Tag Archives: Logical

How much is too much?

What do you do when you feel like you’ve got so much on you can’t catch your breath?  When as soon as you get a grip on what you need to focus on and what you need to accomplish the list doubles and doubles again?

As I’ve said before at the moment I’m juggling the delicate balancing act of working full time and studying full time.  Granted that I’m using the amazing technology of the internet to earn a University degree online without ever having to attend a lecture or tutorial in person.  But this comes with it’s own challenges.  To study online you need to be dedicated and self motivated.  There is no set time of the day or week that you HAVE to do anything.  No recurring lecture to attend, no tutorial group to discuss ideas with and get an immediate insight on the topics with.  You find the time, whatever time that is.  For me it’s increasingly becoming about 5 in the morning when I get home from work and can’t sleep I log on do some readings and post in the discussion board.  But unless you make yourself keep on track, unless you prioritise your life and commit to making study work, it won’t.

Up to this point I’ve been able to navigate the rocky terrain of this journey relatively unscathed.  Sure there is always a time when everything is due at once and work needs my full attention as well.  But that’s the exception to the rule, usually I’m able to plan things in advance enough for me to be able to maintain some form of balance and still have some form of life outside of work and Uni.

Recently there are more and more things coming up that I need to focus on.  I’m still working hard at work and uni, I’m also putting a lot of effort to build my social media skills and develop a genuine online presence, on top of that I’m working on a freelance design for Pride March Victoria, I’m getting the framework and website together for my freelance web design company Blushing Toms Design and I’m also committed to enhancing the website and web presence of Blushing Toms to generate more sales, reach more people, develop new products and really establish us as a renowned business in the LGBTI community.  On top of all that is another new venture that’s knocking on my door, it looks amazing and enticing, but it will also take an incredible amount of time, energy, enthusiasm, creativity and persistence to make it work.

Is that too much?  Will it be the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back?

Usually it’s easy to tell when there is too much of something, you’re filling up a glass and it overflows, thats too much.  You feed your dog a bone that is double the size of it’s entire body, regardless of what your dog may tell you that IS too much.  But when it’s intangible things, when it’s your time, your effort and your energy where do you draw the line?  Do you wait until you burn out, have a breakdown and can’t do anything other than watch bad daytime TV for a year to recover?

That’s not something I’m all too keen on, don’t get me wrong daytime TV can be a good break but there’s far to many bad infomercials for my liking.  Truth be told I think your body and your instincts give you the signal when things are getting on top of you, even if you don;t always recognise what they’re trying to tell you. The trouble is your mind can sometimes take over and override those natural signals to slow down and focus.  Because your mind is part of your ego, and I don’t know about you, buy my ego always wants me to be capable, responsible and in control.  It wants to get a sense of achievement from doing things that seem impossible, from pushing boundaries and taking on the world no matter the cost.

This is the dilemma I’m facing at the moment, is it all too much?  Is my ego clouding the judgement of what my body and mind can handle? Or am I just scared of what might happen if I dive in and fail?

To be honest I think I know what I need to do, but knowing it and doing it are two very different things.  There have been a number of times in my life that have pushed me to make tough decisions, stand up for myself and live my truth no matter what anyone thought or the consequences it may bring.  I’m starting to think this is one of them.

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Am I a strategic thinker or a creative?

Recently scrolling through the myriad of blogs, articles and tutorials around web design, I came across a post about the different approaches one can take on in an effort to create and promote themselves as a web designer. Even at these the initial stages of my web design journey, I find the dichotomy of the need to be creative and the push for strategic and logical thinking within myself hard to reconcile to say the least.

In her article ‘Creativity vs. Strategy: What do people really want?’, Kendra Gaines (2011) addresses the need for both creative and strategic thinking to become a great web designer. On the one hand she describes the way that creativity is the essence of design and a sensitive beast that can be stifled by overthinking or too much analysis. Conversely she describes the benefits of being strategic and ensuring you prepare yourself logically for what is to come and what you need to undertake. To me, the ideal balance between these two worlds is illustrated in web design by the creation of wireframes on one hand, and storyboards on the other. The wireframes represent the strategy, you are logically and deliberately planning in the simplest way possible how to structure a website to optimize usability and return on investment for your client. The storyboard (the most fun for me) shows the aesthetic of the site, what colors will be used, how the menu will be dynamic, the imagery you’ve created to deliver optimal branding to your client.

As found by Gaines (2011), I too am a mix of strategic and creative thinking. But the real challenge is finding the RIGHT mix between the two, and ensuring that they nurture and enhance each other. Because you can be the most creative person in the world, but if you have no strategy around what to do with it, you won’t get very far.

Gaines, K. (2011) Creativity vs. Strategy: What do people really want?, http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2011/11/creativity-vs-strategy-what-do-people-really-want/ (Accessed 4 November 2011)


Why Web Design?

The perfect storm of a creative, logistic and scientific mind.

This is what makes Web Design so formidable.  Evolution tells us that it is not in our nature to have both our creative (right) and logical (left) sides of our brain working at the same high level.  But this is what Web Design asks us to do.

Creatively you need to see the end product, to envisage beauty, sleek lines, beautiful or powerful images, you need to see each page as its own work of art, having its own beauty and fitting into the showcase of the website as a whole. A website is not raw creativity, you can’t  just envision your page and start painting it using fine motor skills that we have developed over thousands of years, in the technological age it would never be that easy.

In order to translate your vision there is a myriad of technical hurdles to jump, you need to think about usability, will anyone be able to go to the site and intuitively know how to get where they want to go?  You need to think about functionality, do you need a sidebar on the left, the right or both? Do you need a footer? Do you want the menu to drop down or pop up? How will this affect click through rates? Will you need to reference the work or images of another?

Once the vision of the page is determined, and the site’s functionality is drilled down, the web designers job is not over, no not by a long shot.  This is when the days of endless coding come in, typing frantically into the night, squinting at lines of seemingly illogical code looking for the hidden piece of the puzzle that will make your vision a reality.

Web Design as a pursuit pushes anyone who commits to it, if you are a naturally strong creative person it draws you in and then challenges you to be systematic and logical.  If you are left brain dominant, it pushes you to stimulate your creativity, to draw on inspiration from others to find your own vision.  I believe this is why Web Design is such a booming industry at the moment, every business needs a website to survive.  If you’re not on Google, you won’t be found.  This is forcing the Web Design industry to push the boundaries of their creative, usability and technical sides to have continuous growth and improvement.


In the beginning

In the early hours of the morning I found myself yet again staring furtively at the screen, my eyes weary from hours spent searching the endless lines of code for an answer that I was starting to believe wasn’t going to come. As I rise to fetch a new mug of coffee to fuel my endeavors for hopefully another hour or so, I ask myself “Why?”

Flashback to a few months earlier, I am at home, slumped on the couch half watching a TV show just to pass the time.  I’ve returned from another day at work, going through the motions, doing the same thing I did the day before, and the same thing I’ll do tomorrow.  A sobering thought flashed across my mind, the same thought I’d had for as long as I can remember “Is THIS all I can do?  Is this all I’m meant to be?”

Then something changed, an idea, a spark of life, an online business.

My friends and I decided to create our own business, but how to get it online?  I’ve always been technically minded, always wanted to know how things work, why they work, with a keen eye for detail, systems and patterns.  As soon as the website was mentioned, something deep inside me said “I can build it”.  Up to this point I’d never had any training or experience with web design or any other kind of programming, but still this voice “I can build it”.

Despite my lack of experience, my friends put their faith in me to bring our website and our business to the world.  I started reading, I watched seminars, I downloaded videos, I attended online conferences, I signed up to every web design blog/article/magazine I could find.  Slowly but surely it started coming together.  The more I learnt, the more it fuelled me to discover more, the more it challenged me the harder I pushed myself.  I was driven, I was alive!  But there was only so much I could learn on my own.  On a leap of faith and without a second thought I enrolled in an Internet Communications & Web Design degree and I’ve never looked back.

The internet has changed the world and continues shape the way we live.  Web design is the perfect mix of creative and logical thinking, driven by beauty and inspiration, built from systematic technicality, built for me.