’s the best design advice you’ve ever received?
Question 11: 5 things that make a great UX designer
Question 12: What have you struggled with in your your career and how did you overcome it?
Question 13: (you’re here) How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

“Design is who I am, not what I do — which means it can be tricky to delineate between life and work.” (Chirry-Lee)

“It’s crazy how much better I am at design and problem solving when I’ve cleared my head a bit.” (Buzz)

Overall I don’t have a fixed formula, it just comes down to a mindset. Work is always there when you get back, so work smart and take chances.” (Graeme)

Simon Pan — Senior Interaction Designer at Google, San Francisco, USA

(*Since we started the series Simon has moved from Medium to Google to work on Google News)

Nationality:

Australian 🇦🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

A big shift for me happened when I started to think about work and life as “work-life harmony” (instead of balance). Framing things this way suggests there’s no strict trade-off to be made, rather that they both influence each other in a non-competing way.

Before this, I struggled with over-working. For years I sacrificed my time, health, happiness and relationships for work. It came to a point where I realised that it was not worth it.

I coped by being more realistic and setting better boundaries at work and in life. Doing so helped me better prioritize where I spent my time and also forced my to minimize distractions. Being productive and delivering value at work made me a better person at home and vice versa.

As far as keeping up with the design industry, I’ve honestly never felt the need. Our methods haven’t progressed since I started out; trends are trends for good reason; and evolving tools are just a natural part of trying out new stuff in my workday. I do however feel like I need to be always improving and learning new things. Most of this I do through books.

Where can people follow you?

simonpan.com or on twitter

Stephanie Engle — Product Designer at Cruise Automation, Menlo Park, USA

(*Since we started the series Stephanie has moved from Facebook to Cruise Automation to work on self driving cars)

Nationality:

American 🇺🇸

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

Frankly, I don’t always. Beyond setting limits, exercising, and the typical stuff people do to find balance, one thing I’ve tried to do is ensure that I’m choosing work that encourages better habits.

For example, trying out the products I design used to always require staring at devices; now, working on self-driving cars at Cruise, it means getting outside and letting a car drive me around San Francisco.

I know I’ll always struggle to separate work and life, so the least I can do is try to choose work that intersects with my well-being.

Where can people follow you?

On Twitter

Andrew Doherty — CEO, Another.ai, Berlin, Germany

Formerly Product Design Manager at Google, Mountain View

Nationality:

Australian 🇦🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

“I don’t cope!”

Where can people follow you?

My website or on Medium

Nirissa Govender — Product Designer at Majid Al Futtaim in Dubai

(*Since we started the series Nirissa has moved from Standard Bank in South Africa to Product Designer at Majid Al Futtaim in Dubai)

Nationality:

South African 🇿🇦

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

I’m a strong believer in a healthy work/life balance. As much as I love and enjoy my job and the design industry, I also love my personal time. The support of management plays a huge role in allowing one to manage a good work/life balance.

I have been lucky enough in recent years to work for companies that encourage work/life balance. Its important to talk to the right people about what is working for you and whats not, and make decisions to change direction if needed.

While life happens and situations change, I try to avoid ending up in a place I don’t want to be. Sometimes life just happens, and its difficult to control whats happening around me.

I’m sometimes overwhelmed by my work, tough deadlines, or by frustrations that most design teams experience. In this case, I try to focus on the task at hand, because that is the only bit that I can control. I focus on doing my best and getting the job done.

A colleague once said this to me when I was having a tough week at work, “This too shall pass, it might pass like a kidney stone, but it will eventually pass” It made me laugh at the time, but I often find myself thinking of that quote when I’m having a rough day at work 🙂

In terms of my personal life, I do try to make deliberate choices about what I want from life and how I want to spend my time. My husband and I often set short term and long terms goals which allows us to plan.

It may be as simple as making time for a date night or it may be something that takes more planning like a long vacation. Whatever it may be, make time for it and follow though.

Where can people follow you?

My Linkedin

Adham Dannaway — Senior UI/UX designer, Contract/Freelance, Sydney, Australia

Nationality:

Australian 🇦🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

When I’m feeling overwhelmed, I tend to make a lot of lists to try and stay organised. Then it’s simply a matter of doing one list item at a time and working through things bit by bit. Once I’ve made some progress I tend to feel a lot better.

Before I get started on my work for the day, I spend a little bit of time reading the latest design news on Twitter and Designer News. This keeps me up to date with what’s happening and also helps keep me motivated.

Where can people follow you?

adhamdannaway.com

Ben Huggins — Sr Interaction Designer, YouTube, San Francisco, USA

Nationality:

American 🇺🇸

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

When I have a lot on my plate, it goes a long way to do some basic project planning. The idea of “I have a lot to do” is far more intimidating than looking at the actual items on paper. Planning things out allows me to offload them from my brain and focus on manageable pieces at a time.

In the past, I had the mindset where I’d just grind out work until it’s done. These days, I use a few questions to be more intentional in my approach:

  • What things are urgent vs important?
  • If I had to get this done in 1 hour, what would I do to be most impactful? (adapted from Peter Thiel via Tim Ferriss)
  • What feedback can I get (early) that will make sure I’m headed in the right direction to avoid churn or extra work?
  • What people or resources can help me with this?

When possible, I also keep my work context-based. I try to avoid thinking about “home stuff” or side projects at work, and limit the amount of “job stuff” I do outside the office. This forces me to create some balance between the two and helps me to focus in each setting.

Where can people follow you?

hugg.in or I’m @bhuggins on Twitter and Instagram

Chirryl-Lee Ryan (aka Cheech) — Head of Experience Design at Isobar, Hong Kong

Nationality:

Australian 🇦🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

Design is who I am, not what I do — which means it can be tricky to delineate between life and work. Being organised and prioritising what is important is paramount.

A wise friend once told me, “Delegate, delegate, delegate!” which couldn’t be truer. You’ll never be able do it all, but you shouldn’t feel guilty when you can’t.

Where can people follow you?

My Linkedin

Audrey Liu — Director of Product Design at Thumbtack, San Francisco, USA

Nationality:

American 🇺🇸

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

I’m the worst person to ask this question, because I always want to do it all. Ask my friends and they’ll tell you that I constantly over-commit. That said, in recent years (and after having kids), I’ve started to learn to prioritize out of sheer necessity.

Gone are the days when I could get everything done by just staying up later or working weekends. Now, I need to know where my contributions will have the most impact and focus my attention on those things and let the rest go or delegate it.

When I feel really overwhelmed, I ask for help.

I have the fortune of getting to work alongside some amazing people and have learned over time that no one can do everything alone. I also take the time to go for long walks. It helps me prioritize and think more clearly (through the noise).

Where can people follow you?

My Twitter

Nick Babich — Development Team Manager, Ring Central, Russia

Nationality:

Russian 🇷🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

Well, I try to find a balance. It’s not an easy thing, and for me, it’s directly related to the focus.

I try to focus on important (say, critical things) both in my life and work and not to switch to other activities until I solve the most critical one.

In fact, it’s really hard for me to do multitasking, so I try to plan a lot of things in a linear manner (sorted by priority and time sensibility). Thus, balance, planning and time management works for me prevent overwhelming for me.

Where can people follow you?

UX Planet, Twitter Facebook

Paola Mariselli — Product Designer, Facebook, Menlo Park, California, USA

Nationality: Peruvian 🇵🇪

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

It’s hard to “juggle” all of life’s priorities. The best advice I can offer is to carefully consider your life priorities from family and travel to money and power, then make sure your reality matches those priorities.

Once your life aligns with your values, you can focus on living in the present and enjoying your day-to-day. It’s a practice though, so it takes explicit, continuous attention to remain balanced and focused.

Where can people follow you?

Twitter or Medium

Alessandro Floridi — UX Manager at Deloitte, Sydney, Australia

Nationality:

Italian 🇮🇹

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

I love my job so much that I often sacrificed my family and my hobbies. My main focus now is to find a better balance between work and family.

Where can people follow you?

My Linkedin

Leslie Chicoine — Experience Design and Product Management Consultant, Denver, USA

Nationality:

American 🇺🇸

5 things that make a great UX Designer

Design is a career, and as they say, a marathon not a sprint. You will have good times, and trying times. I find that setting expectations about what I will get done each week, and being able to remind myself of what I accomplished at the end of the week goes a long way towards feeling like I’m progressing and productive.

Spending time talking with the engineers in my life is my favorite way to stay up to date with tech.

I find trying to read every link and article I come across during the week is a lost cause (and a distraction during the week!), so I bookmark things with Pocket. Then I spend some time decompressing on Friday by reading the ones that still sound meaningful a few days later.

Where can people follow you?

My Instagram and Twitter

Buzz Usborne — Product Designer at Help Scout, Sydney, Australia

Nationality:

British 🇬🇧 and recently Australian 🇦🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

When I feel overwhelmed by the design industry, or by my job in general I tend to switch off entirely. I’ll turn off my email, log out of twitter and spend some time away from screens.

It’s crazy how much better I am at design and problem solving when I’ve cleared my head a bit.

Where can people follow you?

My work at buzzusborne.com, my Twitter, my writing on Medium and my resume on Linkedin

Kylie Timpani — Senior Designer at Humaan, Perth, Australia

Nationality:

Australian 🇦🇺

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

To be honest, I don’t. I feel very overwhelmed most of the time. I either feel like I’m being left behind or that I’m letting something slip whether that thing is in my personal life or professional life.

When I’m feeling good and in ‘flow’ it’s because I’ve consciously decided on my priorities for that particular time and I’m staying true to them through my choices about how I spend my time and what I focus on.

Joel Califa did a great talk at MixinConf in 2016 about the overwhelm that can hit in the design/tech industry. Check it out, every second is worth watching.

Where can people follow you?

My Twitter and also on my Dribbble for haphazardly timed insights into my work.

Graeme Fulton — Writer, coder, designer at Marvel Gibraltar, UK

Nationality:

British 🇬🇧

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

When the most influential people at companies leave for whatever reason, they’re often replaced after a couple weeks and sometimes forgotten about altogether.

Remembering that is enough for me to put time aside for people and trips, no matter what deadlines are coming.

Overall I don’t have a fixed formula, it just comes down to a mindset. Work is always there when you get back, so work smart and take chances.

The results show if you’re going the right way — if the results are going wrong, the juggling is going wrong!

Where can people follow you?

My Twitter

Kaiting Huang — Interaction Designer at Google, in Seattle, USA

Nationality:

Taiwanese 🇹🇼

How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

Where can people follow you?

My Medium

If you enjoyed this…

Read the other articles in this series

Intro Article: Get to know the designers
Question 1: How did you get into design?
Question 2: How your typical work day?
Question 3:What things you wish you knew when you started in design?
Question 4: What are the best ways for you to stay inspired?
Question 5: What do you want to see in my UX design portfolio?
Question 6: 5 important questions you need to be able to answer in the UX interview?
Question 7: 5 design books every UX designer should read
Question 8: Imposter syndrome: Your experience with it as a designer and tips to manage it
Question 9: 5 non designer books every UX designer should read
Question 10: What’s the best design advice you’ve ever received?
Question 11: 5 things that make a great UX designer
Question 12: What have you struggled with in your your career and how did you overcome it?
Question 13: (you’re here) How do you juggle your life, work and keeping up with the design industry?

Thanks for the read, before you go

Clap 👏 👏 👏 if you enjoyed this article, so others can find it
Comment 💬 if you have a question you’d like to ask the designers
Follow me Guy Ligertwood to read all the articles in the series

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How Do You Juggle Your Life, Work And Keeping Up With The Design Industry? was originally published in UX Planet on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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