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The Power of Simplicity for Web Designers

Learn the Power of a Simple Life from Joel Zaslofsky

How powerful is simple?

Does your life feel like an endless To-Do list where a new task pops-out after you finished one?

Work, family, business, even gadgets seem to clamor for our attention. Even when armed with the latest tools to keep life uncomplicated, the opposite is happening and there’s no time to slow down.

Will it ever change?

Joel Zaslofksy says yes it is possible to simplify life and take time to smell the flowers. What more, he also tells you that slowing a bit more will not jeopardize your career.

Joel Zaslofsky used to work in corporate America and was one of the rats in the endless race to fame, money, and fortune. On top of that, he was addicted to World of Warcraft, which took most of his waking times when he’s not working.

However, his wife announcing the birth of their first child made him stop and evaluate his life. He asked himself if that was the kind of life he wanted his child to have. His answer and his evaluation of his life made a 180-degree turn and eliminated the things that complicate them.

Defining Enough

Simple living does not necessarily mean that you only have the bare necessities in life. Rather, it comes from the concept of “enough.”

What is enough for you? How much money is enough? How many things are enough? When do you say you have enough relationships?

Is your life better or worse when you strip yourself of some things? Answering this will give you a clue of what is enough for you. It will also help you eliminate things that are not necessary in your life.

Need Vs. Want

“There are things I need to abstain from.”

These are the first words Joel uttered as he explained his difficulty of applying moderation to his life. He simply didn’t know how he could do that because he was given to extremes.

The answer was to test his assumptions – Is life better with or without this? Surprisingly, the answer oftentimes is life is better without most of the things in your life right now, whether they are things or relationships.

What Simplicity Can Do

Ken Segall, former Creative Director of Apple, said that “Simplicity is the ultimate competitive weapon.” No one can attest to those words more than web design professionals who know that what works well in design isn’t something complicated but simple.

In our lives, simplicity benefits us in so many ways – it increases our self-awareness as well as our ability to be grateful, even with the little things. Moreover, simplifying things make us content with the relationships we have rather than getting happiness from the things we can get.

Conclusion

Simple is powerful because it makes things easier and clearer. It also lessens the time we spend on things making us save more than waste more. Steve Jobs said that when you say no to a thousand things, you innovate. So learn to simplify and innovate to become more capable and highly efficient.

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Easy Steps How to Stay Fit as a Web Designer

Learn How to Stay Fit as a Web Designer from Brandon Epstein

How do you stay fit as a web designer?

Getting clients is not the only challenge web designers face, but also how to stay fit.

Most, if not all, web designers have a hard time staying fit, let alone get up from their chairs when working on a project. If you would sum up a web designer’s life, most of their lives revolve around the table and in front of the computer.

But what if you can change this?

Yes, you can actually motivate yourself to take a break from that project you’re working on and will yourself towards being healthy and fit. All it takes is put some element of fun and you’re set.

Brian Epstein of Zen Dude Fitness talks about how this can be achieved and maintain a balance between work and fitness. When you visit his website and look at his well-toned body, you can’t help but envy him and think that it’s easy for him to talk about his things. However, when you read more about his story, you will see his journey and transformation from being someone who didn’t care about his health and body to someone who values health and fitness.

So how did he do it? Read this article and watch the accompanying video interview with Brian to know more about it and change your life.

1. Gamify

Gamification is a marketing strategy where you apply game design techniques and mechanics to engage and motivate people to continually achieve more results. This concept of game does not only apply to marketing, but also to staying fit. When you include the element of fun in even the most difficult task, you will find yourself more willing to do it because it ceases to become a task but just another game.

2. Simplify

Let’s be honest: One of the main reasons why a lot of people get turned off with health and fitness is because of too much information. People look at all these fitness and diet plans with all the complicated steps and requirements; therefore, instead of being motivated, they shy away from it. This is a natural reaction – people don’t want complicated things.

3. Adjust

There are many kinds of diet – high-fat, high-protein, etc. However, you are not everyone so if a high-carb diet works with 35 to 40 percent of people, it does not necessarily mean it will also work for you. Same way goes with other types of diets.  So the best way to do when it comes to food is remember three things:

  • Understand that calories are king. – How many calories should you take in order to maintain or lose your diet? There’s a great tool here which you can use if you want to know exactly about your calorie intake.
  • Get the right macro-nutrients distribution. – You should be able to get the right percentage of fats, proteins, and carbs.
  • Eat the right forms of these macro-nutrients. – It’s eating from the specific food list to help you sustain your energy and not crash.

You have to understand that what you eat should not just affect your body alone, but also your mood – how you feel and how productive you are.

There has been a lot of studies about flow states, which is your ability to lock in on something with a feeling of energized focus and you are able to perform your best mentally, physically, emotionally, etc. We will be able to achieve these flow states when we take care of our own body, eat the right food, and exercise properly.

In fact, studies show that CEOs who get into these flow states are five times more productive. So when you take a break from work, eat the right kind of foods, and exercise, you have five times more productivity when you get back to work.

Just imagine the great return of investment it has for you as a web design professional.

 

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Announcement of #EspressoMonday

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.21

Announcement of #EspressoMonday

A pleasant Monday to all creatives and coffee lovers out there who have always been anticipating our #EspressoMonday episodes. We’re extremely grateful for your support as well as the questions you’ve thrown our way.

However, after filming 20 episodes and reading the influx of questions, we felt that it’s time for a change. Before we go any further with this special #EspressoMonday announcement, let’s get that Java down our throat to start another exciting week.

As we mentioned, this will be an exciting week because we will be announcing a new format and a new season not only for our #EspressoMonday episode, but for the 1stWebDesigner format as a whole. One thing is certain – the changes will definitely be for the better.

The Reason Behind the Change

It is always a fact that nothing is permanent – change is always waiting to happen. However, change is necessary, especially in the World Wide Web. We always have to keep up with the change or we will sink into oblivion. Most importantly, though, the change reflects our commitment to always deliver the best available tools and information to make you much better with your craft.

Another reason behind the change is the fact that the influx of questions that come our way is too much to handle already. Moreover, we can only handle certain topics and to answer questions that are way beyond our expertise would be unfair for you.

For one, we are not Wikipedia and, at the same time, we want to give you information or tips that we know really works. We don’t want to pretend that we are experts at something we are not. For example, we want to give you more in-depth topics regarding design and coding as well as the business side of the web design profession.

Simply put, #EspressoMonday won’t be the same #EspressoMonday you’ve been following the past few months.

Bringing in the Experts

If you have noticed, we have already introduced some changes in the website. However, we are happy to announce that instead of the usual one video per week we give you, you will soon see a whole lot of helpful videos every week. Not to mention the articles and the podcasts you’ve already come to anticipate.

Another big change we’re going to implement is that James, our CEO, won’t just be the only one to answer all the questions. Instead, we will be inviting different experts and industry leaders to address each particular question with more in-depth information and examples.

For starters, we’ve already brought you Aaron Walker and Jairek Robbins with their very insightful tips and advice how to succeed as a web design professional.

Conclusion

These are just some of the changes we’re bringing in and hopefully, a lot more. Despite these changes, however, our love for coffee hasn’t waned. So even though there’s a new format to our show, we still encourage you to bring your cup of coffee, not just on Mondays because every day is Espresso Day!

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Best Business Tips on How to Become a Great Web Designer

Learn How to Become a Great Designer from Jairek Robbins

What are the best business tips how to become a great web designer?

I think you’ll agree with us when we say:

It is always a challenge for web designers to find the right methods and strategies how to increase their performance so they can generate more income.

Is it, really?

The good news is, there really are proven tips that will give you an edge how to be a successful web developer and to become one of the leaders in the industry. They are actually not new, but oftentimes overlooked wisdom because they sound and look simple.

In this video interview, Jairek Robbins shares more than just his two cents, but a whole lot of wisdom that will make you a better web designer. You can take all the tips and apply them one at a time in your life or career as a website designer. And in so doing, you will be able to increase your value and naturally expand your client base. So let’s look at each of them.

1. Always find something to learn from people.

To become a successful web designer, you need to accept the fact that there’s always something you can learn from people, whether from their successes or from their mistakes.

2. Have an accurate view how to build a really solid foundation.

Good money will not come in just because you created a nice blog, a website, or a logo. Rather, your success hugely depends on how big your community and platform are as well as the amount of time you invested to bring so much value to people that they trust you enough to learn more from you.

3. Be willing to give your gift to the world no matter what it takes.

Identify what the core talent or gift you want to share with the world and be willing to share it anytime, anywhere that you begin to generate a lot of value from it as well as generate desire for people to start wanting what you have to offer them.

4. Be willing to earn your way to the top.

A lot of marketers and sales people often teach that you need to set a high price in order to find better customers. The reality, however, is you’re not even booked for a project that costs $800 so why demand a $25,000 rate. You have to be willing to start at the bottom and bring value in what you do until people start noticing what you can deliver. Then, you can increase your rate because that’s the only way to go.

5. Just show up and serve.

Show up and serve people. Show up and serve even if they don’t have anything to pay you, but they have the audience and the platform to get your message across. Be willing to deliver again and again.

Give them what they need. Give them what they want. Give them even what they don’t know they need. Do it so well that they begin to brag you to every person they meet. That will make your business grow and expand naturally no matter what industry you are in.

Conclusion

Becoming a great web designer and getting into the place where good money is, requires an investment of your time, money, and effort. You need to have the drive to learn new skills and new tools to make yourself better and better, which adds to your value. When you add value, you also begin to create a brand and a name for yourself as well as increasing your skills and the ability to serve.

And the end result of it?

Your worth increases as well as your confidence because you have the evidence to back the claim of being a great web designer.

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What’s The Difference Between UI And UX Design?

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.20

What’s The Difference Between UI And UX Design?

This is another special episode of EspressoMonday because we have Christian Vasile talk about the difference between UI and UX design. And instead of espresso, Christian has ketchup with him. However, it should not stop you from grabbing your own cup of java as we delve into UX and UI design.

Two of the most often used words in the web design industry are UX and UI, which stands for user experience and user interface. Although they sound simple, there have been a lot of misconceptions and complications regarding their differences causing quite a stir in the design community.

The Difference in a Nutshell

Defining UI and UX is quite easy. UI or user interface is the visual side of design. It is what you do in Photoshop or Illustrator. UX or user experience, on the other hand, is what you do outside. How do you make your users feel about the product? How do you make them feel when they use the product? Are they happy? Angry? Satisfied?

Another way of putting it is UX design is the process which enhances customer satisfaction and loyalty. This can be done by improving the usability, pleasure, and ease of use which happens when the customer interact with the product.

Therefore, the job of a UX designer also involves being a marketer as he develops the development and improvement of the quality which satisfies the customer as well as the business owner.

UI design, on the other hand, is similar to graphic design, but sometimes extend to brand design and even front end development. It is responsible for translating the the strength and visual assets of the brand to a product’s interface to make the user experience much better.

The Ketchup Metaphor

The best way to illustrate the difference between UX and UI is by using the ketchup metaphor.

A few years back, there was a ketchup company that designed a beautiful bottle for its ketchup. It had a wide bottom with a thick and narrow neck. It is designed to be always placed upright inside the refrigerator. However, when there’s little ketchup left in the bottle, you have to shake the bottle hard in order to get the ketchup out of the bottle making the process a bit annoying to the user.

The ketchup company learned about this and they redesigned the bottle. The new bottle has a wider top which enables you to place it upside down without getting toppled. So when there’s little ketchup left in the bottle, all you have to do is place it upside down and when you need it, it is easier to squeeze the ketchup out of the bottle. The users were happy about it.

The new design not only solved the problem, but it improved the experience of the user as made them loyal to the product. In terms of the aesthetics or the UI, the new design looked more beautiful and more useful.

Conclusion

Both UX and UI are interrelated and interwoven tightly. One cannot exist without the other. Moreover, they should never run on their own but should coordinate in order to achieve success in your design.

Have a wonderful #ESpressoMonday!

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The Best Work Life Balance Tips to Achieve Significance as a Web Designer

Learn Work Life Balance Tips from Aaron Walker

What are the best work life balance tips to achieve significance as a web designer?

One of the most common struggles every working person, whether a freelancer or not, faces is how to achieve balance between work and life as well as significance while making money. It’s almost impossible for these two to meet halfway and even if they do, they seem to be strange bedfellows.

That is why it is not surprising to find out how often people scour the Web for how-tos and selin order to help them achieve what seems to be an impossible feat for the present-day professional.

A Word from the Wise

Looking at the quote above, you might scratch your head and wonder how in the world can it be the tip to achieve work life balance we’re talking about. Take a closer and you will realize that these are wise words meant to let you re-think and re-assess your life.

Where are you at right now? Are you in the fast lane just making money and forgetting that there’s more to life than amassing wealth?

Aaron Walker  explained how tragedy made him re-think his priorities and was quick to point out that there’s nothing wrong in aiming for wealth, but you have to be aware of keeping the balance lest you forget to find the significance in what you’re doing.

What Real Help Looks Like

Balance isn’t just about how you’re able to efficiently juggle your time between work and other aspects of your life. It is when you give yourself to help others beyond the minimal requirements can you not only achieve balance, but significance as well.

Generosity – helping people using your time, money, or effort – has a way of breaking down the distinction of what’s work and what’s not. There is also a certain joy in being able to help people achieve their fullest and help them to an extent you want to be helped yourself. It is the kind of help done in obedience rather than as a requirement.

As Aaron Walker wisely quoted, “I don’t want to help others because it required of me, but I want to do things significantly because I am being obedient to the things I need to do just as a human being.”

Conclusion

Real balance can be achieved when you are able to find significance as well as help others find their significance in life. Even if you have helped just one person as long as his life has been transformed, the time you have invested is never a waste.

For balance, after all, is when you are able to make a significant difference in the people and the world around you.

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How Much Does A WordPress Website Cost? How Much To Charge For It?

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.19

How much does a WordPress website cost or how much do I charge for it?

Every Monday is a great day because of #EspressoMonday, but today’s episode is much more special because we have Brent Weaver of Ugurus to address our question of the day. So before you get lost in the discussion, let’s get some espresso down our throat to complete this awesome Monday ritual and start the week right.

As already indicated in our title and headline, we will delve into another common question or dilemma faced by web designers. The question might often be asked by those who are still starting in the freelance world of web design. On the other hand, it can also be the dilemma of those who’ve been in the business for quite some time but still struggling about pricing, especially when faced with clients who want a much cheaper website.

The Price is Right

One of the dreams every web designer wish for is that they will be able to quote a price that won’t be contested by their clients. When we’re talking of price here, we are not talking about going cheap but getting the right price concurrent to the value you are bringing into the table.

So how do you charge your clients? How do you convert the effort and the time you’ve put in the project into money?

Unfortunately, you don’t just come up with the price in your head just because you want it. For example, not because $1K sounds nice, you’d charge your client $1K. On the other hand, pricing is not that complicated as you might want to think. In fact, it should not give you a sleepless night or cause you stress for that matter.

To be honest, however, this question is relative. It is like asking someone how long the string is without the specifics. That is because pricing depends on a lot of variables – the type of customer you have, the market they are in, the requirements, what you’re going to do for the client.

Let’s say someone calls you and tells you that they need a website set up on WordPress, you can imagine yourself calculating the numbers in your head. Is it worth a hundred dollars, a thousand dollars, or more?

If you are vying in the commodity space and your client comes to you with a certain specification, like how many pages, what type of content, or functionality, you might find yourself stuck with a few hundred dollars.

This amount might sound fair but let’s face it, it is not the amount that will help you achieve financial security. It might not even pay the running bills you have. So comes the question, how do you make a website that is worth thousands of dollars?

Building the 10K Website

In Ugurus, we have a program we call the 10K Boot Camp where we teach and challenge web professionals how to sell their thousand dollar website. What does it take for a website to be worth tens of thousands of dollars?

What goes into the formula is not really mystical or something new. Rather it is a combination of consultation, strategy, and vision to help your clients achieve the website beyond the specs they want. It also includes five important elements called design, development, content, strategy, and tactics.

When you always put these five factors in consideration every time you build a website, it doesn’t really matter what type of template you purchase on ThemeForest to build that website.

Design

We always say it here in the 1WD community that websites are not just about the aesthetics. In fact. it’s just like a mantra we always tell community members that a good website isn’t just about how beautiful it looks to the visitor. Instead, when you design a website, you should grasp the vision of your client – what is he trying to achieve with that website you are building? Therefore, you design the website with your client’s goal in mind as well as the thinking whether the website will convert well or not.

Development

When you think of development, you have to make sure that the website you are building is well-developed and well-tested. With all the different platforms and devices, these days, your client would want a responsive website. Does it work on different browsers? Does it function well on different devices?

Content

Content  is one of the most overlooked elements by web designers. They often think that as designers, they are just responsible for the technicalities as well as the aesthetics. So what happens is, they spend a lot of time making the design look great and when deadline is almost around the corner, they just fill in the blanks. So what the clients get is a great looking website with substandard content.

You will be surprised that you can earn more and command a higher price as a web professional if you know how to write. Why not? Call it beauty and brains – and we all know that it is a very lethal combination. Not to mention, very profitable as well.

Strategy

When you finished building your client a website, it does not stop there. You add more value on the table as well as your pricing when you help them develop a strategy for their online business. Who wouldn’t want great advice, especially if it means generating more income for your business? It will also send your clients a message that you are a professional who knows what he or she is doing.

Tactics

This includes different tactics that leads to more traffic and higher conversion rates. What kind of marketing tactics will work for this website and the industry your client is in?

Conclusion

Calculating the cost of the website isn’t just about how good it looks, but it involves different vital elements. The five factors mentioned above are very basic, but they are your foundation towards creating a thousand-dollar website. They are also your foundation towards a secure and fulfilling career as a web design professional.

Happy #EspressoMonday!

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How To Manage Your Time Like A Pro: Tools For Web Designers

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.18

How Do You Manage Your Time Like a Pro?

One of the most common struggles not only of web designers, but also of freelance professionals, is time management. This becomes even more complicated and difficult when you are working with a team. How do you manage all these projects along with communicating with your clients and teammates?

Before we tackle some of the most helpful productivity tools, let’s get some espresso down our throats and take a dive into our topic.

As the workplace becomes more unconventional because of the new developments in technology, freelancers and web design professionals have more opportunities to find work from anywhere in the world as well as flexible working hours. While this gives you more time to pursue things other than work, it has also become a scourge for time management. Suddenly, a lot of web design professionals have difficulty handling the new freedom of not having a boss and the flexibility of time. Therefore, stress isn’t eliminated because the same problems and new ones arise.

Helpful Productivity Tools for Web Designers

As a web design professional, you don’t have to undergo such torture and stress when there are apps and tools which can help you become more productive and more efficient. Here, we have gathered some of the best around the web and you can choose one or more to implement in your practice.

balsam

Balsamiq (balsamiq.com)

1. Balsamiq

This is a rapid wire framing tool which lets you to create mock-ups allowing you to remove which are unnecessary and bad in your design.

marvel

Marvel (marvelapp.com)

2. Marvel

Similar to Balsamiq, Marvel allows you to create web and mobile prototypes without having to code.

user

Usersnap (usersnap.com)

3. Usersnap

Usersnap is a visual bug tracker which does not only track bugs, but also tests your browser and allows you to collaborate with clients and colleagues.

concept

Concept inbox (conceptinbox.com)

4. Concept inbox

Concept inbox allows visual collaboration among creatives and their clients. You can track your changes and prototypes as well as discuss designs using this tool.

proto

Proto.io (proto.io)

5. Proto.io

Proto.io lets you create high fidelity prototypes that are fully interactive. Like Marvel, you don’t have to code to use this.

frame

Framebench (framebench.com)

6. Framebench

Framebench allows remote teams to collaborate, communicate, and give feedback in real time.

prevuew

Prevue (prevue.it)

7. Prevue

Prevue allows designers to easily share their designs with their clients.

track

TrackDuck (trackduck.com)

8. TrackDuck

TrackDuck is a feedback app which allows you to receive feedback from your clients easily.

users

UsersThink (usersthink.com)

9.UsersThink

UsersThink is a great tool to get feedback from real users. Most of all, it allows you how to have higher conversions on your landing pages.

dapulse

daPulse (dapulse.com)

10. daPulse

It’s a collaboration app which allows you and your team manage and track projects and deadlines.

ui

uiFaces (uifaces.com)

11. uiFaces

uiFaces allows you to search and generate sample avatars for user interfaces.

random

Random Thing Generator (randomthing.me)

12. Random Thing Generator

This is the tool if you are looking for random things, places, and names.

Conclusion

You can try some of these different productivity tools to improve you and your teams workflow. You can also communicate with your clients. Most of them have a free trial so you can try them before making a commitment.

Have a happy #EspressoMonday.

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Improve Productivity and Hack Your Life As A Web Designer

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.17

You just have to admit it – that web designers, being creative people, are prone to distractions. Besides, science tells us that our brains only takes some number of minutes to actually focus.

It’s not okay to be distracted, but it’s okay to take a break. It’s foolish to drive yourself to death, but it’s wise to have or create a realistic time management. You don’t over-think as it will drive you to madness.

If you’re a super busy creative who has a tendency to get distracted or have difficulty making most of your time productive, we are more than happy to share some life hacks in this #EspressoMonday episode. So grab your cup of java and begin to spread the Monday happiness.

Everybody, no matter which industry they are in, aims for a high rate of productivity. Web designers are no different. However, we cannot escape the fact that we are affected by external forces, two of the most common are a poorly set up work space and the changing demands of your clients. While you cannot control the latter, you can do something with the first challenge and improve your workflow to free more of your time and earn more in a fast and efficient way.

10 Effective Life Hacks to Improve Your Productivity

Here are the 10 tips we prepared to help you improve your productivity.

1. How to Focus

Our brain can only focus for 90 minutes – that’s a fact. Try going beyond that and you will see that your brain automatically shifts its attention to something other than what you are doing. That’s because your brain can only take as much. So our suggestion is take a break every 90 minutes (we recommend every 60 minutes) to keep your focus as well as your energy higher than working straight through a project. A 15-minute break every 60 or 90 minutes will do wonders to your productivity. And when you take a break, get your eyes off the screen.

Another method is the Pomodoro, a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo, where you buy a little timer to break down your work into 25 minutes and have a 5-minute break in between. Again, when you take a break, you have to take your eyes off your computer screen.

2. Realistic Time Management

Every plan always has a contingency plan so that you have a back up just in case something unplanned or unpredictable happens. The same goes true with time management. When you’re plotting your time, you have to put at least 15 percent of contingency time because you do not know what will happen – it could be human error or it could be loss of data. No matter what it is, you will have more edge if you anticipate such things and have an alternate plan or extra time to keep you out of panic mode.

3. Don’t Over Think

This also means don’t over-design nor over-code. As web designers, we have the tendency to make everything excellent (to the point of perfection) just to satisfy our clients. However, you should not forget to balance things. Even if you have great design skills, your goal is to make the design simple, clean, and efficient. It doesn’t mean that you have to under-deliver but rather, don’t spend too much time on something when there is a better way of doing things more quickly and efficiently.

4. Dealing with Tasks

This comes from David Allen’s 2-minute rule of how to kill your tasks immediately. The principle is rather simple – you list your tasks for the day and when some tasks come up during the day, you ask yourself if it can be done in 2 minutes. If it’s longer than 2 minutes, add it to your to-do list but if it is doable in 2 minutes, like replying to an email, kill it immediately by doing it.

5. Feel Your Goals and Tasks

This tip comes from my partner, Dainis Graversi, who said that when it comes to tangible, physical tasks and goals, you need to “feel” them.  As a team, we use project management tools, such as Basecamp and Asana, but he also likes to write these tasks and goals on the white board. Once it’s done, he finds the ultimate satisfaction of crossing finished tasks off the board. He describes his feeling as orgasmic happiness or much better than that. So if you can physically remove or erase, or tick off finished tasks one by one from your board, do it and savor the feeling of being able to do it.

6. Automize and Systemize

This goes for the itty-bitty tasks you have, such as answering similar email. For example, I receive emails inquiring about guest posts. My answer is basically the same so what I did is I made a canned answer for such emails and copy-paste it. Saves a lot of precious minutes. On the other hand, if they are bigger tasks, you might consider delegating, outsourcing, or whatever system you have to make the task easier to do and faster to accomplish.

7.Share the Monday Happiness

Most, if not all, people simply hate Mondays. Why not? Just imagine you had a great weekend with family and friends enjoying and relaxing then Monday comes and BAM, you’re hit with the reality. The transition is so harsh – from relaxation and rest to a desk piling up with tasks and responsibilities. You don’t have to hate Mondays. In fact, your weekend can help you become excited with Mondays.

Before going to sleep on Sunday night, set aside at least 5 minutes of your time to have a sneak peak of what you’re going to expect or do on Monday. Look at your emails or your checklist to see what upcoming tasks you have the next day, this way you can condition your mind even before Monday comes.

In addition, there’s our #EspressoMonday episodes you can always look forward to.

8.Ambient Environment

Research have revealed that ambient coffee shop sounds can boost your creativity. We don’t really know how it works but science says that the sounds of people and other things going on in a coffee shop boosts your productivity. I’ve tried it and it works like a charm. There’s a website (they also have an app) where you can get these sounds. Try it and compare how it works for you.

9.Shrink Your Goals

This means that instead of setting a one-year goal, only create a 90-day goal. This is in fact logical because a lot of thing can happen in a year. Of course there are quarterly goals to evaluate these yearly goals but a 90-day goal is more feasible because it is neither too long nor too short. Moreover, you can change or adjust them after 90 days.

10.Stay Accountable

Again, this tip comes from Dainis who recommends that you get an accountability buddy to help you push yourself. It should be someone you trust and someone you resonate with. Have weekly Skype calls (if they are from another city or country) or meetings with them and discuss what you plan to do next week and vice versa. Then, you meet again after a week and discuss/evaluate whether you were able to do what you said you’re going to do. You also talk about the problems and challenges you encounter as well as give encouragement and insights to each other.

Conclusion

So there you are – 10 tips how to become more productive as a web designer. Write it if you want where you can always see it and be reminded just in case you are losing focus.

Once again, have a happy #EspressoMonday!

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Is It Worth Paying For a Premium WordPress Theme or Not?

#EspressoMonday Episode Nr.16

Is It Worth Paying For a Premium WordPress Theme or Not?

There is no doubt about what WordPress can deliver in many ways in performance and flexibility. Being an open source tool, there is a lot to choose from and the possibilities are endless. However, the debate rages on whether or not buying a premium WordPress theme is worth it or not.

Before we get into the heat of things in this #EspressoMonday episode, grab your espresso and let’s do it the Brent Weaver way – one shot in an espresso cup.

As an open source tool, WordPress remains dynamic and progressive with the themes evolving regularly or sometimes, at a much faster pace. With all these choices available, a lot of people, not only web designers, think if it is really worth shedding a few dollars on a premium theme. Should you buy a premium WordPress theme or not?

Advantages of a Premium Theme

Buying a premium WordPress theme has always been a hot topic not only here on the 1WD community but among those who use WordPress. In fact, we have written a few articles which tackle this subject. You can find one of them here. Before we delve into the advantages of using a premium theme, we are not saying that you should not use a free theme because there are free themes that have awesome features as well. However, free themes have some limitations compared to their premium counterparts and here are the reasons why.

Premium Support

Because you pay, premium theme developers are bound to provide support 24/7 or risk losing precious customers. So if you encounter any problems or questions along the way, you can always expect that your queries will be answered promptly. You are always rest assured that, you will get prompt, excellent service through forums or email.

Regular Updates

Another reason for going premium is the regular updates. Since competition is tough, premium theme developers will regularly update the themes or they will lose to competition. Expect regular updates or get newer versions every 2 or 3 months including bug fixes. In addition, premium themes have extensive documentation to help you every step of the way.

Unique Features

One that’s never lacking in premium themes is the unique features because, as mentioned, competition is stiff. Premium theme developers will always strive to think, innovate, and add the newest and most unique features they can ever think of to make their theme much better than the competition.

Great Attention to Details

Premium theme developers are very detail oriented and have better tweaks, such as SEO. In line with SEO, premium themes come with a clean footer and support lowering your security risk as well as removing any annoying links from untrusted websites.

Easy Customization

Premium themes have been developed with their customers in mind; thus, themes are categorized to suit the needs of their customers. So whether you are a freelance photographer looking to showcase your portfolio or a new business owner with limited portfolio, you can always find something for you in a premium theme.

Unique Look

Premium themes are no doubt superior than free themes. What does that mean? That means it’s unique. So if you want a blog or website that stands out from the rest, you will never get it from free themes. Why? The answer is pretty simple – a lot of users are already using the free themes.

Fast Website Development Process

Premium WordPress themes have been developed with functionality in mind. Therefore, their tools are easy to use even for the not technologically savvy people. When tools are easy to use and deploy with just a few clicks, it is much easier and faster to create a website than when you use hard coding.

Disadvantages of Using Premium WordPress Themes

Just like any other issue, it won’t be fair if only the advantages are presented, so here are the disadvantages of using a premium WordPress theme.

Do Not Undergo Review

Unlike free themes that undergo a review process by WordPress before you can use them, premium themes operate independently. Because of this, some of the features they have might not be compliant to the WP standards in terms of licensing.

Not for Everyone

Buying a premium theme may not be a practical decision if you are just thinking of creating a blog of website as a hobby. There’s no need to shell out cash if you are not thinking of generating an income from it; otherwise, it will just be a waste of your money.

Too Many Unneeded Features

Premium themes, in their bid to be super awesome or super cool, might be adding features and plug-ins that are not necessary. Then, you’ll end up buying something that is useless, which defeats the purpose of why you bought a premium theme in the first place.

Conclusion

Premium themes are definitely awesome but before you think of purchasing one, look at the factors whether or not you really need one. If you want a blog or website for a personal hobby, there are a lot of free themes which you can use to showcase your hobby. However, if you want to showcase a service, a product, or a business which you hae plans to monetize or profit from, then a premium theme is for you. So depending on your needs and goals, assess them first before opting for a premium theme.

Another point to consider before buying a premium theme is to to buy them from a reputable source, such as ThemeForest, otherwise, you will find yourself with a big headache. We also have an article where we featured some of the best premium themes in 2015 as well as some reviews of premium WordPress themes, like the X Theme.

Have an awesome #EspressoMonday!

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