Looking at design as an ordinary job stifles your creative ability. You need to be innovative and be able to use your creativity in the broadest sense but at the same time keep it within the usability of the internet. Certain criteria always have to be taken into account because those are the things that count for the client and for the speed of the internet.
It is important for you as a designer to use the tools that are available to you, even though they are not officially tools you can count in the various social media like Facebook and Twitter as tools as well. This is a learning tool in a big way. The people and the ideas that can come from them are one of the greatest classrooms of the world. Here you will find people who can expose you to good reading as well as tutorials. You will get suggestions as to what to include in your design tools. And in addition, if you go to their websites you will learn by example to distinguish the good from the great and the indifferent. Not every designer turns out great work by any means. However, when you find a great designer make sure you keep close and learn as much as possible from him or her.
The great designers are the ones that extend you mentally to learn all those little tricks that make the difference between good and great. The attention to detail is never too much trouble for them. Every little pixel counts. Join their RSS feeds and check out their design galleries. Use some of the online tools available to analyze how they put things together. This is the learning school of the web.
My advice is, take one thing at a time and learn to master that. Trying to cram too much into your brain will leave you floundering around like a fish out of water. I know the need to know everything tends to overwhelm you when you start, but I tend to try to learn the thing I need to know at that precise minute. I know I have huge gaps in my knowledge because I learn what is absolutely necessary for me at that precise moment. Then I tend to do it over and over until I have mastered it. In the process, I probably missed out ten steps or more. These will need to be filled in, with time.
If I didn’t do it this way I would never have time to do the actual work that earns my bread and butter. Listening and learning means, I take note of what is said and store in the back of my mind and also make a note in my computer in my filing system, which is all my own. Heaven help anyone who tried to work out how I filed by association on my PC.
The idea and inspiration for a design have to come from the task that has either been set before me, or I have set for myself. Then the memory is dredged to find the right tool that is stored in my memory and found on the PC. Obviously, it won’t be the same for everyone but that is the way I have found which meets my needs.