One of the down sides of playing where you work, is when it comes time to play, you hardly feel like it having just worked 8 hours. What I’m referring to of course, is myself being a web designer and having my own personal online projects on the side. My blog also falls into this category as anything put into it is done in my “spare” time. It’s unfortunate that just about anything else I’ve touched has basically sat stagnant since launch with the exception of a few minor updates. In every case, there has been attempts made at progressing the projects, but nothing has every gone through.

I don’t feel bad about this by any means. I’m not saving lives or anything here. But I really do wish I could put more time into these projects to freshen them up and get people talking about them again.

While I’m not there yet, eventually I will fully have my evenings and weekends to myself. I’ve put in a solid 2 weeks of full time work with already, but I still have a few loose ends to tie up from some lingering freelance projects. Once everything is fully out of the way, I have a to-do list to get to. And it looks something like this…

First and foremost, I have to do something with I know it serves its purpose and doesn’t really need anything more. But it feels very “tacked on” to me and I would like to at least clean it up. It generates a fair bit of revenue each month from the single AdSense leaderboard, which is nothing to complain about, but I know I could double or triple that income pretty easily. So that’s what I am aiming to do.

  • Revise layout and design to fit 3 AdSense ads comfortably. Revisit last design mock from August 8, 2006.
  • Create colour packs – themed zip packages of various coloured icons.
  • Write XHTML/CSS code snippets for easy copy-and-paste use.

Dashboard Themes

While I’m crazy stoked the success Dashboard Themes has seen in its short lifespan, there are a couple areas that have been disappointing. Getting advertising has been a tough task, but I haven’t been willing to put too much time into preparing reports, etc. that some of the bigger potential partners have been interested in. Donations have slowed to a once every 3 or 4 weeks trickle and we still haven’t paid off our start-up expenses. All expenses have been paid directly out of pocket. AdSense and Amazon referrals have proved basically useless on this site.

  • Institute a donation schedule where periodic goals must be met to keep the site a-float. If the donation schedule proves successful…
  • Revise design and layout. Remove all advertising and streamline existing content.
  • Introduce “new hotness” donation goals for new features. Once a goal is met, a new feature will be rolled out.

My Blog

While it’s last on my list, it’s going to receive the most love. This November marks the 2 year anniversary of this layout. The design has seen a couple revisions, but nothing big enough to call it a completely different design. On May 2, 2007 I finalized the homepage wireframe, but I haven’t touched it since. I have tons of ideas and a pretty clear vision of where I want to go visually, but it’s going to have to wait. I fear that I’ll be planning this out for some time as well, but my ultimate goal is to re-launch my blog before November 1 of this year. For obvious reasons, I’m not going to reveal anything on my to-do list at this point. Sorry!

When the time comes, I will be hiring a few folks to help me make this blog something to talk about. Both visually and technically. And for those wondering – I may still release my current design as a WordPress theme. Keyword – may.


I’m a pretty big fan of Dashboard Themes, though I only decided to create an account recently. I’ll remove my AdBlock on the site, despite the fact that it won’t make much of a difference in the scope of things.

Good luck with all those projects, sounds like you have enough to do as-is!

The personal projects are so hard to stay on top of, especially when they don’t pay the bills, or at least, not yet. I’ve got a number of them myself, all in various stages of development, but none near the launch point. Just keep at it…

I have had the same problems lately. I was in some sort of designing depression. Last week I finally perked up and decided to buckle down and get some things done.

Good luck with your projects Matt, I know your feeling of neglectfulness. Sometimes I wish there were more hours in the day, hang on, don’t we all?

Don’t worry Matt, I think you’ll get over this state you’re in right now. Everybody has to go through times like that.

Good luck and I’m looking forward to see your nice ideas and projects in the future.

I know how you are feeling. There is a lot to be done. I currently have the summer off from school and I’m drowning in commission. Just smaller local stuff but really boring work.

I just find myself doing something else instead of working. I really need something to motivate me and something that satisfies me creatively.

I work about 2-3 hours a day now. And that’s just wrong. I need better commissions or I seriously believe that I’m going to die.

I feel your pain, man.

14 hours straight on a project and I’m still on square one when it comes to completing the tasks I have. It’s a real uphill struggle sometimes and it just gets to the point where you must be strict with yourself and your schedule.

If you’re lucky enough to be in a position to turn down work due to existing work loads it’s still tough I find as who ever turns away money huh?!

Still I have found that my work suffers if I do not make time to do the things that take me away from building/designing sites. Just going out for a beer with a mate or catching a movie with my girl always brings me down to earth and settles me. It’s not easy to do as it takes a while for my mind to shut off and to stop thinking "I should really be in the office right now".

It ain’t easy but the one big benefit of looking after yourself is that standard of work improves and your tasks remain on course.

I’m looking forward to the re-launch Matt – no pressure to get it done though! 😉

Even though I know this sounds really selfish, I do wish you kept this blog more up to date. It seems everyONE of your posts is gold, and very entertaining. Anyway, keep your head up and keep up the kicka$$ designs all over the place.

(BTW, had NO IDEA you were responsible for!)