If you’re reading this, you already understand that learning new things is important. Not only that, but it makes most of us excited and inspired, which manifests as great work.
Many of us hear about new practices and tools all the time. And while choosing the right ones for our process takes work and research, it’s a necessity to improving. Implementing a new technique into our workflow seems daunting because we have proven ways of producing results. Spending more time to complete something we know how to do already doesn’t come naturally. Only a conscious effort of practice will result in new habits.
After the last conference I attended, I followed up with some attendees. One of them said that one of her main challenge was implementing a pattern library following the excitement and inspiration of the event.
Paraphrasing her: “The need is there and we could easily push for buy-in, but can’t make the time to put other projects on hold to create it”.
I know where she’s coming from. I’ve felt this way a lot. It’s natural to want to focus on something new to master it and to reinforce the principles you’re learning. There is always a hiccup in timing when we try something new. When I feel like this, there are a few fears at play.
- What if I learn it, and realize it’s not for me, my process or my team?
- If I don’t commit to this technique right now, I may have to keep re-learning it when I have time to go back and play with it/test it again.
- What if I can’t get buy-in to use it even after I find out it’s perfect?
- Implementing something new will take chunks of time away from other prioritized commitments.
Too often, these fears result in accepted, outdated techniques and professionals who lose value. For others, these things push us to want to learn it all right now, put it into practice and say it’s the way for us.
But there is another way. It’s not easy, but a bit of conscious planning goes a long way. Here are my suggestions:
Don’t Look at it as an Extra Project
Example: Component Library. It could be a project in itself. But the reality is that many don’t have time to focus on this as a project solely, or can’t get buy-in. It is a huge project. But if you think about another way to build a component library, you could actually build on out over time, and collect pieces as you go/make them. Yes there is an argument to be made about how this might affect the cohesiveness, etc. But even if you have the luxury to create a library as a dedicated project, you soon realize that it’s ever-changing anyway. Patterns, trends and technology change.
Let Go of the Stress of Doing it all at Once
Try something new you’ve been trying to implement. Don’t introduce too much at once. I am the first to admit that sometime when I try a new tool which may rely on contingencies, I put it on the back burner. But be easy on yourself. And stay consistent. Use reminders as part of your workflow. When you get to a part of a process where you have the opportunity to try something new, don’t allow fears to take over. Be excited, accept that it will be worth the extra time, and do it in small doses.
The more we do anything, the more it will become part of our process. Practice changing just one thing right now and focus on it until it becomes the norm.
Experiment and Never Stop Learning
Most importantly, don’t let the idea of taking a little more time up front keep you from doing.
Accept that Trends, Workflows and Tools are Ever-Evolving
The sooner you get comfortable with this concept, the easier it will become to use new techniques in your daily work.
I would encourage anyone held up by buy-in issue to try some of the principles outlined in the article: When Your Organization Doesn’t Value Design.
The more you keep learning, the more you want to play and create. The thought of missing out on a great tool or time-saver pulls us to consuming this knowledge. I’ll be working on this concept the next few months, and I would love to share what I’ve found that works better for me. I would love to hear what’s worked for you.