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Going Solo: Design and Productivity Techniques for the Team of One

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What happens when you’re the only designer around? You might find yourself working for yourself, working remotely, or maybe you’re simply the only designer on your team. Being “a team of one” has its own unique challenges. In this session we’ll explore techniques for self-motivation, creativity, and organization, as well as discuss methods you can use when relating to your client, team or larger organization. Learn how to keep your energy lively and your productivity up – even if you’re still in your bathrobe!

Published in: Self Improvement
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Going Solo: Design and Productivity Techniques for the Team of One

  1. 1. Going Solo: Design and Productivity Techniques for the Team of One @crispinTX #BigD15 #teamOfOne Crispin Reedy
  2. 2. Crispin Reedy! crispinreedy.com! @crispinTX! ! Voice Interaction Designer President of @avixd 15 years working from home Usually the only designer 3 different employers ~30 different clients
  3. 3. My coworkers
  4. 4. Who’s Here? • Just started working from home? • Been doing it for a while? • Thinking about it? • Don’t WFH but the only designer on the team?
  5. 5. What’s it like?
  6. 6. The Idea
  7. 7. The Oatmeal The Reality
  8. 8. 20 Reasons Why Intelligent People Fail (Robert Steinberg) Lack of Motivation Procrastination Lack of ! Impulse Control Distractibility Inability to Delay Gratification
  9. 9. Mental FocusCommunication! and! Collaboration Designing Alone Representing! Design
  10. 10. Mental Focus
  11. 11. Mental Focus • Sanity! • Metacognition • Pomodoros • Routines, Checklists, Systems • Fighting Procrastination
  12. 12. Get out of the house!! Volunteer! Join a professional organization, team or Meetup! Take classes!
  13. 13. At the office: the hive mind
  14. 14. At home: sailing solo
  15. 15. How do you stay sane ! when you’re the only one in the room?
  16. 16. Metacognition: Become Your Own Lifehacker Flickr: Vox
  17. 17. You are a mad scientist! ! and the experiment is! yourself!
  18. 18. Idea%/%Tip% Implement% Change% Log%Results% Evaluate:% Keep%or% No?% Find% Another% Change%
  19. 19. micapie.com Keep tabs on your:! • Mood • Energy Level • Concentration Level • Type of Work • Time of Day • Productivity
  20. 20. micapie.com Use tools like:! • Journal • Habit / Mood Tracking Apps Make observations and apply them
  21. 21. My Own Observations
  22. 22. Morning: High Energy Afternoon: The Cliff
  23. 23. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you all day.” - Mark Twain
  24. 24. Save email and busywork for low-energy times
  25. 25. When you’re blocked by the need to be social, what’s the plan?
  26. 26. Change your energy: location, movement
  27. 27. Keep a list of what doesn’t work
  28. 28. Start something new for tomorrow at the end of the day.
  29. 29. Pomodoros
  30. 30. Decide on the task
  31. 31. Set the timer (25 minutes or more)
  32. 32. Do the work
  33. 33. Review & take a short break
  34. 34. Pomodoros • Work on the task uninterruptedly; no answering phone / email • 25 minutes is “standard,” but what works for you? • After 4 pomodoros, take a “real” break • Get up, walk around, get outside • If you go longer, take a break after 2-3
  35. 35. Routines, Checklists, Systems
  36. 36. “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
  37. 37. How the starfish opens the clam Jon Bloom
  38. 38. Goals! Systems! Checklists! Habits! The virtuous cycle
  39. 39. Types of Lists • Todo lists • GTD • Procedure lists • Daily life checklists
  40. 40. Todo Lists • Schedule design review! • Make travel plans! • UXPA Submission! • Try Lucid Chart! • Write whitepaper • Grocery! • Bookstore! • Lowe’s! • Call roofer
  41. 41. • Trello! • Evernote! • Nirvana! • Remember the Milk! • Etc.
  42. 42. Procedure Checklists
  43. 43. Having things written down is like seeing your thoughts outside your head. Warner Brothers
  44. 44. Daily Life Checklists: Build Habits
  45. 45. Why Habits? Decision Fatigue
  46. 46. Fighting Procrastination: Use a Site Blocker
  47. 47. Communication and Collaboration
  48. 48. Interaction! Workspace! Process! Results! Factors of Remote Design UIE Seminar by @JimKalbach! Designing Remotely: ! Effective Techniques for Remote Design
  49. 49. Presence
  50. 50. Presence • Organizations differ • All remote vs. only a few people remote, the rest onsite • The most difficult situation to deal with • Persistence is key
  51. 51. Collaboration: Digital First • Communication Tools! • Phone / Audio! • Screen sharing! • Webcams! • File repositories! • Chat! • Email • Design-Specific Tools! • Online prototyping! • Online testing! • Virtual whiteboard
  52. 52. Conferencing! ! • Skype 66% • Hangouts 43% • GoToMeeting 32% • WebEx 24% UIE Seminar by @JimKalbach! Designing Remotely: ! Effective Techniques for Remote Design Chat! ! • Slack / Skype 43% • Google 31% • What’s App 18% File Sharing! ! • Dropbox / Google Drive 54% • Internal 34% • Evernote 16% • Box 14%
  53. 53. Macs Especially: Be Prepared!
  54. 54. Practice safe conference calling
  55. 55. Get a headset
  56. 56. Don’t trust mute
  57. 57. Close your chat (and other windows)
  58. 58. Tend your knitting
  59. 59. The person who is most prepared for the meeting wins the meeting • Brainstorming! • Discussion! • Design Review • Goal! • Agenda! • Deck / Materials! • Capture Decisions
  60. 60. Sometimes you just need to get together
  61. 61. Online Prototyping! ! • Invision 48% • Don’t use 44% • Marvel 13% • UXPin 10% • Proto.IO 9% • Internal Tool 8% UIE Seminar by @JimKalbach! Designing Remotely: ! Effective Techniques for Remote Design Online Testing! ! • Don’t use 59% • User Zoom 21% • Other 14% • Optimal Workshop 11% • Internal Tool 9%
  62. 62. Lucidchart
  63. 63. mural.ly
  64. 64. Optimal Workshop
  65. 65. Agree on your suite of digital tools
  66. 66. Maintain your virtual workspace
  67. 67. Train new team members and clients
  68. 68. Designing Alone
  69. 69. Create an office that supports different kinds of work
  70. 70. Bodystorming for One flickr: xian
  71. 71. Go out and get input in other places
  72. 72. Recognize when you’re lost in the weeds • Catalog the medicine cabinet! • Cut the work up and remix it! • Give yourself permission to play
  73. 73. Recover and keep going
  74. 74. Representing Design
  75. 75. Justify your existence
  76. 76. Constraints largely come in the form of other people
  77. 77. • Invite people in! • Make things together! • Teach them about design! • Listen to their needs! • Get OK with being challenged! • Don’t sweat the small stuff! • Choose your hills
  78. 78. Persistence is key
  79. 79. you have a poem to offer! it is made of action @crispinTX “Notes on the Assemblage”! Juan Felipe Herrera

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