Are You Applying UX Principles to Your Life? (You Should)

by | 3 minute read

I sat in on Bre­on­na Rodriguez' keynote address at the Colum­bus Women in Dig­i­tal Annu­al Con­fer­ence and I'd like to share some of her ideas on per­son­al and pro­fes­sion­al growth. As a lead dig­i­tal design­er for Sesame Street and a dig­i­tal entre­pre­neur, she has a cool twist on the user expe­ri­ence mod­el. She spoke on: The UX of your life: Avoid your pit­falls and con­quer life with con­fi­dence.

"I do not always have my shit togeth­er," Rodriguez said to the laugh­ing crowd. "But I can get my shit togeth­er very very quick­ly!"

She told us to check our lives for "sys­tem fail­ure" signs that could indi­cate we need to re-boot and/or make some changes to run smooth­ly and effi­cient­ly – which, in turn, brings hap­pi­ness and con­tent­ment.

Recent­ly, her own signs of sys­tem fail­ure includ­ed:

  1. Look­ing down at the cof­fee table and see­ing five emp­ty taco wrap­pers
  2. Wak­ing up in a sour mood
  3. Down­ing a glass (or glass­es) of wine like it's water at night
  4. Plow­ing through mon­ey for some retail ther­a­py
  5. Turn­ing down "night­time car­dio" with her boyfriend

"I real­ized some­thing wasn't right," she admit­ted. So when this hap­pens, and the signs are clear, she returns "to the map of my life." Rodriguez sug­gest­ed reflect­ing on your goals and visu­al­iz­ing where you want to go with your career as a map. She also knows how easy it is to let out­side influ­ences tear you down and change your course direc­tion. Try­ing to keep up with peo­ple you see in Pin­ter­est pho­tos and Insta­gram posts is exhaust­ing and can com­plete­ly derail you.

You start to see that "you're not liv­ing your own design," she said. "You're liv­ing some­one else's."

When you start to feel like you're not doing enough, not accom­plish­ing enough goals, not work­ing from a beach, and oth­er defeat­ing thoughts are run­ning through your head at all hours, just remem­ber that those Insta­gram pics are not real. No one actu­al­ly gets work done while sit­ting in the blaz­ing sun in a biki­ni on a desert­ed beach with a per­son­al pho­tog­ra­ph­er, make­up artist and hair styl­ist fol­low­ing them around for 45 min­utes. It is not real life. And it is not your real life.

Rodriguez rec­om­mend­ed tak­ing some time with your­self and writ­ing down all the things you love. No rules, no timers, just free thought on paper. Then, she said, make a list of all the things you val­ue. Don't think about any­body else's input! Write only what you val­ue. Then make a list of what else you want to do with and in your life – both pro­fes­sion­al­ly and per­son­al­ly. For exam­ple, write down the job titles you still want, the skills you'd like to grow, and things you want to do.

"Then take out the top five of each list," she said. "That's all you need. Focus on the neces­si­ty of the top five only. With­in that bound­ary you will find con­trol over your map again."

Nar­row­ing your focus will help you feel less over­whelmed, ease anx­i­ety and allow you to thrive. Sure, you might get inspired by some­thing and want to add it to your list or move it up in pri­or­i­ty lev­el. Great! Add it, but main­tain your top fives until one can be swapped out for a new one. And be cer­tain a new goal is real­ly what you want, not what some­one else wants from you.

"Peo­ple will wait," Rodriguez said. "You decide what you do and don't do and when."

Courtney Huckabay
Court­ney is the Edi­tor for Sales­Fu­el Today. She ana­lyzes sec­ondary cus­tomer research and our pri­ma­ry Audi­enceS­CAN research. Court­ney is a grad­u­ate of Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­si­ty.