Some designers make me sick.

Not sick like I'm disgusted with them, but this pit deep sickness in my stomach while marvelling at the beauty of what they've created. The fear that I will never be that good. Some work is just so beautiful. The way their designs mingle with code and seem to dance on the page. It's paralyzing.

Have you ever felt that way? In order to kick it, you need to dig in and get lost in your own work. Here are a few tips I use to move beyond it.

Disrupt Your Rhythm

"If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got."

One week ago my wife and I spontaneously put all our possessions in storage and took off to Central America with nothing but our knapsacks and laptops. An interesting thing about being in a rented cabana a thousand miles from home, with no TV or yard work to do, is that we have a renewed focus. Our rhythm was disrupted. We're unconstrained.

Appreciate Your Work

I received an email this morning from a client I haven't worked with in years - he commented on how awesome the work I've been doing lately is, so I looked back over my portfolio and was able to appreciate it. It was a rare moment, but necessary. Sometimes it's good to stop and reflect on what you've done.

I made those things. Yes, I can do better, but I made them and I enjoyed it.

Ignore The Voices

This is my ticket to producing work I love. While designing, ignore the negative voices in your head and enjoy the process instead. These kinds of thoughts should be ignored (I call them blockers):

  • I just need to get this done
  • I have so much work to do
  • I'll never be as good as them
  • My client doesn't have the budget for this
  • This will be too hard to code
  • I don't have enough time

When you ignore your blockers, you can design for fun. When you design for fun, you produce work you love. When you love it, other people love it. Get lost in it, forget how much time you're spending, and enjoy your work.

Disrupt your rhythm, appreciate how far you've come, and ignore the voices.