7 Habits You Need To Adopt To Become A Better Designer

Great designers are not born, they are made. Image credit: Unsplash.

Great designers are not born, they are made. If you are looking for ways to become a better designer, look no further but at these 7 habits, you need to adopt this year to become more successful.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.” — Aristotle

Inspired by the world famous book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey I’ve decided to share a list of 7 habits you need to adopt this year to become a better designer.

1. Prioritize

There are endless opportunities and choices you can make every day. You must set a clear vision of what you want to achieve and make an action plan. Yearly, monthly, daily planning is a key to a successful career as a designer, whether you’re a freelancer or working in a company.

2. Take breaks

Working hard all the time won’t take you far. If you just waste your time and energy on things that don’t really matter it doesn’t mean that you are efficient. Apply 80/20 rule and identify what works and what doesn’t. Spend your energy on things that work and start working smarter instead of harder.

You must take breaks. I am talking about daily breaks in between your productive hours when you stare at the screen for hours and I am talking about totally unplugging from your creative work for a while to reflect and see the big picture.

3. Go the extra mile

You know how to deliver exceptional service and gain the loyalty of your clients? Go the extra mile. Overdeliver, always. Do things other people don’t like to do. Take time to connect in person. Send handwritten letters. Make beneficial introductions. Work on proposing win-win scenarios that benefit the client and you.

4. Let go of your ego

Your work is not you. Let go of your ego and become more mindful about serving your client, not your ego. Yes, you want to try out that new trendy technique but is it really going to help drive more sales for your client’s company? Stop defending your work and start making right decisions instead of trying to be right all the time.

5. Question everything

Never take things for granted. Whether it’s your career or a new product or service you’re designing, always ask questions. In the startup design world, designers tend to make decisions based on their gut. Make time to question your customers, question your stakeholders and use data. Asking questions is an act of purifying communication and reducing the possibility of misunderstandings.

6. Listen

Learning is important to successful designers. One of the best ways to learn is to listen to those who have spent time in the industry. Soak in what they’re saying and why they’re saying it.

7. Keep learning

Once you tell yourself that you’re good enough that’s when you should start worrying. The design world is evolving at an incredible pace and no one on this planet is capable of keeping up to date. Make sure you allocate time daily to learn new things and study your field so you can do your job more efficiently, come up with revolutionary ideas and keep inspired.

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What are your habits as a designer? How are planning to become a better designer this year? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment or tweet me at @tomaslau.

Originally published at www.forbes.com on December 31, 2015.