He settles the childless woman in her home as a happy mother of children. —Psalm 113:9

September 15, 2009

Why being too focused is a bad thing.

If you've been reading the Twitter updates that get gathered up and posted here once a day, then you already know I've got a perfectly good excuse for not posting anything else last week--I was bogged down with a big web redesign project that the client needed done ASAP. I kept my head down in hyperfocus mode, coming up with mockup after mockup trying to capture what the clients wanted, and feeling frustrated and a bit depressed because everything I came up with was just passably adequate and completely uninspired. I was giving them everything they asked for, but nobody was happy with it. After days of this I realized that they had a feeling in mind more than a specific look, and if I could capture that feeling they'd probably love it, even if it looked nothing like what they described. I threw out all of their feedback and finally found some inspiration, and at last came up with a look that made them say "Wow! I love it!" Now I'm just waiting for the go ahead to start coding it. So that was a valuable lesson learned - it's more important to pay attention to what a client wants to evoke or accomplish with their site than any specifics they give about what they want it to look like, because sometimes, they don't really know what they want.

So that was pretty much my whole week. For the sake of that project I neglected all kinds of other things--not only this blog and my writing, but also any healthy habits I'd developed in the way of exercise, eating or sleep, and this week I'm paying for it. Despite taking Saturday off to rest and recover, I'm not feeling so hot lately. Yesterday I was just tired and cranky and a little depressed, and with the weather having been gray and rainy for days, I figured I was getting a preview of the SAD I usually struggle with during the winter. But today, with a mildly upset stomach and some lightheadedness added to the mix, I think I might have a touch of something else. Most significantly, my limbs feel heavy and I feel like I can't get enough sleep. Allergies aren't helping - my eyes constantly sting and my sinuses feel like I'm trying to grow a second head from the inside out.

So this week I'm going to go easy on myself and just focus on keeping my clients happy in between taking naps, munching on Vitamin C & Zinc tablets, and drinking lots and lots of tea. Unpaid projects will still be there when I'm feeling better. Getting the next episode of This Old Haunt up is a high priority, but not over fighting off whatever this crud is before it can turn into something requiring medical intervention.

I think I'm ready to take one of those naps right now. While I'm out, tell me what you've been up to. Are your goals still on track, or are they getting derailed by life and other inconveniences?


Robert McKay said...

My goals have run completely off the tracks and are trying to give it a go as an ATV...and are failing at that too. I've not written more than a few words in days and it's starting to seriously depress me. I guess this is the downside to having concrete word goals in mind.

I'm having some plot issues that I really need to figure out, but I don't want to think about my MS because of the guilt I feel for not having written in days. It's a sever snowballing effect and I need to break out of it. I think I'll finally put some real effort in today. Maybe if I say that enough times I'll actually do it. Blargh.

Sorry to hear you're not feeling well. Hope it clears up without medical intervention.

J. M. Bauhaus said...

I know that snowball effect well. For some reason a daily word count goal only really works for me in November (and even then it's spotty). When I'm in writing mode the rest of the year (as opposed to the editing mode I've been in most of this year), what works best for me is to hold myself accountable to write ten words a day. There is no excuse other than death not to write ten words, and ten is better than zero. And once I get the first ten out of the way, I usually keep going and accomplish many more. The ten-word goal has always been a pretty effective trick to help me get over myself and write.

Write or Die helps, too. It's what got me through last year's WriMo.

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