November 2015: Monthly Review

I’m going to start publishing a monthly recap at the end of each month detailing my habits, projects, and tinkerings. Inspired by my coworker Jeremey (I’m mimicking his format).

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted last, I guess I got a bit lazy after my consecutive streak ended. It’s time to start the streak again.

November was the first month since March that I didn’t travel at all during the month. Most of those months were short trips, but I’ve still traveled a fair bit in 2015.

Monthly Goals

  • Learn to type Dvorak. Partial win. What’s Dvorak, you ask? It’s an alternative keyboard layout where the keys are more ergonomically placed. I started the month typing at speeds of almost 30 WPM. Today, I’m averaging more than 45 WPM.
  • Continue to become stronger / build endurance. Win. I’ve been going to CrossFit every week day and I’m slowly mastering all of the moves and adding more weight to the bar.
  • Read three books. At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of reading 12 non-fiction books and I’ve gotten a bit behind. It’s still possible to hit the goal by reading about a book a week in December.

What habits did I focus on?

  • Learning Dvorak. I’ve spent more than 10 hours working on drills to make me a faster typer. I’ll see the benefits of being able to type at more than 80 WPM soon 🙂

What did I publish?

Books I Read:

Looking forward to November

Goals I want to complete:

  • Take an online course to master GitHub. I want to learn how to properly make a pull request and fix broken code or add enhancements.
  • Outline the content for Your Website Engineer. The hardest part about producing a weekly show is coming up with the ideas. I want to map out next year so I can be ready to create podcasts and videos for my audience.
  • Type at 70+ WPM by the end of the month. It’s frustrating to type so slow.
  • Daily Blogging. I want to post something here every day.

Habit I want to focus on:

Inbox Zero. I maintained inbox zero daily for the first few months of 2015, but let this habit slip as well. My goal is to completely empty my inbox at least Monday-Friday (goal of 20 times in the month).

Bombers Crossfit

A few weeks ago, after I returned home from the Financial Bloggers conference, I was interested in finding a crossfit box close to my house.

I’m happy to say that I found Bombers Crossfit which is less than 10 minutes from my house.

I’ve always been a big fan of working out in my basement and have went thru the P90x, T25 and other workouts numerous times in the past few years. Even though they are good short workouts, they can get boring really quick to do the same workouts over and over.

In the two weeks of crossfit, each training has been different and I’m totally digging the variety.

Another benefit of working out with others is the ability to be challenged and pushed by people completing the same workout. It’s much easier to run a little faster or jump a little higher  when someone is just ahead of you.

Today’s workout had a name of Kelly. I’ve been told that the women named workouts are some of the most grueling. And this one did not disappoint. Kelly consists of 5 Rounds for time of:

  • 400m Run
  • 30 Box Jumps, 24”
  • 30 Wall-Ball Shots, 20 lbs

That means, that after running 400m, then we had to jump on a 24 inch box 30 times then do 30 squats with throwing a 20 pound ball to the ceiling. This workout had a cap of 35 minutes, which means, on average, you had 7 minutes to finish.

With just over 2 minutes to go, all I had to do was the wall-ball shots. I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to finish and planned on doing as many as I could. That’s until Amy came over and did the squats with me (mind you, she already completed her 150 wall-ball shots).

She helped me get thru three rounds of 10 and I had thirteen seconds to spare. It was definitely one of the hardest workouts I had to do and wouldn’t have completed with out Amy pushing me and the others cheering me on.

Hopefully I can walk tomorrow 🙂

Eighteen month old twin

Kenley had her 18 month wellness visit today and she passed all the 18 month milestones (when she was 15 months) and she passed 9 out of 10 of the two year milestones today.

The only one that she missed was “does she have the ability to dress and undress herself?”

Success!

Today ends my 30 day challenge that I set at the beginning of September to post everyday on my blog. And I’m happy to say that I successfully completed the challenge 🙂

Here’s a few thoughts from the past few weeks:

  • It’s easy to come up with blog topics while traveling (which I did twice this month). When I don’t leave the house, it gets tougher.
  • Some days it would take me all day to come up with an idea to write a post about.
  • Other days, I’d have a great idea and put it off until the last minute and realize it would take to long, so just did a short post instead.
  • It’s super easy to get photos taken with the phone uploaded to your blog with the iPhone app. This was my go to method for adding pictures. Sometimes I would simply upload the photo, save it as a draft, then write the post on my computer.
  • Posting daily helps me to figure out a creative way or idea to share.

I’m going to continue the streak thru October and see if I can post interesting things for 31 more days. Luckily I have a couple of work trips coming up that will help me to have something interesting to post about.

Getting Things Done

I’m currently reading the revised edition of Getting Things Done by David Allen.

This will be my third time reading the book, with the first two reads being the older version where he referenced palm pilots multiple times 🙂

One of the big takeaways I see I need to improve on is making each task on my to do list small so I can make progress on my goals.

I started breaking down one of my bigger projects today and while it looks much more intimidating with all the extra tasks, I think it will be easier to complete the small tasks.

My Mastermind Group

Every other Monday night, I get together on an online hangout with four other guys from around the world.

We know each others businesses and hobbies inside and out and we help to keep each other focused on the most important tasks we should be doing.

Each time we meet, we start out celebrating our wins (more sales, more podcast downloads, awesome opportunities, etc.) and then have two 20 minute hotseats.

The hot seat rotates between the five of us and we each get twenty minutes to ask for specific advice on something we are struggling with.

I can honestly say that I’ve accomplished much more this year with the encouragement of my mastermind friends than I could have by myself.

If you need motivation to Get Stuff Done, then I’d highly recommend finding a friend or two that can help you to stay accountable and actually accomplish some of your goals.

First Crossfit Workout

I’ve always wanted to try a Crossfit workout, but there hasn’t been a workout box (fancy crossfit term for gym) close to my house. 

The Reebok Crossfit of Uptown Charlotte is right across the street from my hotel, so I decided to check it out this morning. 

They were super accommodating and modified the workout for a few of us who is new. Here’s what I did:

  • Push-ups, jump squats and a few other body weight exercises to warm up
  • Ran one mile, which was four laps around the building
  • 50 air squats
  • 25 burpees 

I loved the feeling of pushing against myself to complete the workout and the encouragement of others this morning. It also was good to have someone watching my form to make sure I was doing everything correctly. 

I’m definitely going to be investigating my options for Crossfit in Dayton. 

Woo Ninja

This week, I became a Woo Ninja.

What does that actually mean?

The company I work for, Automattic recently bought the company WooThemes. As a part of expanding my knowledge about all the products we own, I’m doing a rotation with the WooThemes general support.

I expect to be fully challenged and learn a lot about the different WooThemes and the eLearning plugin Sensei. Supporting these users will be my new daily routine.

I love the fact that Automattic gives us the flexibility to voluntarily rotate to different teams so we don’t get burnt out with the daily grind of the same types of support requests day after day.

 

Downtown Disney

Since our daughter is only 18 months old. We didn’t think it would be worth it to go to Disney World this year; especially since it’s still so hot here (in the 90’s).

Instead, we opted for Downtown Disney which is free and only a 10 minute drive from our resort.

We walked around a bit and Kenley got a new book and stuff lamb (Lambie from Doc McStuffins), thanks to Grandpa.

I stopped in at my favorite Downtown Disney place and took a few deep breaths to enjoy the sugary smell of Goofy’s Candy Co. Here are some pictures from the inside:

Kenley also got to ride her first ever amusement park ride, the Merry-Go-Round. She loved it and didn’t want to get off when the ride was over.

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One of the cool geeky things I noticed when I pulled into the new parking garage, is that it said how many spots were available on each floor. It never crossed my mind how it calculated the availability of the spots; until we were leaving.

Over each spot was a light that was green if the spot was available, unlit if the spot was taken or blue if the spot was a handicap spot. Such a cool technology to help people quickly and efficiently find a parking spot.

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Welcome to the Chaos

Exactly one year ago today, I started full-time at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.

It’s been a crazy ride, filled with travel, making new friends and learning a ton about WordPress.com; and I love every minute of it.

My official title is Happiness Engineer, which means I’m on the customer support team and help users figure out how to use WordPress to build their websites. I communicate almost exclusively with my team via text and even all of our training documents are stored in an online Field Guide. The initial page of our Field Guide says ‘Welcome to the Chaos.’ I smiled and thought, how chaotic could it really be?

With an outsiders perspective, it could seem like the way that we work doesn’t make sense and how could it possibly be productive. Our flexible schedules (which mine changes daily), to working with coworkers who live on different continents, to booking last minute travel to hangout with team mates have all become the new normal.

In the last year
– I’ve travelled to Las Vegas, San Fransisco, Barbados, Milwaukee, Dallas, Park City, Austin, and Ann Arbor for either team meetups or conferences which I spoke. Total distance travelled: 16,000+ miles.
– I’ve attended five WordCamps, in three different states and spoke at 3 of them.
– I’ve gained a new perspective on internet safety and I’m working to make all 400+ online profiles have unique passwords.
– I’ve helped thousands of users make their website better.
– I spent a three month rotation with the VaultPress team, helping users backup their self-hosted versions of WordPress.
– I’ve created and published 52 episodes of Your Website Engineer podcast. This is a passion project of mine and it keeps me plugged into the WordPress community.2014-06-25 14.09.01
– I’ve found dozens of bugs in our software and had them fixed (usually within minutes) by our amazing developers.
– I’ve acquired an entire wardrobe full of WordPress branded clothes and not sure why I still feel the need for ‘regular’ clothes, since I don’t leave the house (unless traveling) 90% of the work week.

Overall, this has been one of the craziest years for me and then throw in having our first baby in March and it’s been a heck of a chaotic ride.

Sound like something you’d be interested in? Apply today we are always hiring.

Happiness Engineer

Today it’s official. I’m starting full-time at Automattic. Automattic is the company behind WordPress.com.

I say that today it’s official, even though I’ve been working with the awesome Automatticians for the last six weeks. Secretly, I’ve been going through a trial rotation to make sure that I am a good fit for the company.

The last six weeks have been incredible. I’m excited to join the distributed team of amazing people who live all over the world!

Each day, I’ll be doing my part to make the web a better place. The Happiness Engineering position is a unique mix of tech support, bug reporting, feature testing, training, and documentation for Automattic’s products and services.

I’ve spent the last three years learning and teaching about WordPress and today, I get to be part of the team that can change the way we publish online.

If you’re as big of a WordPress fan as I am, you should apply too!