Life as a web designer can get incredibly busy. So much so that you may find yourself dedicating loads of time to your clients and having very little left for yourself. It can even get to the point to where you no longer enjoy what you’re doing.
Why? There are a number of potential factors. But the one that seems to stand out most is that it’s easy to get bogged down in work that doesn’t let us flex our creative muscles. It’s those mind-numbing tasks that make us forget the fun we used to have. That’s a shame, because having a passion for code and design is what leads many of us to this career in the first place.
The good news is that you can indeed get your groove back. And the potential ways to do so (listed below) run the gamut from simple exercises to full-on projects. So, even if you don’t have much in the way of free time, you can still do something to bring back that creative rush. Let’s get started!
Experiment with a New Technique
This one works whether you love design, code or both. And it doesn’t necessarily have to take up much of your time.
The idea is to find something you don’t know much about. Maybe it’s a new-fangled layout technique like CSS Grid (which is full of unique possibilities) or take a quick tutorial on creating special video effects. If you really want to dive in, sign up for an online class.
What’s really fun about this is that you can pick whatever subject you like. Even if it’s something you don’t think you’ll use a lot in your day-to-day work. Just the experience of learning something that truly interests you can provide a more positive outlook.
Start a Side Project
The ubiquitous side project has been the go-to remedy for many a designer. The reason for this is simple: It enables you to work on something you’re passionate about.
Again, the subject matter can be just about anything. Dedicate a blog to your favorite sports team or musician. Write short stories, poetry or opinion pieces. Share your photos with the world. Help your mom sell some homemade crafts.
Side projects aren’t one-size-fits-all, either. It might not even require building a traditional website. But it does work best if you can use your creativity, along with other skills you enjoy utilizing.
Also, a word of warning. It is possible to take a side project far enough to where you start the feel the same drudgery as in your day job.
The positive of this is that it usually means that you’ve built something really cool and maybe even popular. If it gets to be too much, you don’t need to feel obligated to continue. After all, the goal is to reduce your stress – not add to it.
Become a Mentor
Earlier, we mentioned how passion for code and design tends to lead us into this line of work. That being said, it’s also natural that our feelings toward work ebb and flow over time. None of us are without our own ups and downs.
Sometimes, rediscovering that joy comes not from building yet another website. Rather, it’s a result of connecting with another person. Mentoring is a great way to do just that.
Sharing what you know with a designer who’s just starting out on their journey can be very fulfilling. That’s because you’re not only helping someone achieve their goals, you’re also benefitting from their eagerness to learn and optimistic outlook. That feeling can be quite contagious.
As a bonus, it’s also nice to know someone who does the same kind of work. They often understand those ups and downs associated with buggy code, demanding clients or creative droughts in a way that those outside the industry can’t.
If this sounds interesting, there are plenty of places you can start. Support forums, social media or your own blog can allow you to interact with others online. If you’re more of a face-to-face type of person, local meetups or design conferences might be worth your while.
Reignite That Spark
The day-to-day pressures of web design are enough to make even the sunniest among us a little sour over time. That’s why it’s so important to find activities that allow us to do the aspects of our job that we love most.
Of course, we’re all individuals and the activities we choose should reflect our personalities. Whether that’s engaging in a 15-minute tutorial, starting a cat meme site or reaching out to a younger version of ourselves, the doing is what matters most.
It reenergizes the spirit and gives us something to lean on, even on the toughest of days.
- The Bright Side of an Increasingly Homogeneous Web
- Techniques for Documenting Your Web Projects
- Too Many Threads: A Scattered Approach to Coding
- How Being Uncomfortable Can Make You a Better Web Designer
- What My Old Design Projects Have Taught Me
- How Web Designers Benefit from Open Source
- Ready for Launch: Avoiding Chaos
- The Web Design Process Periodic Table [Infographic]