Why it’s important to keep a work journal

Stuff my Momma taught me

My Mom gave me great advice when I began working. Always document your successes (and failures). But did I listen to her? Nope.

Creating a portfolio has changed since I started designing. I‘m positive that I can dig up a printed portfolio from when I started from a cardboard box somewhere. But I wont. The thought of seeing work that old is terrifying.

Everything is digital now. And so much easier. Just grab some screenshots of the work, slap it on a website, and done. Easy peasy. But not lately. The role of a product designer requires critical thinking that doesn’t translate with a smattering of screenshots. Progress and thought needs shine through sketches, wireframes, user maps, etc. etc. Not just the final product.

Thinking about my portfolio reminded of my Mom’s wise words and how important and relevant it is now. As a product designer you tend to work on a variety of projects, each with different requirements and work required. Logging your work on a bi-weekly or monthly basis makes updating your portfolio and tracking of your progress as a professional is vital to growth and understanding yourself.

By documenting your work flow and contributions to each project make the idea of redoing your portfolio less daunting. Even better is to just update your portfolio after every project. But I know you. You hated your portfolio the day after you put it up.

So gather up all your sketches, take photos of collaborative work you’ve been doing, and fire up a new text document. Use Medium if you’re feeling randy. Better yet, kick it old school and create a physical journal. Then you can take instagrammable photos of it at odd angles to show how awesome you are.

It seems like a pain in the beginning, but trust me. It’s worth it. Being able to look back at your old work to see your progress is a boon.

So listen to my Momma and get to work. You’re already behind.

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