Always be designing

Several years ago, I was sitting with a designer working on a project, when she started drafting an email about our work. She quickly wrote the email and was about to hit send, but then she looked at it and stopped.

As I watched, she went back over the email and reformatted it, bolding some parts, and breaking out the paragraph into bullet points. She spent maybe 30 seconds adjusting it—without making any actual content changes—and then she hit send.

I must have had a funny look on my face when she looked over, because she gave a brief, offhand, justification: “Always be designing.”

I doubt she remembers this tiny interaction, but I still do, and here’s why. It taught me that “doing good work” should be who you are, not just what you do, when you have to.