DesignThinking, Empathy, Reflection

Designing A Life

DesignChangesMy first “adult job” – 40 hours a week, health benefits, vacation and all the things we desire when we think of careers was a Job Coach.  My work consisted of working with individuals who were physically or mentally challenged.  I would visit local companies and attempt to help my clients attain employment.  Once employed I would train them, monitor their daily progress and eventually set them free at there new place of employment.  These positions did not require a great deal of skills but for these individuals it gave them purpose and independence.

The individuals I served had other people in their lives to assist them with additional day to day functions that we often take for granted.  Some had dietitians who managed daily menus and food preparation.  Many had  hour to hour schedules designed to assist them with basic functions and administration of various medications.  Higher functioning individuals lived at home with parents or family members.  The daily planning was very methodical and well thought out to ensure the success of each individual. In the world of education, where I currently exist maybe I would have been labeled as an Executive Function Coach .  As a 25/26 year old this lifestyle seemed necessary but very restrictive, looking back now it seems more liberating.  

We talk about Creative Constraints as a means of limiting the amount of time to overthink a project.  I give my students timed writings to get them to focus on sharing the main points and avoiding the fluff and added drama when defending a thesis.  So could intentionally designing my life lead to more freedom and creativity? Could this liberate me from the self imposed barriers that I place in my path.  Let’s give it a shot.  How Might We (I) design my life?

Prototyping is a key component of Design Thinking.  I personally consider Empathy the number one component and prototyping comes next.  Prototyping puts you in the mindset of not designing the perfect experience but creating the initial prototype and seeking feedback to make it better.  You have to allow feedback and failure to guide your course of action.  So designing  a life or more specifically, My Life will require me to plan day to day life and legitimately give myself feedback on what works and what does not work.  Finding the points in the day where I have the most impact on my personal life.  Identifying the times of day where family takes the forefront and when other important people in my life take the lead.  Knowing when I am completely in the moment and when my brain is wondering.

Since I am currently in summer OTA’s this will afford me the time to work on designing my life.  Why is this necessary?  It is necessary for me to ensure that I am creating the most meaningful life for me and others.  Being halfway committed means that I am not committed.  Being fully committed and having focused energy will allow me to create a greater experience for all that I encounter.  Striving to be the best Connector, Learner, Father,  and Educator requires Designing or ReDesigning my life.   

What are you Designing?


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