Then there’s so many things you *should* be doing like Atomic Design, Design Sprints, Lean UX, symbolising all your sketch files or following whatever Google currently tells you to do. Grouped under the guise of best practice, they play on the fear that if you don’t do it this way you’re not a real product designer.
Each and every one of them solves a specific problem that those people encountered. They’re often pitched as the next thing since sliced bread and sometimes they are; at least for that particular problem and that particular person.
However successful they have been for them doesn’t matter to you though. Trying to force yourself to adopt them before you really need to will in the best case only slow you down and in the worst case destroy peoples trust in you.
Pressuring yourself into adopting them before you encounter the problem you’re solving is the definition of over optimisation and it will cripple you as a designer. You’ll tie yourself to someone else’s solution instead of finding your own, feeling like you’re never doing it right and making tradeoffs you’re not in a position to make. They distract you from doing what you should be doing.
Take design systems; a collection of reusable design components and guidelines. You should probably be setting up the same right? After all there’s no shortage of articles talking about how amazing they are at keeping everyone aligned and everything consistent. Of course each of these companies have at least a full team of people dedicated just to keeping it all up-to date, champions that work with teams to get them to implement it correctly, and not to mention the effort to have it all set up in the first place. All in all there’s a huge overhead just to keep it useful.
So sure, if you really have a problem with consistency across multiple teams and products distributed around the world it may just be the solution for you, the trade offs may be worth it. For everyone else though? Either the overheads of keeping it alive will cripple you or it’ll become out of date and useless as soon as you ‘finish’ it. Either way you’ll be putting your time into a problem that doesn’t exist and by extension ignoring problems that do.
You’re in the role you’re in to find a solution that solves the problem your company/team are hoping to fix, to then communicate this in a way that helps others build it.
As a designer you’re at your best when you’re solving the problems right in front of you. When you can fully understand the problem, idiate, test and interate until you find the best solution. The specifics of how you go about that, the tools you use and even the specific solution are secondary to finding that solution that works for you and your team. You’re no less of a product designer by not doing it the way others have.