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Experience Design 2012 – The year that has been | IxDA Asia Podcast

Experience Design Trends 2012

Some of my thoughts on how to maximize performance at work

  • Recognizing Peak Performance: While performing a task, there is always a “warm up time” and “peak time”. You need about 5 to 8 mins of warm up before your mind settles down to the task at hand and optimizes its resources for maximizing performance for the task at hand. The peak time lasts anytime between 20 minutes to 60 minutes or more – depending on one’s ability and concentration limits. So the key here is, if you get distracted (Phonecall, SMS, email or any other distraction that shifts the focus of your brain) in your peak performance, you will need some amount of warm up time – may be lesser than 5 minutes but still need some. So the way to handle is to “time box” for regular periods in the day – it can be as less as 15 minutes or an hour or more – where you consciously avoid all calls, smses, chats, etc. and just complete the task. Once the set period is complete, take a break (attend to the distractions). Then create another time box again.
  • Lateral Thinking – A strong tool that really helps in breaking down patterns. Its about asking “why not” or “why” and digging deep into a problem or statement. Will help us come out of templatized thinking and look for creative ways of dealing with situations. Daily tasks may get routine or templated after a while. This may help keep each and every situation fresh and thereby more motivating to come up with and sort out everyday issues. Especially a great tool for designers in solving complex problems.
  • Reading, listening to interesting talks and applying techniques from there immediately is a GREAT work habit. While it is definitely good to read “result oriented” books but if you only focus on end results, you may miss out on overall development.
  • Its not necessary to be always “smart” or “spontaneous”. Not everyone is. The way to compensate that is to be really thorough and methodical in the work. Work = Knowing what to do + Having the Skills for it + Doing it. So if you are thorough on all these 3 fronts, it will compensate for any lack of spontaneity or so-called smartness. If you do this over a reasonable period of time, you become sharper, smarter and spontaneous:). Just remember that geniuses are guys who are more prepared than other people – that’s all.
  • Luck is a function of preparedness and opportunity (from Monk who Sold his Ferrari).
  • Reading books that inspire “big picture” thinking will also help a lot. Books on philosophy (Zen and other philosophical books), metaphysics (Brief History of Time, Dancing Wu Li Masters, Tao of Physics) expand your perspectives like no other. Reading a variety of books will help in seeing from a 360 degree view of any situation (well rounded perspective). has a lot of good videos that help as well.
  • Fluid Observation – Observing things around us, nothing specific but just general observation and absorbing information with an open mind. You never know what will come in handy when.

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