Senior Design Systems Designer • Manchester, UK 🐝

Podcasts, books, and articles that helped me navigate difficult decisions, and my favourite reads and writes of February 2023.

A hand reaching up towards a lit sky lantern at night, with stars in the background.
Photo by David Ananda on Unsplash
I know I know, this one sounds all doom and gloom, but the theme is all about making difficult decisions.

We’re 3 years on from the pandemic. After the first series of lockdowns, people seemed to recognise the importance of being their authentic selves. In fact, it drove me to write about the reasons people in UX and Product Design felt driven to quit.

But what about when you’re given a choice between two different, but equally exciting paths?

Security, or your dreams?

I came across a TikTok (as you do) that really got me thinking. User @tradeinvestress had this to say:

“No amount of security is worth suffering of a mediocre life, that is chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.”

Sorry but you can’t convince me that living for “the weekends” is what we are here, on earth, to do #mindsetshift #limitingbeliefs #pursueyourdreams

♬ som original - bernardo santanna

It’s only a short 10 second clip, but just let that sit in your mind for a second.

The key part here is the second half, being “chained to a routine that has killed your dreams”.

If you’ve read Rich Dad Poor Dad, you’ll know what I’m talking about. In essence, schools and society are set up to “trap” people into the rat race. Scoring a promotion, getting that bigger house, nicer car. You progress and earn enough to be comfortable, but not to be financially free.

An alternative story capturing the same concept is the Mexican Fisherman parable. The fisherman, who spends his days fishing and drinking with his friends, is told he can start a company to earn millions over 10–20 years. Only to retire so he can fish and drink with his friends every day.

The point I’m trying to drive home, is that it’s important to never lose sight of your dreams. If working on a particular mission or for a particular company is your dream, then power to you, but what about when you retire? What will you regret not trying?

For me, while I’ve created a comfortable living, I do want to do at least one more relocation. Live in a different country, finally be fluent enough in another language for that to be my everyday tongue. I can’t do those things here, but it’s up to me to put the pieces in place to make that happen.

Determining your life goals

Don’t worry, if you haven’t tried this before it’s okay, it’s meant to be uncomfortable. Here’s a couple resources I can recommend:

A podcast about being your authentic self

psa: it’s time you lived for yourself by Anna on “inside anna’s mind”.

I’ve linked Anna before but I believe it’s worth linking again. She’s wise beyond her years and this episode helps you explore what it really means to be your authentic self. No, not everyone is lucky enough to find what they feel is their purpose in life, but you can at least get closer to figuring that out by living more intentionally.

A controversial, but worthy book

A picture of the cover of “The 4-hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss—sillhouette of a person on a hammock, tied between two palm trees.

It’s a bold promise, and not everyone can actually get there, but The 4-hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss still has many valuable lessons to take away. What I loved the most was flipping the idea of retirement on its head.

Why do we have to wait until we’re at the government-mandated retirement age? Why not take a mini-retirement every 5 or 10 years? You’ve earned it, after all.

By starting with the goal of the life we want to have, we can work backwards, then make steps to achieve it.

Live the life you want

Let’s be honest: it’s gonna be difficult, uncomfortable, and you’ll definitely need to make sacrifices to get there.

But it’s worth it.

I implore you to take some time out, introspect, and see if you’ve been living the life you’ve wanted. If not, it’s not too late. It’s never too late to start living the life you want, today.

Liked this? Forward to a friend, subscribe to my newsletter, Medium, YouTube, or become a Medium member to support my writing (and other writers, too!).

February 2023 round-up

What I’ve been reading 👀

What I Learned as a Product Designer at Apple, by Andrea Pacheco

Is MVP dead? I loved learning about Andrea’s experience, flipping the MVP model upside down. Yes the industry learned to break out of the mental prison of waterfall development using MVP, but sometimes to execute an experience you need to deliver the best product. MLP is what other’s have called it, but I think Andrea goes one step further.

How loss is experienced by designers and 10 tips to find yourself again, by Darren Yeo

I love this, as it’s a stark reminder that we’re all human at the end of the day. Not only can loss take many forms, and someone else’s loss can still affect us, there’s a reminder that it’s one of many biases. Any UX researcher worth their salt can articulate biases that affect our decision making, and our work lives.

What I’ve been writing ✍️

Emojis depicting a morning, to afternoon, to evening flow: a yawning face with sunrise and megaphone; a thinking face and city skyline; and a smiling, writing moon face with a night city skyline respectively.

A day in the life of a Design System designer
My experiences spending all day, every day, thinking, building, and sharing a comprehensive design system. (Yes, designing, coding, roadmapping… the lot!)

A diagram with annotated navbars and toggles, with title: modelling Figma Components with Properties or Composition?

A masterclass in modelling Components in Figma
Should you go property-heavy or composition-heavy? A cautionary tale.

What I’ve been producing 🎙️

Isometric drawing of a grid of books. All are blank except the central one, titled: Diary of Design Thinking.
Me and Simon Hoang are loving these monthly conversations.

Do designers need to draw, stuck in Senior and Lead positions, and when stakeholders disagree
We’re on schedule! In Season 2 episode 2, we’re talking about the difficult topics that others don’t seem to be discussing. Sometimes, your squad goes in circles or can’t seem to stick to a decision. We discuss strategies you can use to get over the decision fatigue you and your team are probably feeling.

Listen now on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.

In case you missed the previous edition

Silhouette of a boy sitting against a tree, reading a book, with the sunset in the background.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Learn anything quickly, the power of purpose, and the designer that couldn’t draw
My favourite UX, UI, and design reads of January 2023, and a story of learning and purpose.

Liked this? Forward to a friend, get email updates, or become a Medium member to support my writing (and other writers, too!).
You’ve successfully subscribed to Chuck Rice
Welcome back! You’ve successfully signed in.
Great! You’ve successfully signed up.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.