Freelance Friday 061 - July 12

I've been back from vacation since Tuesday and I'm feeling like I'm on top of work again. One project with one client I need to have a short call on tomorrow, but otherwise things are moving as they ever were.

This makes the first vacation in almost 10 years that I truly unplugged and didn't even take a call on Friday in the midst of vacation. It actually didn't feel as hard as I expected.

If you’ve found my content helpful then new in 2019 I’ve opened up a Patreon page. You can help ensure that more helpful content keeps coming.

I Shipped

Just before I went on vacation I released a screencast about Statamic and restricting access by IP address. As I continue to do WordPress work, I keep longing for features that Statamic has to make my work easier.

I did my own review of the 12.9" Brydge keyboard but now there is one written with Rosemary Orchard over at The Sweet Setup if you're interested in the 11" as well.

Over on the AppPresser site I wrote about how I manage my WordPress site from an iPad.

If you've been wondering about managing your money as a freelancer, I wrote a piece for Liquid Web to address freelance money management.

Friday Five

1. 3 Innovation Tokens

In a treatise for choosing boring technology I very much liked this quote:

Let’s say every company gets about three innovation tokens. You can spend these however you want, but the supply is fixed for a long while. You might get a few more after you achieve a certain level of stability and maturity, but the general tendency is to overestimate the contents of your wallet. Clearly this model is approximate, but I think it helps.

If you choose to write your website in NodeJS, you just spent one of your innovation tokens. If you choose to use MongoDB, you just spent one of your innovation tokens. If you choose to use service discovery tech that’s existed for a year or less, you just spent one of your innovation tokens. If you choose to write your own database, oh god, you’re in trouble.

Sticking with what you know seems to be something that's frowned upon by so much of the web industry and yet, it's what's being recommended here.

2. Now I Want Notecards

Reading this piece by Ryan Holiday makes me want to start keeping notecards instead of putting everything in DEVONthink.

I wish I had some satisfying explanation about why notecards are so powerful, but I don't. I don't know why they are so integral (and yet used in such diverse ways) to so many fascinating people. It's not like we're ever taught how to use them. When I was in school, they spent years teaching us cursive, but not one minute talking to us about notecards. It's not like they’re glamorous or displayed prominently in artsy stores and movies, the way journals are.

My hang up is always, how do I keep track of them all and file them? Of course the quest for the perfect system is futile, but I feel like I don't even know where to start.

3. Productivity is not cranking more widgets

Enjoyed this post by Mike Schmitz. In particular this quote.

Productivity is not cranking more widgets. Productivity is not doing all the things. True productivity is saying “no” to the things that don’t matter so you can say “YES!” to the things that do.

I think that NO is the most productive word you have in your vocabulary.

4. School Start Times Say We Don’t Care about Kid’s Education

I heard this first in When, but here is another article talking about how we have early start school times and they’re not the best for kid’s learning.

American teenagers are chronically sleep-deprived. As children enter puberty, physiological changes delay the onset of sleep and make it more difficult to wake up early in the morning. By the end of middle school, there is a large disconnect between biological sleep patterns and early-morning school schedules: one study found that students lose as much as two hours of sleep per night during the school year compared to the summer months, when they can better control their sleep schedules.

I find it hard to see any other conclusion outside we do this because it’s easiest for adults and work.

5. Kid's want time not toys

Short cute story about what a kid really wants.

And that’s when it hit me. My daughter wasn’t holding on to the memory of playing with these specific dolls. She was holding on to the memory of playing with me.

Time and money had been wasted when I could have simply used the toys we already had and fully engaged with her the way I had at the Honda dealership that day; free of distractions. No dishes to do, laundry to swap over, dogs to take out, lunches to make, text messages to answer. Just mommy entering her world of imagination. It broke my heart that I didn’t realize this sooner. It wasn’t the doll that had made her happy, it was quality time we spent playing together.

How much time are you giving your kids? I get it, it's hard. We "trade" parenting with my wife taking most of the day and me taking 3 - bedtime while she works. There is so much for each of us to do every day to keep the house running.

But all your kids want is a bit of time with you paying attention to them, not distracted by whatever adult concerns you have.