Lessons in tabs

sad tabs

Or: One Weird Trick to Staying Productive at Work

Only have the tabs open of things you are currently working on. Not what you are about to work on, are meaning to respond to, or would like to get to soon.

Keep them open until you have completed the task. Then, close them, open the next thing, and repeat until happy hour. šŸ»

Bringing the van home.

Problems, not solutions

My dad is an auto mechanic. Growing up I spent many days in his shop, learning how to change oil, use aĀ grease gun, clean parts, and pay the bills.

I liked listeningĀ to the interaction between customers and the mechanics. There was one lesson I learned that has stayed with me.

Tell me the problem, not how you think I should fix it.

Meaning: the mechanics don’t want to hear your solution to your car’s problem. They want to hear what is wrong. They are the experts. Let them figure it out.

As I got into art and design, I’ve learned this is true in my line of work as well. It really appliesĀ to any type of feedback. The receiver benefits far more from hearing the what rather than the how. At the same time, the giver stands to learn something new.

Phone rule

My girlfriend and I have one rule.

No phones in the bedroom.Ā 

It started out as an experiment, but we’veĀ managed to stick with it for several months.

I go to sleep sooner at night and don’t stay in bed all morning feeling the need to check everything. Oh, and we have more time to talk and stuff.


Trail maintenance

I needed a little break from work so I wentĀ mountain biking on aĀ familiar trail. IĀ noticed that someone had sawed away the part of a fallen tree that was blocking the trail. I thought,

“Oh, nice! Now I don’t have to get off my bike to climb over; I can keep riding.”

Then I had another thought:

“Is this what people feel when I fix a bug?”

I’d like to think so.


Location, location

At my previous job I wouldĀ get antsyĀ sitting in the same desk every day. I would move around a lot. I’d find an empty desk, an unused conference room, or sit at the picnic table outside. Although I was moving around, it was hard being creative sitting in the same general location and feeling like you had to more or less be physically present from 9ā€“5.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate at my gig here at Automattic is the ability to completely choose your own adventure in terms of when and where you’d like to do your work. I’ve been here less than two years and my list of “where” is pretty long and continues to grow.

I used to take a lot ofĀ workingĀ vacations, but I’m learning that just because IĀ canĀ work anywhere, doesn’t mean I should. Working on the beach may look cool in pictures, but unplugging and enjoying your vacation has proved to be much more beneficial. I still believeĀ that working while traveling is a great way to spend time in a new place, but I’m trying not to letĀ allĀ my vacations become working ones.


  • Ellington, CT
  • New York, NY
  • Brooklyn, NY
  • Monterey, MA
  • Moving to Chicago, IL next month


  • San Francisco, CA*
  • Santa Cruz, CA*
  • Various towns in CT
  • Las Vegas, NV*
  • Reykjavik, Iceland*
  • Jackson Hole, WY
  • Moab, UT
  • Denver, Boulder, and Aspen, CO
  • Queenstown, New Zealand*
  • Various towns on the island of Oahu, Hawaii*
  • Salt Lake City, UT*
  • Charlestown, RI
  • Provincetown, MA
  • Seattle, WA*
  • Paris, France*
  • Boston, MA*
  • Atlanta, GA*
  • Portland, OR*
  • Chicago, IL*

My favorite place to work? Anywhere with my coworkers on any one of our meetups. (Those locations are marked with a *)

Working whenever I want is also important to me. I’m not always the most creative orĀ productive during the “normal” 9ā€“5 business day. This doesn’t mean that I haven’t created a routine, its just a very flexible routine that I’m constantly iterating on.Ā It allows me to notĀ feel guilty getting up from my computer and going on a bike ride at 2pm three days in a row and gives me the ability to say “yes” to an impromptu long weekend because I don’t have a set number of days off.

If any of this sounds interesting and you’d like to come work with me, check out our job openings. I know remote working isn’t for everyone so if you’d rather work in an office with a great group of people, my previousĀ company is hiring as well.

Photo: Taken in Boston, MA by coworker Jeff Golenski

Beach Camping

Kelly Hoffman:

Spent the long weekend camping on the beach.

Originally posted on letters from home:




IMG_4902IMG_4905IMG_4906Camping on East Beach Memorial Day weekend. Ā Clamming, sā€™more making, sandcastle building, hammock swinging, and just relaxing with our family. Ā It was a great little getaway.


I packed my newest knit along. Ā Its always a little breezy on the beach and it was perfect cardigan to throw on.

Pattern: Cracked PepperĀ by Alicia Plummer
Yarn: Nice & Knit DK in Harpoon
Ravelry page

View original


Coffee Hack

This is for all you cream-with-your-coffee drinkers out there. Because everything needs to be hacked.

  1. When making your coffee in the morning, pour in the cream first and then the coffee.

That’s it. That’s the hack. It’s basically so you don’t have to stir your coffee, which means less spoons to wash.

And now my coffee is cold and I have to make more.Ā šŸ˜ž