Things have been busy for me lately, which is never a bad thing. However, I’m feeling unfulfilled by what I have achieved – or not achieved!

Where have you been, dotjay? Why did you leave us?

I’ve been beavering away like Dexter on some epoch-making projects in my secret lab. OK, that’s a lie. The truth is that I’ve just been busy. Ain’t we all? But most people probably have something to show for their hard work. Recent weeks have just felt like one of those times when you look back and think, “what the heck have I done with the last few weeks?!”

“Proper” work has been quite busy. However, most of the stuff I’ve been doing has either been maintenance for long-term projects or subcontracted under a non-disclosure agreement. It has left me with a feeling that I’ve done a whole lot of work, but have little that embodies that work.

I’ve been up to London and back a few times over the last two months as well. And there have been quite a few things to do at home lately. So, this site just hasn’t had a look-in!

It all started when…

Attending @media in June did its usual thing in hyping me up with some ideas for projects and provided some new opportunities and challanges on the horizon.

Now, I’m in no way blaming the conference, as Patrick and his team organised another great one this year. The social events were great and the sessions were good. There were plenty of friendly, like-minded people to meet and loads of familiar faces to catch up with… a haven for concocting plans and fertilising ideas.

But I felt much the same way after last year’s @media as well. The trouble is, I come home and begin to catch up with work after a couple of days good drinking networking at conference and find myself in a wheelspin – a “burnout”. I’m eager to get into some new projects and try out some new ideas, but I fail to realise that I’ve got the brake firmly on.

Perhaps “burnout” is a good word for how I feel at the moment. Maybe the problem for me right now is mental exhaustion, but part of me thinks that just can’t be right. I mean, if I’ve been working so hard and exhausted myself, why don’t I have much to show for it?

Besides “proper” work, there are so many pet projects I want to work on (or get started on, even), but it’s just not happening. While wanting to do one or more side projects, you still have to make a living. Can there be a balance? Am I balancing it well enough? Feel free to give me any pointers you may have in that respect. Judging by the lack of updates here (despite quite a bit of recent experimentation that might be worth reporting) and lack of activity elsewhere, I’ve not been doing much else but work. Is that healthy?

Work and home

I work from home, which has been hectic lately too. After moving home last year, all the little things that come with that have needed doing; finding homes for things, getting rid of stuff that we no longer need, the little bits of DIY, the garden (not that we have much of one), visits from friends and family, and so on.

Usually, work and home don’t mix. I think I’ve managed quite well over recent weeks, sticking to deadlines despite distractions. Continuing to successfully juggle work and free time has become the issue now I think. While some people really need to separate work and home stuff in order to get things done, I’ve always found that I can be productive on both accounts if I’m organised about it. That’s where things have fallen apart – organisation.

Getting some traction

It hasn’t helped that I’ve pretty much abandoned my flipbook since we moved home. I still list tasks in it every now and then, but I no longer get the “I’ll take that on-board but deal with it later” filing mentality or the daily prioritisation of the things I have to do, both of which the flipbook provided.

So, I’m going to start using my flipbook again. I haven’t really gotten on with the other productivity tools I’ve tried. I’ll often fail to open Sunbird for days or weeks. Open Workbench seems like overkill. Basecamp, as wonderful as it might be, doesn’t fit in my pocket like my flipbook. So, that’s step one – get organised again.

I think I also need to set myself some goals, or give myself a new challenge. I’ve been considering something for some time now – a slight shift from Web Design. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for that yet though – I still need to make a living. So, setting realistic goals it is for the meantime.

First and foremost, I think I need to focus on getting more on top of work. I feel quite comfortable with it at the moment, but being complacent can sneak up behind you and bite you on the arse. So, I want to get ahead of the game.

I’ve managed to half-finish a few blog posts over the last couple of months, but almost nothing has been published. I’m hoping to change that. Everyone needs an outlet, and I think it can be really helpful and motivating to get a regular dialogue going. I’m going to try to post things without being my usual perfectionist self and see how that goes.

On @media 2006

Being as I’ve mentioned @media, I may as well tag this on the end as I never did write a post-@media post this year. Suffice to say that I thoroughly enjoyed it. If I met you for the first time, it was a pleasure. If I already knew you, it was a pleasure again.

Now, who wanted copies of this photo?