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Personal development goals every designer should set

Personal development goals every designer should set


  • What do you gain by getting it?
  • What do I lose by getting it?
  • What if I did nothing?
  • What if I succeed?
  • 📐 Develop a plan
  • 🗓️ Track your progress
  • 🎯 Keep it relevant
  • Become a better listener
  • Learn to accept criticism
  • Become more effective at work
  • Learn something new
  • Grow your network

Become a confident presenter

Before deciding on what actions to take to become a confident presenter, it is very important to understand the nature of your fear. You will find many books on this topic. I found very good Dale Carnegie’s The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking. The key to become a more confident speaker is to practice as much as possible. At the beginning it could help if you present it together with someone or make notes or script for a talk. Schedule and lead brainstorming sessions, host workshops or apply as a speaker to different meetups or webinars.

Become a better listener

Improving your listening skills will help you truly understand what people are saying in conversations and meetings. It is also particularly useful when conducting user interviews. The best way to practice is to pay close attention to what the other person is saying, listen without judging or jumping to conclusions. Asking relevant questions can show that you’ve been listening and help clarify what has been said.

  • “Did you mean that…”
  • “I’m not sure if I understood what you were saying about…”
  • “How did that make you feel?”
  • “What did you do next?”
  • “What do you think about…”

Learn to accept criticism

Having an ability to accept constructive criticism is something that most of us need to improve on. Without criticism, we hardly grow and become the person we want to become. When receiving a criticism ask for specific examples, try to understand whether this is an isolated case and look for concrete solutions.

Become more effective at work

Your ability to organise yourself and effectively and efficiently use your time, energy or mental capacity has a major impact on your success. Good organisation can also improve your concentration and ability to learn. To manage your time better start making a schedule, create a to-do list, minimise interruptions and learn to delegate.

Learn something new

To keep up with the evolving industry you need to allocate some time to learn new things. There is always something new to learn, ways to polish your skills, experiment with design styles or work on side projects. Browse through Behance or Dribbble to get inspiration and courage to try something new. Muzli is also a great source of inspiration and it will keep you up-to-date.

Grow your network

Having a great idea is not enough and without sharing it with others no one will ever hear about it. If you have not been actively networking, make an effort to connect with new people. Exchanging ideas and talking about projects or tools with other designers will shape you into a better designer. Start joining webinars, meetups, design festivals or join different slack design communities. Take advantage of digital networking and start growing your network today.

  • Ask yourself “What do I really want?” without any limitations or barricades.
  • Once you have a vision of what you want to be or where you want to be at a certain point in the future, create a plan and decide what actions are required to reach your dreams. Remember it doesn’t matter if they are written as S.M.A.R.T. goals or OKRs or if you just have vision and plan in your head. Find whatever works best for you and keep going, keep progressing, learn from your mistakes and celebrate your successes along the way. 🎉 🎉 🎉
  • From my perspective soft skills such as communicational or organisational skills are one of the most important skills, no matter what industry you work in. Therefore, setting up one of the goals to become a better communicator or more efficient at work could have a major impact on your career progress.
  • To keep up with the evolving industry you need to allocate some time to learn new things.
  • Your network is your net worth, so keep growing your network as exchanging ideas with others will shape you into a better designer.



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