As I type this I am acutely aware of one thing…the clock .. time. I have come in a good 2 hours early to work in order to catch up on a few things but already when it is’n’t even 07.30 I am watching the time drain away.
We all have increasingly busier lives. Technology helps (and possibly hinders us at times) meaning we live things 24/7. There is no time between something happening and pictures, videos and conversations on Twitter appearing… No time between taking a photo and seeing the result.. sometimes feels… like there’s… no… time… to breathe…
You will probably have a list, maybe two or three… your personal list of things to do, your bucket list. Maybe a list of things you want to achieve in your career and of course your actual list of work to do, food shopping to buy and that list of upcoming birthdays etc.
As web designers and developers I think we are acutely effected by immediacy and time. The nature of the design industry is that you can often spend extra hours and weekends on a project especially as it reaches it’s deadline. There is no 9 to 5, the concept of sitting bug fixing at 10pm on a Saturday in the studio whilst your friends with normal jobs are busy doing weekend stuff is not an odd one. Software moves so quickly you are constantly keeping abreast of the latest trends and changes and that is before thinking about seeing what the industry leaders are saying on Twitter and maybe even attending the odd conference.
You can quickly see why burn out it not a rarity in the industry, there is more and more to do and less and less time to do it.
Keeping your head afloat
I seem to have an inbuilt limiter which means at any given time something is missing out as my focus is elsewhere. Right now the thing missing out is my toast which is getting ever colder in the toaster waiting for me to write this post! If a work deadline comes up then the weekly exercise I do is usually the first to fall and when that starts again then using your downtime to catch up on new technologies is the next to suffer. It is like permanent plate spinning.
You could easily let this get you down, but I have found of late it is easier to deal with if you accept that not everything is going to get done in the time frame you envisage. This may seem like a very obvious statement and, I guess it is but I and a lot of other people I know continue to swim against the flow and end up getting less and less out of all the things they are trying to achieve.
Some things HAVE to be done and, yes you will still end up in the studio at 11pm finishing a site for launch but try not spreading yourself so thinly on things. Don’t beat yourself up about missing that run, not having learnt Backbone.js yet or not having seen that latest must read Branch topic, they are all still waiting for you to pick up again later. Make sure you pick the kids up from nursery though!
As mentioned in my post on Bran.ch (http://thebran.ch/articles/taking-the-blinkers-off) it is so important to pull yourself out of the daily grind and cut loose occasionally Whether it is some exercise, playing some computer games or even a spontaneous play day with your child it helps to reset the “stressometer”. At the end of the day in our job no one dies and life is too short not to try and enjoy it where possible.
Now… back to my toast.