A Time to Code

A friend of mine recently posted a link to this article on the best and worst times to do things during your workday and on the last D&G show, Dave and Gunnar talked about Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst’s excellent productivity tips and the ways that they structure their own days.

Since having a kid, my day has definitely been shaken up. I am a morning person by nature but I almost never get out of the house into the office as early as I’d like to (read: hours before everyone else). By the time I get going the office is full and there is chitter chatter and lots of emails and IRC pings already flying, not to mention my phone ringing or messages to reply to. I also work 40% of the week from home and 60% at our office, which makes it hard to hold fast to a consistent schedule. Some things like getting my kid up in the morning are probably not going to budge any time soon, but I’d like to continue think about how I could better structure my days to make the most of the day and have time for more of what I *say* I’d like to do.

I am an Inbox Zero kind of person and I do tend to let my inbox rule my day/guide my To Do list. Maybe I should set times to shut off IRC and email and just be heads down during the week? I also can go down rabbit holes if I have a random thought or question and sometimes I can just pivot in a whole different direction if I’m distracted by a tap on the shoulder or a particularly insightful or humorous tweet. Is there a way to build in flexibility for tangents during the day and still feel like you are getting *enough* done? I am also the world’s best/worst multitasker.

In the midst of all this thinking, I just attended a NYC PyLadies Python Intro Course last week that reminded me that I’d love to get back to studying Python (I took a Python Intro course through Coursera a year and a half ago). “Learn to Code” events and workshops are great, but as most of you already know, truly learning to code requires lots of independent, quiet concentration. Is it feasible that I could squeeze in a few hours a week for this? I think if I were disciplined I could. Would love to hear your thoughts on these topics. Ya know, when you have the time….

New Year – New Links

Interesting Links & Recent Thoughts

  • Save time this year (and always) with Betteridge’s Law –  Betteridge’s law of headlines is an adage that states: “Any headline which ends in a question mark can be answered by the word no.” It is named after Ian Betteridge, a British technology journalist, although the general concept is much older. The observation has also been called “Davis’ law or just the “journalistic principle”. (Thanks, Gunnar!)
  • Location Based Messaging? My family recently got back from vacation in California. It would have been really helpful to send out a note of some sort or an email or a text to everyone I know who lives there or happened to be there at the time so I could let them know I was there and then perhaps coordinate to meet. Does anyone know of any sort of location based friend-messaging service? Maybe from Google?
  • Open Source Finishing School – I just mentioned to dear friend Karl Fogel that I think there is a valid market out there for organizations who want to use open source but are afraid and people who want to sell open source but are uncertain of how to assuage aforementioned fears. In my experience, most lawyers dealing with tech are either fervent cheerleaders for traditional IP approaches, clueless and/or wary of open source. More guidance is needed! The work Karl is doing at Open Tech Strategies is surely one organization doing this sort of thing, but they are a small shop. Does anyone know of any other such organizations? Also, Karl, when can we expect some case studies and customer testimonials?
  • More Leaning In About Lean InPalo Alto Software’s Sabrina Parsons weighs in on the neverending Lean In debate. 

    “So, lean in, but do so while nursing your baby, or while your son sleeps on the couch in your office because he’s feeling sick — and don’t apologize for it. Pursue your goals, take risks, and go above and beyond, but don’t give up your role as a mother, wife (or husband, for that matter), and community member to do so. We can do better.” 

So You Say You Wanna Support Women in FLOSS, do ya?

So you gripe about the lack of women in FLOSS and crack wise about meetups being “boys’ clubs” and make some vague intimations about the need for diversity in our communities, but have you done about it? Watcha gonna do about it? Well here’s one thing you can do about it here and now. Give to The Ada Intiative TODAY.

This is a picture of my smiling face last year at AdaCamp in Washington, DC (standing next to the ever-brilliant Marina Z. from Red Hat and the GNOME Outreach Program for Women!).
AdaCamp was an inspiring, educational, and uplifting event for women in free software, free culture, and free stuff and it was one of the first time I realized and truly felt like I was part of the FLOSS community. I made connections, I gained skills, I spoke about what I know and what I’ve done and people listened to me and I in turn listened to them. We laughed, we gasped, we cheered and sometimes jeered. I met truly incredible women from around the country and around the world and we all left there even more committed to lifting women up in our respective areas and throughout the world of open stuff — with our words, voices, actions, and (when possible) our funds!

Donate now

Ada Initative not only produces Ada Camp. Here is a list of other cool things they do/have done:

  • Created and continue to champion a template conference anti-harassment policy
  • Conduct regular ally trainings to teach men in our communities to better support our work and our spaces and they also work to train the impostor syndrome out of brilliant women and girls 
  • Provide a mailing list and other spaces for AdaCamp alumni to come together, ask questions, spread news, share resources, and put up job postings
I am an Ada Initiative donor. I set up a recurring Paypal donation that just takes the cash from my account every month. No muss, no fuss. Or you could do what my good pals Sumana and Leonard did and give a huge lump sum by setting up a matching challenge. Or you could leave a bequest. Or you could just toss them a coupla bucks. Whatever you do, do it now! Put your money where your mouth is by clicking that big red button and supporting The Ada Initiative!

Through The Looking Glass

I’m still with the same company, but we recently moved to a new office. Lots of great changes are afoot and this is the third office we’ve worked out of in the two years I’ve been there…and the third office in a row with no private rooms. The issue of privacy bugged me a bit before I had a kid, but now that I am a working and pumping mother it has become absolutely crucial. I need a clean, quiet, and wired (electrical and internet) place to pump for 20 minutes, two times a day. I can pump hands-free so whenever possible I’d like to be able to take my laptop with me and keep on Leaning In and shit. I’d like to know that I can sit somewhere, undisturbed and un-spied on for forty minutes a day. I can only imagine there are other people, pumping and non, who would like the same.

Transparency is good. Open doors and visible co-workers, that’s all great.  But sometimes we need privacy. Sometimes we need to have uncomfortable conversations, sometimes we need to hammer out the details of Top Secret Project X. Why do media/tech companies keep designing offices where that can’t (shouldn’t?) happen?

I recently heard this interview on CBC’s Radio Q with architect Raphael Sperry who’s organized other architects to stop designing solitary confinement cells in prisons. He says that architects have a social responsibility to uphold human rights. I agree with him wholly (in fact I think architects should stop designing prisons full stop!), and I’d argue that architects also have a responsibility to push for spaces that work for many different types of use cases, not just when 20-something year old dudes are programming together, drinking beer and getting along famously with no need for any privacy. I don’t know any companies where that is the case all day long, five days a week, do you?

If you have any thoughts, just ping me. I’ll be sitting on the bathroom floor pumping.


(WSJ) Indecent Exposure: The Downsides of Working in a Glass Office 
(BusinessWeek) Working Moms Need More Than Subsidized Breast Pumps 
(Yahoo Finance) A woman’s place is in the home and the office: The case for breastmilk pumping stations in public spaces 
(Why Is Her So Stroppy Blog) The silent breast pump and other lies by power mums