Below are my seven top tips and rules that every designer should consider. I began developing these while studying at TU Delft in 2013 and have actively used them since. Hopefully you find them useful in developing your own practice. Please comment and add your own below and remember to take a look at some of my projects.
Designer tip 1: Focus is everything when designing.
What you put your focus into as a designer is fundamental. Saying "no" to someone or something isn't always natural, but it is fully essential. As "the generation game" demonstrates there are only so many things we can keep at the front of our minds at once. If we don't actively take control of what we focus on our minds will be crammed up.
Designer tip 2: Remember you have a limited amount of time.
The surest way to get yourself designing and focus is to remember you only have a short stay here. Steve jobs Stanford address in 2005 has a great section about this. Time is a device you should harness, limit the time you have. We have to give ourselves time to rest and sleep and (possibly more controversially) boredom time.
Designer tip 3: Use the times when you have energy.
Not every designer is the same, diversity is beautiful and essential. If you work best at night work at night, if you work best at 3am work at 3am. Use your body and minds intuition so you can work at the times that suit you.
Designer tip 4: Use a notebook (don't trust your memory).
Our memory is limited and prone to failure. Do not rely on it alone. Write, sketch and notate your thinking. It will be invaluable in future.
Designer tip 5: Have a clear idea of what you want to achieve.
Ask the right questions to get to the right goal. Is your intent an emotion, a state, a feeling, a thing, an experience, a solution? What is the core of your idea and what will it do for people?
Designer tip 6: When you come across something new, write it down.
Sketch it, write it, doodle it, keep it, revisit it and revise it. Writing things down is the path to remembering them correctly. And also means you can reference the thought again at a later date.
Designer tip 7: If things aren't working, practice more or change direction.
You always have the choice to keep going or change direction. This could be as simple as taking a break or as fundamental as starting over. Changing your mind is a learning process and is powerful.