jeff gardner.

Time to Think

Too much of my work lately has been rushed. I know this statement is true because I find myself, more and more often, daydreaming about simple website projects where the client says to me, “All I need is 5 pages, go find the best designer you can and take your time on making the site as beautiful (inside and out) as you can”. And I am always left wondering the same thing when I finally snap out of it: Does this happen? Are there even clients like that? Then my next thought: Perhaps it only happens after you have given all your hours outside of the normal workday to unceasing self-promotion, viral demos of bleeding edge browser features and high-profile open source projects in order to gain the credibility to unwaveringly do it “your way” on every project and still make good money.[1]

Quality vs. Quantity

Quality and quantity are mutually exclusive. I suppose in some conservation of matter quantum physical sense there really can’t be any other way. But that’s not a very satisfying answer, is it? Where is the third door? The idea that you can only work on a few projects if you are going to make them really good appeals to my perfectionist nature but my more business like side immediately wonders where the financial incentive is - because as much as you hear about clients that are willing to sign the blank checks there just aren’t that many out there in reality. So is that really it? If you to make only the stuff you think is beautiful you have to take on the visage of starving artist and if you want to be financially successful you have to figure out the most efficient way to get well-paying contracts and then blast through them in record time? I’m not interested in being a starving artist of any kind but I do know that commodifying any creative pursuit is a quick way to find the lowest common denominator.

Job ≠ Life

I love development and I love the work that I’m lucky enough to get to do on a daily basis but I also love going skiing and climbing and I also love shooting photos, oh and I love learning this new language that we’ve surrounded ourselves with. I think you get my point. I see these blog posts about the differences in the way different browsers round off percentage measurements and I wonder how in the hell the author had the time to figure out all those minute details, let alone write a detailed and thoughtful article about it. I suppose there are always those people that just can’t get enough. They do this work for a living and then they spend all their afterwork hours doing the same work for themselves. Or maybe they’re just super-human. Unfortunately, I am not super-human. And as far as spending all my time on one thing, I’m not interested. Life is too big, too expansive to spend it doing just one thing. Even if, at the end of the road, you can say that you were absolutely the best in the world at doing that one thing.

Desperately seeking the Balance

So here is my plea[2]. As much with myself as with anyone else. I would like to do work for clients that appreciate that seriously good takes serious time. That designing and programming websites is not just about slamming out deliverables and conforming to budget. That it’s not a billboard, it’s not a cog in the marketing machine. That a well conceived, well executed website is your chance to connect on a meaningful level with your customers, wherever they may be. And, finally, that it’s the small details that matter the most. All the stuff that isn’t flashy (function testing, browser testing, responsive web design, accessibility and web-standards to name a few) is often the most important part about creating a beautiful user experience.

Shameless Plug

If you resonated with the aforementioned sentiments or have a small website project that you are interested in putting into very capable hands, please get in touch. Additionally, If you or someone you know is suffering from a bank account that is too large, definitely get in touch, I know of a revolutionary cure to just such a syndrome.

Notes

  1. Just so we're clear here, this is me whining about how I wish the day actually contained 48 hours for me and not everyone else.
  2. Because I hope by now you can see that this isn't a post about answers only unanswered questions that have been bothering me. Cause that's just how we roll.

Tagged: work, life, and time management
22 March 2011

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