How Eating An Elephant Can Make You A Better Designer


I can’t imagine any other industry in which so much change happens so quickly. If you stop paying attention for a week, it can feel like you’ve not been listening for a year. There’s so much to learn.-Alexander Charchar

30 days. 30 days is all it takes to learn a new skill that could revamp your life, and your career for the better. , designer, writer and lover of graphic design, proposes this epic challenge. Here’s how it goes: Pick a topic you’ve always wanted to learn and after taking daily bites, you’ll realize you’ve consumed an elephant-sized body of knowledge and have learned a brand new skill after 30 days, hence the title. You didn’t think we’d actually suggest eating an elephant, did you?

Sure, do something for 30 days and change your life. Easier said than done. We get overwhelmed with current projects at work and things going on at home so we forget to set aside some time for ourselves to learn new things and expand our knowledge and skills. Alexander is suggesting this challenge for aspiring graphic designers and web developers but it also applies to all people and all aspects of life and can be practiced by anyone who wants to enrich their careers or lives.

Before we know it, we have these elephants of missing knowledge wandering around our minds, reminding us of what we should know and do but haven’t found the time for.

It’s a good idea to have a plan and using resources like progress mapping, ordered lists, and something Alexander calls the “bucket method” are good places to start. Basically,  the bucket method is when you put 45-60 small ideas or tasks that will help to reach your main goal in a “bucket” and pull one out everyday. This method keeps the process random and exciting. It allows you to focus on tasks one day at a time and at the end of the challenge, whatever pieces are left over from the bucket can serve as inspiration for your next challenge.

Google’s Matt Cutts:

In his quick talk at TED, Google’s Matt Cutts gives his take on how to learn or do something you’ve always wanted to in 30 days.

Alexander breaks it down into 6 simple steps:

  1. Pick a topic.
  2. Break it down into parts.
  3. Map out or randomize those parts.
  4. Show up daily, at the same time, and get to work.
  5. Review progress, and make sure you’re being challenged just enough, adjusting as you go.
  6. Do it for 30 days.

Starting small and having patience will be key to your success in learning a new skill to become a better “something”. Will you take this 30 day challenge to alter your life and enhance your career? Read Alexander’s article, pick a topic, make a plan, and start now.

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Rachael Morrill

Social Media Manager at Customer Magnetism. Rachael helps brands reach their full potential through creative content strategies and out of the box social media campaigns. She loves writing about trending topics and is the first to show you that new viral video. She considers herself a pop culture savant, loves reading the news and has a slight obsession with pugs.