Designing your own life as a UX Designer — life, love, mental health, priorities and more
Where art is the true freedom of expression, design is a bit on the technical side. Design is what we do with constraints, while art is 100% pure creativity. You can do anything in the name of art and sell it as a modern art, contemporary art, cubism, impressionism, baroque and what not. While you can’t do the same with design. Design has to follow certain rules and guidelines, text should be within those invisible boxes to be readable, images need to be aligned to look appealing and so on.
But there are many people who struggle to maintain a balance between their lives and their careers, and those people are among us, they may be sitting right next to you in office, and they may also hand out a brilliant piece of advice sometimes. You may think they have everything sorted in their lives, but it’s not the case every time. Many times, those who do incredibly well in their careers, fall apart in their personal lives, and end up living in pain, misery and guilt.
While we are growing up in a heavily competitive and fast world, we are constantly busy in trying to prove our worth to those who matter to us. But are we actually proving our worth to those who matter? Or we end up proving our worth to only ourselves, because in the race, we leave behind those who really matter and start focusing on stuff that eventually turns into poison.
Career and money, both are important, but so is a fulfilling life with people we love, around us. I’ve graduated from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), which is one of the premier design schools of India, and I’ve seen students struggling so much with issues that they can’t even speak about. I’ve seen my dearest friends suffering through anxiety and depression. I’ve seen twenty years old girls popping sleeping pills because their anxiety won’t let them sleep. MenThe scenario is same everywhere, may it be a college, a school or a workplace. We have, as a human-race, failed to address things that genuinely matter, and things that should be given time and attention.
Endless meetings and conferences in office, endless load of work has pressured people so much that Indians have become the most hardworking force on the planet, not only this — they’re the ones who take least amount of vacations and spend minimum time with their families.
Would you count this as an achievement to celebrate? I will never do that! There are millions of people on the planet who don’t even get the privilege to meet their loved ones for the last time. Many children can’t attend funerals of their parents and grandparents because of work priorities, and many people die without their loved ones by their side — and in amidst all this I ask myself, what is all this worth in the end? For whom are we doing all this, if we can’t even make beautiful memories to carry with us to the grave, because certainly we can’t carry all our money to the grave!
Hence, I thought about writing this article, about sharing my two cents on the topic that deserves a mention here. As a UX Designer who designs things and interfaces every day, I thought what’s stopping me from designing my life? Who’s stopping me to do what I love at the end of each day? It’s all about priorities at the end. You believe it or not, but without a set of priorities, you can’t go about doing anything in life.
If you leave your work to attend your ill parents, it’s because they’re your priority, and if you leave an ailing friend to go to office, you do that because work is your priority there. Subconsciously, we all have a certain set of priorities in our lives, that we remember and follow, without even realizing. But sometimes, we end up prioritising our career and our work so much, that we forget that anything else exists in our lives. We think only if we hustle too much, only if we work too much, only if we focus too much is how we’re going to be successful, while that’s not the case.
Success has nothing to do with perfection! Stop worrying about getting things wrong. Get it wrong. Learn from your mistakes. Stop worrying about what other people think — it doesn’t matter. Be Brave. Use your voice. Ignore the doubters and work hard — Michelle Obama’s advice to her younger self.
Similarly, many other celebrities shared what they would advice to their younger self, and Rihanna’s advise is ‘SLEEP’.
May it be Missus Obama or even the biggest celebrity of the world, all of them have one thing to tell the people who are young enough right now, and that is — take a break. Sleep. Rest. Relax. Enjoy life as you go, while working as hard as you want to. Maintaining a balance is the key.
We all are planning for future, but we forget that the life that’s going on, on the side is never going to return either. Agreed. The future will be bright if we hustle today, but do you really think you would want to go river rafting in your eighties? Highly unlikely. The life that we are living, is also equally important as much as the future is, and that’s where some people make a difference.
Your mental health right now, matters as much as your planning for future, so give it equal importance, time and attention.You need to design your life in the constraints of career, personal life, entertainment, rest and vacations. Everything should be in a proper balance, such that you enjoy going to work as much as you enjoy a vacation to Swiss Alps!
Many people I recently met, told me that they don’t have time for love, and I’m surprised! Love is the most beautiful thing you can ever experience, and you don’t have time for that? Really? This generation, seems to be the busiest of every other generation that has lived on this planet before them! And no, not only they don’t have time for love, but also they got no time to communicate, create a bond with someone, or even have sex. That’s why we have apps like Tinder, where you can hook up and move on.
There are people who have claimed that even despite being married, they hardly spend time with their spouse, because both have careers that are highly demanding. Every time I meet such people to have a small talk, I’m scared. I’m scared about what our future holds in store for us. That time is gone when couples used to walk hand in hand in a park. Now it seems like people don’t even have time for such simple, small joys in life.
Here is where you need to find a balance. A place where you can be comfortable, vulnerable, happy, emotional, sad, angry and even lazy, and that place has to be your home, not your office. Life is such a race that it’s never going to end.
No matter how fast you drive on a highway or how many cars you take over, there’s going to be someone who will always be ahead of you! In process of taking over everyone, you’re missing out on the beautiful journey that you’ll never get to live again. Don’t do that to yourself.
I know this article is completely out of context of UX Design or anything, but it’s important to everyone at the end. I just wanted to write it and share it across. So, if you’re the one who has not taken a walk in the park since a long time, or didn’t get time to listen to that favourite song of yours? Give yourself a favour, get some time out and relax. You’ll feel the difference in your productivity levels as well!
That’s all for now, let’s keep motivating and uplifting each other to make this world an awesome place to live 😎