Keeping Boredom Out of the Office

For all those web-designers out there who want to use their time more effectively, you’d enjoy these five easy things to do when absolutely bored.

Here’s my take on each:

1. Design a Better/New Logo

I call this ‘doodling‘. With a graph-pad, a 2B pencil (with an eraser-end), a sharpener, no ruler (because that’s for the final drawing), and nothing on the mind (shutup!), I like to doodle ideas between other work. It’s the surest way to be totally imaginative, unrestrained, and easy.

Another great way to get good ideas is with a camera! Yep, take the camera to the street, photographing anything and everything of interest.

Don’t be put off by colour or lack thereof. This is about capturing shapes, adverts, words, repetition and moments in time that say something to you. Photography is a great way to relax the mind and open the imagination. Well, this works for me. Try it if you don’t believe me.

My Spectacles

2. Hand-draw a WireFrame for a Web Layout

Wow, Dordan and I must be twins! I do this all the time. I’m going to have take a few photographs of the many scratchings I have around my office. div#head, div#main, div#footer, etc, the layouts are easy — but it’s the coding to get the colour-matching, the suitable graphics, the div#wrapper background (and suitable width), these all make it fun and satisfying to make it work. Many lunch-hours have been spent writing the code in MS-notepad, without testing, knowing it will work. That’s satisfying and beats the boredom every time!

3. Writing Tutorials and Articles.

Writing articles that turn into tutorials is not as easy as saying ‘Insert part-A into part-B, turn counter-clockwise, pull out that fiddly bit we are calling part-C‘. No sir, there are important issues to consider.

Remember, not everyone knows what a ‘fiddly bit’ is … and probably don’t want to know. Then their is those people who know the fundamentals, so you have to convert the baby-talk to professional-mannerisms. A few years back I converted a nineteen-page manual to a 1-page pamphlet: It was all colorful screen-dumps and duplicated text.

Just remember to write like you own the article, like you are in front of a large crowd who paid $50 to get in the door — and they’re still in the foyer wondering when the free food arrives. Yep, everyone wants a freebie. (Technically, that picture on Dan’s flickr is not technically a freebie – it did cost to attend the event!)

4. Rebuild Table-Laden Web Sites

Funny about this idea, I do this a lot. I’ll be traversing the internet looking for a site for a particular subject and I’ll come across the most hideous table-laden design that should have been strangled at birth!

Twice I’ve completely revamped a web site without the potential-client’s knowledge. Mainly I do it for fun , but I’d really like to sell the idea to the client. Not necessarily for money: I’d prefer a years worth of service, a couple of products (if high priced). The wife wants a new fridge, oven and paving under the new pergola. So I’m always looking for those types of small business’s on the internet!

My Glasses

5. Read about new stuff to learn and improve your knowledge.

I couldn’t agree with this one any more than everyone has! I’d say I spend at least an hour a day reading through the interesting articles written by the most interesting people. I tend to stick to those with their own domain: I use this as a constant reminder to move this blog/journal to my own domain — but I’m still working on that. (And I welcome any advice on how to proceed.)

Like many designers out there, we all need to spend time to enhance and improve our skills in CSS, Graphics, Project-Management and Recording-Client-Time, or whatever else improves the running of your web-design small-business.

But do any of us really have spare time? The last I had a spare moment, I fell asleep. And that wasn’t enough to get any REM sleep!

(If this article looks familiar: It was originally posted at Five Ways to Stop Boredom, but I’ve rewritten that article to match the title. Make sense?)

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