Website Tips of the Day Part 1

Managing Your Time While Creating Your Own Website

Anyone who has been working on websites for very long knows how complicated it can be and how easy it is to get distracted and off track. Here are a few simple tips on effective time management for those of you who are new to the game.

1. Use developer tools

The Google Chrome browse has an incredible feature called “developer tools” which helps making code related edits to your site a snap. To use, simply bring up your site, right click on whatever page element you wish to modify and select “Inspect element”. This will bring up the code where you will be able to see the HTML and the CSS and make adjustments to see how your changes will affect the site. Once you get the elements working the way you want them, you can simply copy and paste your new code into either your theme’s style sheet or your custom CSS.

Firefox also has a feature very similar to this that I have not used as often. I would welcome comments from readers on which they think is more effective. When I learned how to use these tools I became easily three times the web developer I was before.

2. Manage your tasks

In order to maximize productivity, one must build our websites one part at a time. I have a terrible tendency to get ADD while working and just start adjusting, fixing, building and creating in a random, senseless fashion. On bad days, I am like a chef who starts baking raw ingredients and then starts mixing dessert and then serves the food and then washes the dishes and then goes to the grocery store and then chops the onions and so on and so on. I end up doing things way out of order and finishing almost nothing.

Every time I start tearing up some CSS on a page, I get distracted by a widget that isn’t working right. Then when I go to fix the widget I notice some posts that are not categorized correctly. Then I recall that I need to set up so-and-so with a user account so they can get blogging. This process continues on and on and I get no where.

My warning is thus: Plan your tasks out in order of priority and stick to the plan. My experience is that nine times out of ten you will be more productive this way.

3. Manage your tabs

Basically, try and keep multitasking to a minimal. Some parts of the website development are very complex and require all of our brain power to manage. They become all the more difficult if you keep getting Facebook chat messages or e-mails in your other tabs. Little distractions (which is basically what 80% of the web consists of) can really throw you off when you get involved in a challenging web project.

4. Know when to outsource

Before starting a complicated task, ask yourself a few questions:

  1. (Roughly) How long will it take me to complete this task?
  2. How long would it take a sub-contractor to complete this task?
  3. How much would it cost for a sub-contractor to handle this project?
  4. Is this task a good learning opportunity for something I will likely do a lot of in the future?

I have gotten into the habit of asking myself these questions before starting nearly every project, regardless of scale. Each one of these questions can change my final decision. A smart web developer (or any other professional service provider for that matter) knows their strengths and focuses on those.

5. Cross check in other browsers

This is a huge time saver. Why? Because it will be a major waste of time to discover later on that IE can’t handle your lovely slider or nav menu. Much more efficient to discover it in the beginning before too much time is wasted. Some web developers I know even do much of their work IN INTERNET EXPLORER! This seems just a little extreme to me (almost masochistic really) but it works for them and they minimize browser compatibility issues as a result. To each his own.

Well, that’s all for today. Check back soon for more tips and please feel free to share your thoughts on how to manage your web designing time.

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