I do much of my design “work” in my head.
Whether it’s software or architecture, I spend most of my time assembling a concept in my mind.
By the time I sit down to document and refine a design, I’ve long been arranging the general idea in my head.
To others, it can seem like I don’t work that many hours. If work equals, counting hours at my desk, they’re right. But the reality is my mind is constantly churning on a design problem. I do some of my best work on runs, in the shower, eating a meal by myself, or driving alone in the car.
My workflow is split into three primary phases: Concept, Design Documentation, and Execution.
Thinking about the problem and mentally assembling a solution, is 100% the work of design.
The task of documenting and honing the finer details of the solution, is 50% design and 50% execution.
Lastly, building the solution is 25% design 75% execution (a solution always evolves once it comes to life).
To use software as an example: UX Design > UI Design > Development.
For me, UX and high-level UI happens largely in my head, fine-tuned UI design happens at my desk, and development is more about project management and polishing the feel of a solution once it’s in functioning-code form.