The counterintuitive phrase that changed how I work
by Surya Anand
This is part of a series of articles I've been writing to document my apprenticeship here at HOVS.
The past three months have been very special. I'll treasure this experience and everything I learned forever. Seeing myself improve and accomplish things I never thought I'd be able to do gives me joy and hope!
To my surprise, I was offered an additional three months to my HOVS apprenticeship. This is one of the best compliments I've ever received and also serves as a great motivation. The additional time to learn helps me draw a perfect picture of how I want to be.
The last month has been challenging as I saw myself occasionally falling behind on my tasks, not knowing how to prioritize my work. But overall, I'm happy that I'm still able to finish everything that I take on.
What I find interesting here at HOVS is how everyone is both laid back and serious about their work. This month was an exercise in both.
"Put on some music and enjoy."
Most of my favorite work here is almost by accident, just me having fun and playing around. This wasn't the case before; I always put myself under unnecessary pressure to perform. This only made me do a very bad job at everything I touched.
Something that helped me lose all the pressure and clear my mind was a simple phrase I often hear from my teammates: "put on some music and enjoy."
For whatever reason, this instantly gives my mind a vast breathing space. Maybe because it's more encouraging to hear compared to "you have a day to complete" (even if that is my deadline). To put it differently, if mom says "have fun at the park" instead of "be home before 6." Then, I'd have fun instead of worrying that time will pass quickly.
Being given permission to have fun lets me enjoy the moment and work at my own pace without fear. In most cases, I can even get things done sooner than expected. But, more importantly, it allows room for experimentation. I think more about doing it well rather than pressuring myself to get it completed.
"I'm slowly developing the discipline to push myself in search of something beautiful and better."
Prototypes speak louder than words
It's difficult for me to convey my thoughts and ideas to others just by presenting my design and my ideas through writing. For example, how I imagine page animations should work in my head might be completely different from how my team imagines it. For us to be on the same track requires a lot of back and forth communication, and going through this for every new idea can be exhausting and time-consuming for all of us.
Sometimes, everything might sound perfect, but it's just not right. Only when implemented, we come to realize this. So all the time we spent talking about it is wasted.
I realized the best solution is to simply prototype my designs right inside the design tool. It usually takes me 10 minutes or less to prototype my idea. This helps show exactly what I want and cuts short the amount of time I spend communicating. If I see it prototyped and decide it's not working, I've just spent 10 minutes and saved my developer hours.
Prototyping my designs helps me sell it better to my team, compared to a static design that requires everyone to fill in the gaps.
To create beauty, push yourself
The works that HOVS creates is unique, timeless, and beautiful. At first glance it looks effortless, but it's not. Seeing closely how everything is designed here, I quickly learned that it takes an incredible amount of time and discipline to reach a simple and beautiful solution – and not settle for anything less. Above all, it requires patience to go through dozens of iterations.
Only when I push myself do I find something better than my first functioning idea. But it's also important to know when to stop. Otherwise, I could just go on and on and lose my energy. In the end, it all comes to how high I set the bar for myself. Sometimes I settle for the bare minimum if everyone is OK with it. But I'm happy now that I'm slowly developing the discipline to push myself in search of something beautiful and better.
I'm beyond excited to continue here for a little longer, learning as much as I can from the people I once admired from a distance. I'm fully aware of how lucky I am to have this opportunity at a very young age. I'll use this wisely and share everything that I learn here as much as possible to help anyone who’s just like me ヅ
Catch up on previous articles about my HOVS apprenticeship here: