It’s tough to stay creative when a project moves into maintenance mode. Here’s what I do to keep myself from becoming complacent.
Almost every day I make a small effort to keep up with emerging trends and technologies. Reviewing blogs, magazines, technical documents and videos. Usually an hour, sometimes more and not always related strictly to design. I’ll branch out to programming and development or user experience etc.
Blogging can provide an avenue to reflect on accomplishments or setbacks. I often refer to some of my old posts for advice and inspiration.
Design isn’t a static certification, every few months the industry adopts new technologies and methods to solve problems. What’s working today may not be enough to satisfy demands tomorrow. Every week I like to set aside some time to code something new or take a tutorial.
Recently I built a single page site in WordPress fed by multiple posts just to learn the process and it’s challenges. I discovered is it’s a beast to update so dropping in a simple “edit” link for each element on the live page help maintain the components.
Attend conferences, workshops and meetups in your field of expertise. Assist people in forums. It’s a great way to find out what challenges others in your industry are experiencing and avoid working in a creative silo.
Generally I won’t work on a single problem for more than two hours unless it’s urgent. Too much time on a single task seems to make me less productive with each hour, I like to take breaks, walk, exercise and just do something completely different for a bit.