Stand up! My conversion to a standing desk.

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but I just haven’t had much time to sit down…I mean stand up…and write it. Making the switch to a standing desk has been one of the best things I’ve done for my career in terms of how I feel while I’m working and at the end of the day.

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Be careful who you follow on Twitter

I’m probably not one to educate the masses on Twitter best practices since I use my account for both business and personal purposes, but I do want to share one thing that’s been on my mind lately.

I’m one of those folks who will not only check out your tweets, but the list of who you follow as well (Stalker-like? Possibly). I’m a fan of guys like Chris Brogan and Michael Hyatt, so I find a ton of value in checking out who they are following. It’s helped me find other folks similar to them who are worth a follow.

So here’s the deal: Be really careful about who you follow. Don’t follow back just anyone who follows you. Sometimes they are bots, sometimes they are spammers, etc. Someone like me is going to see that and instantly associate you with that person or brand whether you intend it or not, because heck, a follow comes across as an endorsement.

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The creativity misconception

I’ve always viewed creativity in light of expression. Musical interpretation. Songwriting. Writing a book. Painting. Sculpting. Sketching. Taking pictures. If I wasn’t doing something artistic, I wasn’t being creative.

I now realize that I could not have been more wrong. Yes, artistic expression that creates something that didn’t exist an hour ago is creative…if it’s not just a copy of something else…but creativity also comes in other forms. It solves problems. Creativity can be technical, functional, messy, improvisational, or precise.

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A true story of laziness

My wife and I were having a conversation earlier this week about remembering certain events from our teenage years. My wife has an amazing memory for things like that. I, on the other hand, am horrible about remembering details from things that happened twenty years ago…or even last month.

I told Sarah that I think her memory is better because she has journaled more than I have over time. If you write it down, you’re more likely to remember it.

I admitted that I’ve tried to journal in the past but it never lasts.

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When Neil Young and Jack White hang out, cool stuff happens

Last night on The Tonight Show, Neil Young performed in Jack White’s portable recording booth that records on vinyl in real-time. This is pretty sweet:

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Intentionally putting myself out there more

The past year has been a time of stepping back a little bit. I’ve barely blogged. I officially stopped updating AnywhereMan.  Brian Casel and I decided to end our Freelance Jam podcast early last year. I haven’t participated in as many of the conversations or events that are part of my profession (WordPress, design, etc.). I’m still tweeting, instagramming, etc, but my foot has been off of the gas pedal.

One reason is I’ve just been really busy with client work and the day-to-day of running my own business. But even when I’m busy, I usually find time to do the things I want to be doing. I’ve intentionally given myself a chance to examine what I’ve put out there publicly in the past.

You know what? I need to get back to putting myself out there more again. And not just with things that relate to my professional life, but with a lot more of the personal stuff, especially hobbies.

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The importance of being challenged

One of the things I love about what I do is that no two client projects are ever the same. I learn so much with each one.

Sometimes that can be super challenging and I’ve said “I have no idea how to do this but I know it can be done” on an almost daily basis. After more than ten years of continually figuring out the “how” side of that statement, I feel like my skills toolbox is in good shape and my brain has stayed relatively sharp (though tired at times!).

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Comfort Isn’t The Goal

Why is it that when we are “comfortable” we feel like God is taking care of us…almost like the goal in this life is a constant state of COMFORT?

Yet when things are tough and we struggle, those times are when we grow the most. That’s when God teaches us and shapes us. Those are the times when we experience the often un-explainable things.

I’m not saying that if you feel comfortable you’re doing something wrong. Sometimes incorporating regular moments of putting-your-neck-on-the-line into your life can become somewhat normal and a comfort in itself. But comfort is not the goal.

Terrible Customer Service and Amazing Customer Service All In The Same Morning

I use a terrific app called FreshBooks (affiliate link) for my company’s project time-tracking and invoicing. I’ve been using it since 2007 (which is around 30 years in web-years, right?) and in my mind they are the best in the business.

My clients receive their invoices via email and are able to pay them online through the merchant provider of my choice which is currently PayPal. I get charged the regular PayPal rate of 2.9% + $.30 per transaction for credit card payments. In addition, FreshBooks has a really nice option that utilizes PayPal “Business Payments” for clients in the USA. If clients pay their invoice online with a PayPal eCheck (i.e. direct from a bank account) or PayPal balance, I only get charged $.50 for that transaction. For example, on a $3000 invoice, I get charged $.50 instead of $87.30. That’s a huge savings for me. It takes a bit longer for Business Payments to clear but the savings is worth it.

Well, this morning a recent “Business Payment” cleared my account and I logged into PayPal to transfer the money to my bank account. To my surprise, the payment was showing a fee of $80.05 (2.9% + $.30 of a $2750 invoice), not the usual $.50. I took a deep breath and started the process of contacting PayPal customer service and getting this thing resolved.

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How To Measure Objects On Your Mac Screen Without Installing Any Software

screen-measurements

Lately I’ve been working on a few projects where I need to take a pre-designed PSD and build a custom WordPress theme from it. One big part of that is making sure that spacing, layout, and object sizes are consistent between the PSD and the theme. That means a lot of measuring.

One trick I’ve learned is to use the built-in Mac screenshot functionality. There’s no software to install or launch. Just click command + shift + 4 and then the pointer will turn into a cross-hair icon. Click and hold down the left mouse or trackpad button at one side of the object you wish to measure and then drag it across to the other side of that object. The numbers next to the cross-hair icon will then display the height and width (in that order) in pixels of the selected area. It’s that easy!

To save yourself from taking unnecessary screenshots, just click the escape button while you still have the left mouse button pressed down and the crosshair icon will disappear.