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Why being too focused is a bad thing.

[Cross-posted #]

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?

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2 thoughts on “Why being too focused is a bad thing.”

  1. Your description of how you have to figure out what the clients really want despite what they claim to want is really interesting. That’s one of the first things my boss told me about this job when I first started in April – listening between the lines. A very tough thing to figure out, so hooray for you!
    Not hooray for you getting sick though. I’ve been feeling that autumnal lassitude/lethargy and it’s been bringing me down a bit. I’m definitely not hitting the goals I’ve set for myself, but I try to remember that I can always try again tomorrow.

    1. Yeah – overall I love fall and always look forward to it, but I always forget how I tend to lose energy this time of year. I’m sure allergies are the biggest culprit – husband says I’ve been snoring a lot lately, so they must be aggravating my sleep apnea. Guess I should probably save up to splurge on a refill of my Flonase prescription.

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