P.J. Oneri has put together a list of tips for the developer thinking about transitioning to the field of design.
Tip #3: Design everything you do
During my first internship out of college, Stella Lai gave me this tip and it has been the best professional advice I ever received. Try to practice this tip as literally as possible. The obvious areas are how you dress and how your house/apartment/room is organized. I would suggest not stopping there. Your emails should be written/composed clearly and beautifully. Your conversations with individuals should be designed through how you listen, how you maintain eye contact, how you respond (both spoken and unspoken). Everything you do should have a reason, no matter how small. Design requires constant practice, this is a great way to keep growing.
This is profound advice, and reminds me of the practice of Mindfulness (not that I regularly practice this myself, if at all). It’s the “Designer Mind” and, like the discipline of Mindfulness or a daily meditation, as Oneri says, requires constant practice.
In conversation this focus can lead to a more powerful voice. I’m reminded of how David Lynch speaks. When Lynch speaks, he very consciously and deliberately chooses his words, which I find clear, plain and muscular. Lynch is a film-maker, writer, producer, and director who also meditates daily.
Synchronicity – as I write this, Lynch’s voice comes on the radio, talking about meditation and creativity.
This is Lynch demonstrating how to cook Quinoa: