What are you working on?

I spend a lot of my time these days making parallels between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and my life as a designer.

Every day I discover a new link between the two and a little light bulb goes off in my head. Sad I know, but hey. You're reading about it.

Here’s another one.

There’s a few things you tend to say to somebody when you’ve met them for the first time in Jiu Jitsu.

  1. How long have you been training?
  2. What are you working on?

Question number 1 isn’t that applicable to design, but question number 2 absolutely is.

Over the years I’ve found myself asking designers a variant of that question over and over.

What are you working on?
What’s exciting you right now?
What new stuff have you been doing?

The design industry—particularly in the web industry where I do most of my work—moves so insanely quickly that the question is always a useful and interesting one to ask. It’s also interesting to follow people on Twitter and look at Twitter for the same reason.

I ask this question in Jiu Jitsu because I want to know if somebody is working on some cool new technique that I’ve never seen before, and it’s asked for the same reason in design. I want to see what other people are doing, what I can learn from it and what I can apply to my knowledge and ways of working.

As we get further into our careers as designers we can often start to look inwardly more and more. We think we know it all and we think we’ve seen it all so we ask the question less and less of others. We think we’re better than that.

I try to ask it as often as I can, because I don’t want to stop learning.

What are you working on?

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