In August 2019, I was feeling really burnt out. Everything I was doing at work felt uninspired and completely drained me. I normally try to do something fun and creative on the side when I feel like this, but even that felt too overwhelming. I decided to try out the Daily UI Challenge; I’d started and stopped a few times but it felt just regimented enough to pull me out of my rut. Fast forward to March 2020, and I’m happy to say I successfully completed all 100 days. Coming out on the other side, I thought it would be fun to share my recommendations on sticking with it.
[Do] Keep it Daily 🗓️
One of the hardest parts of this challenge is making it a daily habit, but that’s also where most of the benefit comes from. I carved out an hour around lunch every day to work, sometimes it takes longer, sometimes it doesn’t but either way, you will have kept on track and that’s the hardest part. I missed one day around day 70 and I never fully recovered; I was a little behind until the very end.
[Do] Post on Dribbble 🏀
I know creating the perfect Dribbble shot can be daunting, but rolling it into your daily practice can be a great help. After finishing my design I would always make a fun lil Dribbble shot to post the next day. Not only will you have 100 new Dribbble shots when you’re done, but you have some built-in positive reinforcement from your peers along the way. It’s a win-win!
[Do] Use a Style Guide 🎨
For the first few days, I was taking so long deciding on typography and colors that I was burnt out by the time I got to designing the screen. Try to make yourself a style tile, even if it’s just a typeface and a few colors it will save a ton of decision time in the long run. I still switched up my colors every few days which kept it fresh but standardized enough that I wasn’t sweating the details.
[Don’t] Overthink It 💭
One of the best parts of this challenge is there’s always tomorrow. If it isn’t the best thing you’ve ever made that’s okay, you’ll love some and you’ll… tolerate. Nothing needs to be perfect, this is just a nice break to try something new and ditch the constraints of your day job.
[Don’t] Get Discouraged 😔
Since we’ve already covered that you won’t love everything you make, I want to reiterate that that is 100% okay. You have 100 days but more importantly, it’s all about the ~journey. Some might not be your best work but some will really rock your socks off. This is more about the process of creating than the product itself.
[Don’t] Give Up 💪
While you could probably see the benefit from a few days, obviously the most benefit will be from completing the entire challenge. You’ll feel accomplished, excited you don’t have to do it anymore, and hopefully creatively refreshed. I don’t think anything I designed in my 100 days was perfect, but I do feel a noticeable improvement in my day-to-day work.
[Bonus] Treat Yourself 🏆
If after reading all this you’re still not convinced you can do it; take a page from Tom Haverford’s book and treat yourself. Something I used to keep myself motivated was built in prizes. They don’t need to be big, for completing 10 days I bought myself a new record. Having something to look forward to kept me on track and ultimately got me a new tattoo and a sweet new coffee maker.
Hey! Thanks for reading my blog post!
If you’re interested, all 100 days of my challenge are still posted on my Dribbble. That’s right, even the bad ones. Feel free to check it out.