Ode to Office Furniture

Oh chair, dear chair I hate you so.
Each day (all day) I spend with you
You push and prod and hurt my back.
I’d like to try to hurt you back
But that’s petty and stupid
And truth be told,
Will cost me much more than
Another trip to the Back Store
To drool at your distant cousins:
Miller, Aeron, Obus, and such
Perhaps then my threats to
You are based more on an
Ongoing fear of having
To spend a grand or
More to just sit
At work for the
Briefest break
From pain.

An Extremely Unscientific Study #1

Can you help me get a sense of something? What do you think of sites that have multiple styles? I’m not talking about different font sizes, but different colour schemes and headers. Like ’em? Hate ’em? Never use ’em? Fluff or cool?

Why blog design?

So, in the ongoing spirit of making bold, somtimes totally wrong statements, I bring you the following, from an article recently posted at The Blog Studio blog

bq. Finally, blog design is a tool to help you maximize your return on the time and energy your blog will consume. Imagine giving a presentation in a flat monotone. Now give that same presentation with animation and passion. That difference is the role and responsibility of good blog design.

This is very much true of design as a whole. I target blog design with this statement though because so many businesses are using inadequate stock templates for their business blogs.

Inadequate is a pretty strong word, but given what I’m seeing out there, it’s perfectly apt.

If you’re interested, the full article is posted “here”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/what-is-blog-design.

Who should be blogging – Part 6. Ski Resorts

It’s hot out. What better way to cool off than by thinking about skiing. Part 6 in the ever expanding Who Should be Blogging series continues with a match made in heaven. Blogging was made for ski resorts, golf courses, scuba sites and more.

You can read the article “here”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-6-ski-resorts

The index thus far:

“Part One – Specialty Retailers”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-1-specialty-retailers

“Part Two – Realtors”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-2-realtors

“Part Three – Used Car Dealers”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging-used-car-dealers (I still can’t believe no one is doing this!)

“Part Four – Freelancers”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-4-freelancers

“Part Five – Virtual Assistants”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-5-virtual-assistants

“Part Six – Ski Resorts”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-6-ski-resorts

Fast User Switching for the brain?

To be a successful freelancer requires the ability to quickly switch from big picture to the tiniest detail and back again in an instant. One needs to be able to hold simultaneous views of the task and how the task fits into a larger context. Fast user switching for the mind, if you will.

This is very hard.

In his latest book eMyth Mastery Michael Gerber describes steps and practices to help you learn to work _on_ your business instead of just _in_ it.

Working _on_ your business means going beyond the day-to-day tasks of keeping your freelance practice running into building a business with value unto itself. It’s leadership, marketing, finance and more. It’s the difference between working every day at the grind and selling your company for ten million dollars.

h2. Marco and Micro

As a freelancer, macro is hard for two reason:

* micro pays the bills
* it’s difficult to mentally switch focal length

There are only so many hours in the day, and short of taking speed, I’m not going to be sitting at my desk for more than I already do. Micro work – in my case designing and building web sites – pays the bills. There are lots, and lots of bills. Luckily, there’s also lots and lots of work (knocking on wood as I type this).

As it happens I really enjoy big picture planning. I’m goal oriented, and I need to know where I’m going otherwise I feel like I’m spinning my wheels. I like strategizing and working on systems, and generally building a business that can run without my direct involvement. In fact, were my fairy godmother to ever grant me a wish, it would be to work on the big picture full time. I’m not counting on her though, so I’m building a framework that will allow me to achieve my goal over time and hard work.

Which is why I’m thinking about how *hard* it is to switch from macro to micro.

Like many of you, I’m a rabid fan of “43folders”:http://www.43folders.com. “to-done”:http://www.todone.com and the like. They’ve helped me realize my lust for the tools and methodologies of productivity. What they haven’t done is give me the tools I need to easily switch from global to local; to actually *maximize my effort.*

I have a difficult time keeping my finger on the page in one book while working in the other. Get me in design mode, and strategy takes a back seat and shuts up. In planning mode I find it difficult to yank myself back down to the reality of, you know, work.

My current strategy involves sticking a note on my monitor that reads “How have you made money today?”. This no-so subtle reminder to myself to pull my head from the clouds and meet my targets is surprisingly effective. I know there must be some other ways of balancing planning and executing. I’d like to know what you do?

Do you set specific time aside? Do you have “meetings” with yourself? Have you split the responsibilities up with a partner?

Share please!

You know you're good when

I just noticed that while “Darren’s”:http://www.problogger.net been on holiday, the number of subscribers to “problogger”:http://www.problogger.net has *increased*. Darren is so good he _doesn’t even need to be there!_ He might just want us to hold onto the keys and keep taking care of the house.

I’d also really like to thank “cssimport”:http://www.cssimport.com for including almost cool. I’m in some seriously good company, and feel like the ugly girl at the ball!

Two designs that caught my eye

Two things really caught my eye today. The first is a site by “Jeff Croft”:http://jeffcroft.com/. Although I obviously like the font Jeff has used for his header (same as mine – “Kontrapunkt”:http://www.kontrapunkt.dk/, free from the design studio of the same name), I don’t like it used for more than a word or two. Other than that, I love the site. It’s very similar to some of the ideas I’ve got swirling around for the inevitable Blog Studio “blog”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blog update.

My only negative (other than Kontrapunkt (I know, I’m a hypocrite)), is that the article page break while scrolling in Firefox 1.04 on Tiger. Not a small deal.

The other is “Sixtyspots”:http://www.sixtyspots.com/. It looks a bit too obviously web 2.0 – ok, ok, the future is here and it’s shiny, we get it. But it has some killer usability features. Before you enter your email (or for those of you not interested in doing so) hit “fly away” and watch what happens. Very slick.

What about you? Anyone else see anything particularly particular?

BTW: I’m on pain killers and scotch, hence the rather less than thrilling post. Will hopefully be back up and in action in a couple of days. How about some good links to keep me entertained whilst flat on the ground?

Who should be blogging – Part 4 Freelancers

Part 4 in the _Who should be blogging_ series is up at “The Blog Studio”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-4-freelancers

I’m my own case study in this one. Here’s the intro:

If you do freelance work of any kind, and you’re not business blogging, you’re leaving money on the table. I’m my own case study in this installment.

Unless you’re doing _exactly_ the work you want to be doing for _exactly_ the clients you want to work for, you should be blogging. Here’s why:

“Continue reading”:http://www.theblogstudio.com/blogarticle/who-should-be-blogging—part-4-freelancers