What To Do When CSSing Gets Boring

What To Do When CSSing Gets Boring

If you’re a senior developer, do you even remember your first job in IT? It was so many years ago... I, as a Frontend Designer, have been working in CSS for over 15 years now. Of course I’ve never stopped learning, otherwise, I’d still be using frames and tables for creating layout (remember those?).

But at some point, you might think that you already know all the stuff that you need, while on the other hand, you won’t be able to use some of the fun properties you want to because you need to support IE/Edge until they finally die off. There is an occasional challenge on a project, but still, for some, it might seem dull… So how to deal with it?

1. Start a war (or battle at least)

But not just any battle, a CSS battle! A CSS battle is like golf - but in CSS. Your task is to replicate a reference image in CSS with the least amount of symbols. Sounds easy, but keep in mind that there’s A LOT of nifty CSS tricks involved you will be bending your mind just to have the solution a few letters shorter. The code you write there is surely not production-ready, but that’s the beauty of it! You get a break from your regular tasks and still learn more about CSS. And there’s some real money to win in the current battle #4!

2. Share your knowledge

Teach someone from your company that’s new to your technology, give a presentation, prepare a dev path, have a pair-programming session - these are all good opportunities to review and categorise what you already know. Maybe you don’t remember some of the stuff you rarely use? Remember, what seems obvious to you surely will not be so clear for someone who doesn’t write CSS on a daily basis.

3. Change your approach

You may think that SASS is sooo much better than Styled Components, that Sketch superseeds Figma at any point, that VSCode is the only right IDE… aaand so on. The point is to check it yourself as it might widen your horizons and teach you a valuable lesson. Even if you stick with your old way there’s surely something that you’ll like about the other approach and can use it in your current flow.

4. Go wider

You cannot be a ux-designer-fullstack-database-devops-sales expert. There is so much going on in any of these fields, that it will be impossible to keep up with all the changes. But it is always good to have some knowledge of the fields that are close to what you’re doing, the so called T-shaped skills... So if I’m designing and writing CSS/HTML I need to know my way around React or Rails, so I don’t go asking around what does this React `Fragment` thing do.

5. Or go deeper?

How can you do what you’re doing but even better? Maybe know your IDE or OS a bit more, or learn how to do something faster with keyboard shortcuts? Me personally, I love emmet - instead of writing: `padding-bottom: 20px` I can just bash pb20 and bang! It’s ready.

6. Play

If you didn’t get the chance yet to catch up with flexbox or grid, what better way to do so then while playing a game? For flexbox there’s the Flex Box Froggy or Flex Box Defense in the style of tower defense games. You can also learn grid with CSS Grid Garden

Of course, even if you love your job it’s perfectly normal that once in a while you may think that it’s too much to handle, or it’s boring, or not as cool as it used to be.. That’s fine, and maybe all that you need is just a vacation break to come back with a new power! It’s summertime, so enjoy the weather!:)

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