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‘Tis the most busiest time of the year

Date posted: November 27, 2023

As I’ve heard from fellow web designers who’s been in the game longer than I have, who own agencies and established. Towards the year’s end is the busiest time for web designers as business owners tend to look back on what they have done throughout the year and reflect. Some would look to revamp the existing website or decide to launch a new one.

This turned out to be quite true for me this year which is also the 1st “official” year that I pursued this career full-time.

Many leads and prospects reached out asking for quotations. This allows me to schedule some of them for next year to space things out and lighten up the load.

I haven’t had a vacation this year. Outside of project work, I’ve been rotating between online courses from design to business, sales, and client management. I even signed up for Jiu-jitsu practice to maintain my physical well-being which I love and invest my time into.

My sleeping and other habits are also out of whack as I want to spend more time in the evening relaxing and talking with my girlfriend.

Things are picking up speed and quite hard to manage everything. It’s a bit scary but also very exciting. Wouldn’t it be nice if the clients just manage themselves to my business needs haha.
It’s like a roller coaster slowly going up the ramp and about to make a dive. It’s terrifying but also exciting. Let’s see where this takes me!

From Screen & Keyboard back to Pen & Paper

Date posted: November 27, 2023

I haven’t been posting as much as I wish in this blog as much as I wish for the past couple of weeks. The reason I found for this laziness is whenever I open my laptop or tablet, my cursors as well as my attention automatically drifting to opening work emails, youtube videos and all kind of other distractions, anything besides that I set out to do, which is writing.

So I figure the solution for this issue would be to take my writing offline, back to pen and paper.

By doing this, I find out that by the act of holding the pen and see the word forms with ink letter by letter, my ideas and thoughts flow out more naturally, or maybe that simply because I have no other distractions.

“People have always been anxious about the technologies that they use to do their work. It’s never really been so true that the same device that you can use to write your book, or to make your artwork, can also interrupt you and distract you throughout the day.”

“I think this idea of constraints in work and in life is super-important. There’s something about analog tools — there’s a simplicity that’s easier to get started with.”

“The notebook is the place where you figure out what’s going on inside you or what’s rattling around. And then, the keyboard is the place that you go to tell people about it.”

Austin Kleon on Hurry Slowly Podcast on the topic Pencil vs Computer


Start by showing up!

Date posted: November 27, 2023

“It’s been a long day”
“I’m not feeling it”
“I have work to do”
“I should treat myself”

Those are a couple of reasons I tell myself to not go to the gym, BJJ practices or even in writing and my work which is web design and development.

To counter this, I usually say to myself: “I will just show up, I don’t even have to lift weights, I don’t even have to roll, just be there!”.

So when I arrived at the gym, magic starts to happen: I look around and see other people doing the work, the energy of the environment, muscle memory starts to kick in, inspire me to do something, make me want to apply myself. In some really rare occasions like if I’m injured and cannot participate, I can tell my instructor that I’ll sit out and watch everyone, that’d be okay too.

Try asking yourself: “Have you ever regret after a practice or a class, would you think it’d be better if you hadn’t come in the first place?” from there, you can sort out your priorities and put your temporary emotions aside to do the work that needs to be done!

Start by showing up!

Should you take it personal?

Date posted: October 16, 2023

In creative field, it’s easy and would make sense to put a part of yourself into your work or product. It gives your work soul and personalities, put the downside of getting over-attached with your work is it will be very hard to receive any criticism. 

You have spent hours working on it, it has your experience and your emotions, it’s your baby, how can anyone says any bad things about it? By saying anything negative, it’s like saying that part of you is bad.

I think it’s best to dissasociate yourself with your work. I always have to remind myself that as soon as I  put down my pen, my hand left the cursor, that work is no longer belongs to me, it belongs to the world. From there I will be able start to look at it from an objective point of view, learn what can make it better and take criticism to my future work.

This reminds me of how Ed Sheeran always let his audience knows that they can interpret and relate to his songs as however they like based off their experiences instead of his, here’s his live performance of Eyes Closed, a song about grief and loss that I really like:

The nightmare of scope-creep and how to prevent it

Date posted: October 16, 2023

If you ever work with a client on a project, scope creep is one of the things that is bound to happen sooner or later, the client asked if we can add another feature onto the website, another bullet in the list of deliverables, another idea that the client came up with that might make you spend the whole weekend researching on how to fit it in the current project.

I’ve been in that situation before, and as a fellow people pleaser who doesn’t want to say no, I always say yes to those requests only to resent myself while working on it, and just between you and me, I also secretly love the challenge as well as the enjoyment of solving problems but deep down I know that this isn’t sustainable and something has to change, I cannot just say “yes” to scope-creep because the following things will start to happens:

  • What is this “thing”? We will lose sight of the project, and the initial purpose of why the project was created in the first place.
  • “So… when will we launch?”: the project will take longer to design, develop, and test. To postpone the launch date could affect both your and your client’s finances and plans.
  • When will it end? everything will keep snowballing if you accept every request and demand from the client, the moment when you start to say “no” will cause a “crack” in the relationship with your client.

How do you get ahead of scope creep? Is it the client’s fault that you have to spend extra hours in front of your computer working?
I would say that it’s hardly the client’s fault since it’s very common to have an idea, a lightbulb moment during the project that they think can have a positive impact on the business with you saying yes they either think that: this must be easy enough to change or you’re a pushover who will agree to everything they say. Either of those is hardly true (well, maybe the latter is sometimes true). The way I deal with scope creep now is to have a system, the difference between the pros and amateur is the pro has a system:

  • List out the detailed timeline and deliverables (scope of work): having things written down in an agreement and contract is a great first step for both you and a client to get on the same page, understanding what’s the project about, when and how it will be delivered
  • Set expectations and boundaries before work: let the client know that you are a professional who is focused and works with a system, not a tool that the client can use and push around, you have spent years and resources to get where you are now, the client should respect your craft as you should too.
  • Invite the client into the process, and work them through on how and why you make a decision -> this will eliminate impulsive, unthoughtful decisions from the clients.
  • Always reflect and compare the project progress in each milestone with the agreed-upon scope of work and the project’s goals.
  • If there’s a much-needed scope change, take a deep breath, stand firm, and let them know there will be budget and/or timeline implications or this will be a different project after this current project is finished and achieved its goals.

Humility is the best teacher

Date posted: October 16, 2023

One of the things I found very helpful when learning new things is to be humble. 

Whether you are at the gym, in class, at work, or anywhere, learn to listen, be humble, undestand that some people knows more than you are, some are more qualified and more specialized, somebody always know something that you don’t.

Don’t be quick to talk or to argue or debate, start by listening to what they have to say or what you might have done wrong. From there, you have the option to learn from their feedbacks and input, understand that you don’t know everything is very liberating and inspiring way to learn, you must first open the bottle before letting the water in.

Be a student, be humble.

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