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The Grumpy Designer Asks: Are You Drained?

Nov 22, 2022

Before we get too far, let me state that this isn’t a “woe is me” post. I could also be grumpy, but I also know find out how to count my blessings. And I’ve been fortunate in quite a few ways. It’s just that… I’m drained.

You see, after 25+ years on this industry, I’ve come to comprehend that this job doesn’t get any easier. If anything, more layers of complexity keep being added. And the expectations from each clients and myself are higher than ever.

Then there’s the unhealthy mixture of a continuing stream of emails, Slack notifications, and tweets. Taken together, it’s enough to wear you out mentally and physically. Surveying the net design community helped me to see that I’m not alone in this sense.

Nevertheless it’s not only work-related stressors. There’s been a pandemic in our faces for years now. And every of us has stories of non-public struggles to inform. For instance, I’ve got a chronic disease (Type 1 Diabetes) together with a couple of years full of family emergencies fresh in my mind. And I do know that a few of you have got much larger issues in your plate as well.

It’s enough to show anyone right into a grouch. But as an alternative of complaining, let’s talk concerning the pressures we face. And possibly we’ll find some healthy ways to address them.

All the Things inside a Web Designer’s Head

Twitter tends to be my outlet for self-expression and checking out what the net design community is considering. After I joked that web designers are actually required to be the human equivalent of a wiki, a couple of others concurred.

Some even quipped that perhaps all we’d like is to be expert at searching Google. That’s a good point, as a lot knowledge is just a couple of keywords away.

Still – there are quite a lot of details we’d like to retain. And the more web sites you construct and manage, the harder it’s to maintain track of all of it. How specific features work, what customizations were made, and other site-specific items may must be recalled at any moment.

As an example, you would possibly need that information when there’s a problem. And for those who don’t have such things documented, it’s easy to overlook a key detail. That would make the situation worse.

A busy week could include several scenarios where you have got to dig right into a site’s code or otherwise troubleshoot an issue. If each site is exclusive, that makes these little details all of the more vital.

The net moves so quickly. Software updates resembling those related to WordPress core and plugins, are a continuing. Security issues can rear their head at any moment. The result’s a complete lot of brain strain.

Freelancers Face a Growth Challenge

Being a solo freelancer often means attempting to be a jack of all trades. It’s the concept which you could reasonably handle all features of an internet site. We design it, write the code, and sustain with any maintenance needs that arise.

That is something I’ve prided myself on. Partly because I strive to be well-rounded, and likewise because I prefer to do things myself. It worked pretty much for the primary couple of a long time.

But this becomes much harder as a business grows. You book more clients and work on larger, more complex projects. Eventually, you hit a proverbial brick wall while attempting to scale those processes.

Growth is something lots of us dream of. Yet it may also grow to be a heavy burden. You begin to feel it when you have got multiple projects occurring and unexpected life events that pop up.

On that last point, separating work from the remainder of your life is all the time a challenge. But freelancing makes it nearly unattainable – particularly for those who make money working from home. It could be isolating. And it’s not as if the stress just melts away the moment you walk into the subsequent room.

The result’s that work becomes more like a wild goose chase relatively than an exercise in productivity. It also sucks the fun out of being an online designer. And possibly this results in becoming a bit grumpy…

 It can be difficult for freelancers to scale their processes.

How Do We Recapture Our Energy?

Very similar to the fatigue we face, the remedies are complex. The “easy” solution is to cut back the variety of projects we tackle. Or return to the times of constructing relatively easy brochure-style web sites.

It sounds nice, if a bit unrealistic. Doing so would likely mean a discount in revenue. That’s not a scenario most of us can afford.

Then again, there could also be several ways to simplify what you are promoting. That features discontinuing or outsourcing some services while increasing efficiency where possible.

Those steps will help. But, by themselves, they’ll’t fix every little thing. There’s also a mental aspect that requires attention.

In all honesty, I’m still trying to find answers in that area. Perhaps it starts with pacing ourselves and setting more forgiving expectations. And jettisoning the concept we must do every little thing solo is also helpful.

And possibly the answers can be different for every of us. Our personalities and private histories make us unique. In that way, it’s about trying to seek out what works best for you.

 Think of ways to simplify your business and engage in healthier practices.

It’s Okay To not Be Okay (And a Little Grumpy)

One might think that have makes each our jobs and lives easier. But that’s not necessarily the case. We’re often striving to be “larger and higher.” Thus, things can grow to be more complicated over time.

Perhaps the actual advantage of experience is gaining perspective. You learn more about yourself – including your strengths and weaknesses. That lets you discover your struggles and develop solutions.

It’s not all that different from website design. We’re used to analyzing a situation and charting the very best path forward.

The underside line is that lots of us will grow to be drained occasionally. It comes with the territory of balancing life while working in a constantly-changing industry. There’s no shame in admitting it.

Attending to the opposite side of it takes time. Hopefully, this little conversation can provide the spark we’d like to get moving.