5 Signs You Might Be a Workaholic – Forbes

5 Signs You Might Be a Workaholic – Forbes.

Workaholics have a lot of bad habits that can hamper health. Constrained for time, some turn to junk food, some inhale lunch at their desks and others skip meals altogether. Exercise is often abandoned and sleep habits get thrown off schedule.

I hate that it is true, but I definitely suffer from this.  One of my goals for this year is to be a lot more intentional about my time, and this is a great place to start.


The Weirdest Interview Questions Hiring Managers Ask

The Weirdest Interview Questions Hiring Managers Ask | Fast Company | Business + Innovation.

“It’s to test a job candidate’s critical thinking skills, see how they think through a problem out loud, solve through a problem and come up with the best solution, not always the right solution, but the best solution,” Scott Dobroski, Glassdoor’s community expert, told Fast Company.

An older article, but an interesting one.  I’m always interested in how people find and sift through talent, and odd questions always come up as an effective method.  I personally like to ask if the candidate has ever played Tetris, and if so, were they any good at it.  Weird, right?


My Favorites

I created this post as a page initially, but thought I should also go ahead and make it a post as well.  If you want to see the most recent version, you can find it here.

I often get asked questions about what I would recommend for people, or what I use, so I thought I would put this page together to help people find out more details. The format is inspired by folks over at The Setup, who follow it for their excellent Interview series

What hardware do you use?

I currently have a 2013 11″ Macbook Air that is fully loaded with 8gb RAM, and 512gb HD.  This thing runs my life, and I use it every day. My mobile needs are handled by a variety of devices, namely a iPhone 6 Plus, that is my main device when I am away from my laptop. I have it setup so that I can do 90% of my daily tasks right from there if need be. This is especially handy when I am running from meeting to meeting every day. I also have a 1st-gen iPad Air, and a 1st-gen Retina iPad Mini that I alternate between when I want a bigger screen for media consumption. Both are setup similar to my iPhone, but their usage has gone down since the Plus came into my life. I also have a Surface Pro 3 that I use for work purposes, but it pretty much never gets taken off my desk anymore. It’s a good machine, but for the way I work, it is more of an impediment than a help. And lastly, for audio consumption, I have a pair of Beats Studio headphones that I use when at my desk at work, and a pair of Motorola Bluetooth headphones that I use when I am working around the house.

And what software?

I am constantly trying new things out to see if they make life easier, but the apps I list below are the ones that are currently in use on a regular basis.


The main apps that are always open on my latop are OmniFocus, Outlook 2013 for Mac, Spotify, Skype, Airmail, Safari & Ulysses 3. If one of those apps are not open, I’ll know pretty much right away as most of my daily activities happen within them. I also use Lync, Day One, nvAlt, 1Password, Evernote & Transmit on a semi-regular basis, along with a handful of other apps for random things I need to accomplish. As far as utility apps, there are a couple that are always running: Caffeine, Bartender, Dropbox, OneDrive, BackBlaze, Keyboard Maestro, TextExpander & BetterTouchTool. These apps are always there, and always on, and are key to getting through my pile of to-do’s for the day.


IMG_0673I use a LOT of apps on my mobile devices, although the list has consolidated somewhat since iOS 8 has come out. As you can see from the screenshot of my homesceen, there is a lot of variety on there. I also have a send page that contains all of the stuff I use on a regular basis, but maybe not daily. These apps include things like WordPress, Editorial, Screens, various financial apps, cloud storage providers, and other messenging apps. A few notes about a couple of apps on my homescreen: Acompli is simply the best mail client you can get on a mobile device, especially if you use an Exchange server due to it’s native support (Microsoft just bought them, so it’ll just get better); Drafts is where all of my quick notes go; Flipboard is where most of my news comes from; Overcast is my podcast app; and finally Unread is easily my favorite RSS app. Also, I used to use Pocket for my read later service, but went back to Instapaper, and have been very happy since doing so. The experience is far more pleasant, and cleaner overall.

What would be your dream setup?

A retina version of the Macbook Air (which I have heard is coming in the near future) would be my ideal daily computer. Pairing that with a retina 27”-30” display that I can hook up to at my desk, and I would be in heaven. For everything else, I am pretty happy with where I am at. I am constantly trying new things, and looking to simplify the experience, so if you ask me this question next week, it might be different!


Know Anyone Like This?

9 Toxic Employees You Should Fire Right Now

I’m not sure I completely agree with their method of dealing with these folks, but they are right in that they are very toxic, and that needs to be addressed.  I’m pretty sure we all know people like this, either where we are at now, or in past roles.


Why I Stand

Even for the active, a long sit shortens life and erodes health – LA Times.

IMG_0660At my office, I am an oddity.  I like to stand while working, and have been fortunate to have been introduced to the practice in former roles.  I realized very early on that I felt better when standing, and that it did a good job of keeping the blood pumping throughout the day.  When people come in my office and see my workstation, I get more than a few laughs, and trying to explain why I do it elicits strange looks and disbelief, so I decided that maybe I should do a blog post I could point them to that has more information about this practice.


Five Health Benefits of Standing Desks –

I am not sure when the practice started, but it really started picking up a lot of steam around 2010/2011, and it was the “in” thing to be talking about and doing.  I got lucky that I worked at a few places that approved of the practice, and would even finance getting a standing desk set up to use.  One of those companies, Scripps Networks Interactive in Knoxville, even started a pilot program to replace your actual desk surface with a version that could be turned into a standing desk.

7 Amazing Benefits of A Standing Desk That Make You Want One Now

I resisted the urge to jump into the standing desk “fad” for a long time, as I was convinced that is really was just a fad.  It wasn’t until I started doing some research that I found that there may just be something to it, and that maybe I should give it a try.  The benefits were noticeable almost immediately.  After a short break-in period, I realized that I had more energy throughout the day, and that the back problems I was so used to were slowly dissipating.  I was able to go to sleep easier, and also sleep all the way through the night.  For me, it was something that had a very real impact on my quality of life.  I’ve always been someone who thought better while up and moving around (just ask my wife about my pacing while on phone calls), so this has been a boon for my creativity and ability to focus.

Calorie burner: How much better is standing up than sitting? –

Yes, I still sit throughout the day, usually in meetings or when I am meeting with people, but now, those are the smaller, more isolated events during the day.  I’m not lethargic in meetings all the time.  I have the energy to play with my kids when I get home at night.  I feel like a better person after it is all said and done.  All of this has been because of one simple change in my day-to-day life that sounds (and looks) silly.  Try it out…you might just find yourself standing up more often.


The QA Mindset – Rands in Repose

The QA Mindset – Rands in Repose.

“You are sensing rage in my answer because I’ve spent a career surrounded by well intentioned humans who believed that it was QA’s job to file bugs, and the fact is that quality is a feature, so like it or not, everyone is in the QA department.”

Absolutely love this article.  I had thrown it in my Instapaper backlog, but didn’t get to it until late last week while traveling.  Everything about the article should be must-read material for all members of an software organization.  Above everything else, we are in this together, and quality should be our #1 priority.  Even if you aren’t in the QA department, but you find a problem, treat it as if you ARE in the QA department, and the same goes when you stumble across something from an area that is not your primary responsibility.

Working In An Off-Shore Model

I recently completed a two-week trip to Mumbai to meet with our off-shore partners, and it got me to thinking a lot of about the practice of how we interact and work with the off-shore model. Here are a few key points that I think could really help the community as a whole when dealing with off-shore vendors and partners

1. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

If there was one issue that I kept hearing repeatedly, it was that communication need to be better. There are times when we make decisions and changes in the local office, but we do a very poor job of looping in our off-shore teams. Whether by not telling them, explaining it poorly or by not taking feedback, it puts us in a bad place when we then go back at some point down the road and try and figure out why things are not working well.

2. Ensure Processes are Understood

Along the same lines as communication, we need to make sure that we do a good job of letting them know what our processes are. This goes beyond merely slapping a document or wiki page together, but rather we should take the time to make sure they also truly understand the process, and why we are using it. Specific examples are always a good thing in this regard, and more you can give, the better you will be able to explain your direction and vision.

3. Understand The Culture

The last part is one that to me is sometimes the hardest. Until you go over to an off-shore office, you will struggle to understand the local culture. It is always an eye-opening experience the first time you spend a week or two in a foreign country working the same way your team does. You should absolutely take the time to understand the local culture, and all of the things that make that team unique and different than your in house teams. As you start to see the way life operates for them, it will make it easier for you to do both of the points mentioned above.

Working with an off-shore team isn’t a mystical thing, and nor should it be treated as negative thing. Off-shore teams provide many advantages and bring a wealth of skills to the table that just need to be recognized. If you are working in an off-shore model, and are struggling to make it work, you should try taking a look at the points I mentioned above, and see if they can’t maybe help you improve the relationship.

For those of you that are working in an off-shore model, I would be really interested in getting your feedback on both what is and isn’t going well for you, either in the comments below, or via email.