Making routine work not so routine

We just returned from a great vacation last night, and I’m finally going through about 300 emails, the ones I deleted from the Blackberry while away (I answered the most pressing ones at night).

I’m still in vacation mode. That’s not easy considering it was 95 degrees when we left Florida and we arrived home in a 29 degree semi-blizzard; it took us almost two hours to drive home from Denver. I don’t understand why it’s always snowing when we get back from vacation – the last 3 years. It’s ridiculous.¬† And today the high here was 30. Brrr.

Anyway I’m reviewing lots of emails. A number of requests for new work or updating older sites from existing customers. At least three quote requests for Monday, and a few more later in the week. I have one gigantic project, a number of medium-sized ones nearing completion, and a few new ones starting up in the next three weeks.

There’s an awful lot of work to be done, and a lot of it is, well, somewhat monotonous. It’s easy stuff, especially the development side. But I was just thinking about that as I unpacked souvenirs from Disney World. I don’t deny I got some interesting design ideas by being there for a week…

So I was just thinking as I wade through these new work requests – why does that development work have to be boring? Just because I can crank it out without thinking, do I have to do that?

The answer is no, I really don’t. I think that I can enliven some of the ‘easy’ stuff by looking for new ways to do familiar things. For instance – the ubiquitous gallery slideshow script. There are a few that I use a lot, for WordPress or HTML sites¬† (Slideshow2, Plogger, Highslide, SimpleViewer, SmoothGallery, and many small CSS-only or CSS-and-jQuery offerings). But I’m always on the lookout for a new gallery appropriate to a specific project and I’ve collected several dozen, any of which might be useful at one time or another. That list is always growing – I have a new one I’ll be trying out this coming week.

I think I’ll be trying to use that kind of expansive thinking the next time I have a task come up that I normally wouldn’t think twice about. It will help me by being fun (always fun) and giving me a broader collection of tools and techniques to draw on. I don’t know why I haven’t been doing this more – maybe it took a break from work to see the opportunity.

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