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At some point, you’ll have to figure out what to do. There won’t be a lesson or a to-do list already made for you.

In a way, that’s a good thing. Because it means you’re ready to start designing things. Well, you may not be ready – but it does mean it’s time. And that might be scary – but it’s good. It means you’ll now be able to start building value.

People hire designers and developers to get something accomplished. They know what they want (sometimes) but not how to get there. That’s your job. Practice by working it out for your own goals.

A framework to figure out what to do

It’s not easy. There are so many things you could do and so many things you think you should do. So, don’t try and guess. Let the goals decide. It’s easier – and much more effective. There is a practical truth in there. Your job is to decide on your goals and then the goals will determine what needs to happen.

  1. First: if you already know that you aren't going to do anything to work toward your web design / web developer career today, then say that.

    If you are not going to work today: then leave this page and go write that in your standup.

    Some days are like that. However, it’s really important that you are aware of it- and are public about it. You need to let everyone else in the group know so they don’t count on you for feedback and discourse. And you also need a way to see how often this is the case. What percentage of days are you showing up?

    If you are going to do things today, then keep reading! : )

  2. Visit your goals page

    You should have a /goals page on your website. If you don’t – and you’re seeing this page, then you have been a bad little kitten. Stop reading this and make an appointment with an instructor. Your job for the day is to create your goals page and get it up on the internet. Here is the exercise.

    If you do have your goals page, then good job. You’ll already know how important it is to guide us. Open it up. Give it a read. Does anything need a tuneup? Has anything shifted? If so, then edit the code and push up your changes.

    You should be able to see each student’s goals at  |


    (depending on where you are in the course / or if not – then there should be a clear link on your site so that people can click it to get there.)

  3. Read your goals starting with your 5-year big-picture goals

    It’s important to set the stage. What does it look like when things are in place?

    Get in the mood. All of these things are possible. Feel them in your body. It’s fun. You have an imagination, right?

  4. Now read your "end of course" or 6-month goals

    Where are you working? What type of projects are you working on? What type of culture are you in? What is your life like? What type of industry are you in? What do you do on the weekends?

    Now: what do you need to get to that place? What have you done so far? If it doesn’t feel clear, go over it with an instructor or another student in the group until it is. You need to know what they are for them to reveal the next steps.

  5. Visit your plan

    The goals light the way, but somewhere – there’s got to be a plan. It could be a Google Doc or a journal entry – we have suggested that you use Trello. If you haven’t made your “Steps to get a job” board yet, then watch the video on setting up your Trello. Set it up and get your lists and cards set up. Ask for help. Talk to an instructor and go over your goals and your plan.

  6. Make any adjustments to the plan

    The steps should be pretty clear. They’ll shift a little here and there. You might need to adjust them. But if you are adjusting them a lot, then something is off. Ask for help.

    Reorder the tasks based on priority.

  7. Trust your gut

    At this point – pay attention. Is there some larger looming feeling that is getting in the way? Is there some outstanding task in your regular life that is clouding your focus?

    Sometimes there’s just something there. Can you feel it? Is there something you’ve been putting off and you just keep pushing aside? If there is… then it’s probably draining you. It needs to get taken care of.

    Another way you could think about this is “What do I want to do least” – and that will open up some important things to talk about.

    Ask for help with whatever this is – and let’s get it squared away. If you feel the feeling… then THIS – is your priority for the day. Read no further.

    If you don’t have any ominous blockers floating around – then great. Keep reading.

  8. Figure out what the priority is

    At the top of your “ideas,” “to-do,” or “doing” list – you should see the next most important thing to do.

    If you cant accomplish the task on the card in 2-3 hours, then it’s too big. Break it up into smaller cards. If that is hard, ask for help.

    In the case of the DFTW course, all cards need to be smaller and manageable. At a real job, they might be closer to 7-hour tasks.

    Move the card (to the “doing” list. Let go of everything else. The decision is made.

  9. Tell everyone what you are going to do

    Once you’ve found a priority, share it with the group. Post it in #clasroom or #standup. Tell us what you are doing and how it will get you closer to the goal. That will set it in stone and stop you from rethinking what to do. Time to do it!

  10. Set a timer and start doing the task

    We’d suggest that at this stage, 40 minutes is a good length of time.

    Get a solid block of time in. Get your tools out, get everything in gear, and put in enough work to get out of your regular life – and get in the zone.

    Then stop. Set the timer for 10 minutes. Stand up. Walk around. Try and touch your toes. Get some snack.

    Then come back and work for 40 minutes again. Keep that up for as many rounds as feels right.

  11. Collaborate

    While you are working, feel free to start a huddle. See if anyone else wants to work on the same thing – or just alongside you. Write any questions you have while you’re working in Slack. If Slack is too distracting, then shut it down instead. Figure out what works for you, but just always remember that we’re here to help you. That might just mean sitting with you until you get past some anxiety. Ask for help – and you will get it.

  12. Show your work

    After you are done with your work (based on limited time or natural conclusion) – then show it to everyone. What did you get done? How did it go?

    Could things have been better? Did it bring up any questions? What can you do differently next time?

    How can we help?

  13. Revisit the plan

    Check back in with your plan in Trello. If you finished the card, move it to the “done” list. If you’re blocked then write an email and delegate it to whoever is blocking you. If you learned something need and need to break up the card or create a new one – or reorder, then do it now.

  14. Stop

    You are done for the day. You may not be done with the task written on your card, but you are done with the task of putting in the work.

    Put the “to do” lists out of your mind. You’ll get another stab tomorrow.

    Or – if you get a second wind, then that’s great too. Go through this process again as needed.

    Keep up the good work! Don’t forget to ask for help. That’s the point of DFTW, right?

This is the same thing you'll do at work - except the goals will be the company goals - and not yours

If you can’t get through 3 hours of tasks for yourself then how will you get through 8 hours of tasks for the company?

Sometimes it’s easier to just do what other people want – but consider this as you work on your daily exercises. When you work in design/development, YOU have to come up with a daily plan. That’s your job.

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