Building design systems is a thankless job. It feels like some days the quality of the product's UI is weighing on your shoulders and others like you're being critiqued for stifling the design team's creativity. When you build an internal product for your peers, critical feedback becomes personal and can demotivate or derail your team. It can feel like sprints and quarters are spent reacting to the needs of others, and your roadmap is commanded by the teams you support. Acting in a support role means you're responsible for defining your team's motivation, milestones, success... and how your work impacts the business overall.
Writing this talk began as a way to cope with burnout after 4 years of working on design systems. Intended as a cathartic moment of self-reflection, this talk will pull from personal experiences [in hope of] providing practical strategies that break the cycles of fatigue, stress, and overwhelm; empowering design systems leaders to define their focus and what really matters.