Somedays I like to do a pair design session with another designer from our team.
I've got to confess, I always feel a bit rusty at the start of those sessions, but quickly they start feeling good: the craft, the detail, the collaboration, playing with colour, shapes, flows, seeing the result of your intent quickly manifested in pixels.
Sometimes I feel those sessions are more for me than for the other designer. It's how I get in touch with the craft that I love so much. It doesn't feel like work. It's pure fun.
I spend most of my days in strategic meetings and communication, either with clients or internal teams. A typical day at work for me consists of me: attending strategy meetings with our senior leadership team, reviewing product decisions in critical projects, connecting people who should be talking with each other, figuring out how to deliver value to a new client, writing documentation, and improving the ways we work.
And between 'somedays' and 'most days' there is always this internal battle going on in my head.
The constant internal battle between what I have fun doing vs what my team needs me to do. The small personal impact vs the significant organizational change. Between being a designer that leads and a leader that has a background in design.
This internal battle doesn't go away; you need to be comfortable with it. Every time you choose to pursue a path, you also choose the struggles of that path.In the end, I am happy with the path I am walking.
Some stuff that you might find useful
There are many things no one teaches you about being a design leader that makes the leadership path harder than it seems. Check this thread by the awesome Ryan Rumsey about just this:
And here is a list of resources I personally used to help me navigate some of my leadership struggles in the past few years.