In an 8-Hour Day, the Average Worker Is Productive for This Many Hours |

Melanie Curtin for

In the late 18th century, 10-16 hour workdays were normal because factories “needed” to be run 24/7. When it became clear that such long days were both brutal and unsustainable, leaders like Welsh activist Robert Owen advocated for shorter workdays. In 1817, his slogan became: “Eight hours labour, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

Now, the workday is ripe for another disruption. This is due in part to research that suggests that in an 8-hour day, the average worker is only productive for 2 hours and 53 minutes.

This doesn’t surprise me. Most people have many unproductive meetings that are disguised as work, but aren’t really work. This is why companies who value what a person does, instead of how long their butt is in a seat, are better equipped for the future.

To me, the eight hour requirement from most companies doesn’t make sense when you need people’s brains to output. I’m hard pressed to think of any job where it makes sense. Companies like to call their employees “assets” or “resources”, but at the end of the day are only human. Humans have bad days, they say things they don’t mean, they worry, they mourn. It’s stupid for companies to expect machine-like results from beings who are everything but.

Browser Support for Evergreen Websites by Rachel Andrew

Rachel Andrew:

If I built a site today that uses shape-outside to curve text around an image, Firefox users are going to see squared off text around that floated image. Chrome users will get the curved shape. As Firefox are currently implementing Shapes, at some point in the near future Firefox users will find their browser has updated underneath them, my website will suddenly look that little bit more finessed to them, yet I won’t have shipped any code.

Rachel makes an excellent point. Unfortunately, we sometimes get scared to use CSS that isn’t widely supported yet. Even worse, some depend on frameworks and their fallbacks for CSS. It’s completely understandable, the web is moving so fast! But I think Rachel’s advice is sound:

Also, remember that you don’t need to throw everything out and only use a very new layout method such as Grid or even Flexbox. Start small, finesse your forms or navigation with these methods, add some little touches. Not every site needs all the new shiny throwing at it, most will benefit from some elements from newer specifications. You can learn just as much about Grid by using it to tighten up a floated UI, as you can by turning your whole site over to it.

I recently started to play around with Grid, and using @supports allows me to define a Flexbox fallback that most people won’t even notice working under the hood. We might not know about all the new stuff, but I think pushing our comfort zone will only lead to better things.

Sync Two Google Calendars with Zapier

Stop pulling your hair out, let’s learn how to merge calendars

So here’s the problem: you’ve got a personal calendar and a work calendar, but you want both to be in sync. Googling how to do this is practically useless. Mostly, you’ll find articles or support posts on how you should share the calendars with each other, which doesn’t accomplish what I wanted. I wanted all events synced on both calendars so:

  1. I didn’t have to manually duplicate events to the other calendar.
  2. People checking my work or personal calendar had an accurate representation of my availability.

Finally I came across this video, and turns out that what I wanted to do was merge two calendars. I’m now in calendar bliss. When I create an event in my personal calendar, that event is created in my work calendar and vice versa. The great thing is, because this works with Zapier, you have more options that just Google calendar if you need them.

Jenn Schiffer’s Awesome XOXO Talk

This talk is eye-opening. Jenn talks about how she first started doing satire of the web industry, and the resulting abuse she’s received. Personally, I’d love to see more satire. We take ourselves way too seriously.

The Thing about Trucks by Rob Rhyne

Rob Rhyne explains why he’d take his Mac if he could only take one device with him:

My thinking goes like this: I can borrow someone else’s phone if I need to make a call, but I want my Mac if I need to do any sort of deep thinking. This feeling of personalization runs deep in a desktop operating system. It’s much more than wallpaper, or color schemes. My Mac is loaded with software and utilities that I have written custom for my specific use. I’m not talking about general software development, but scripting, and automation which ease my everyday tasks.

Rob nails it by saying that the iPad-only community seems to be filled with dogma. I personally find myself in a middle ground. I do a lot with iOSI publish most articles on this site with iOS, in fact—but there are things that I like doing on my Mac. Things I can’t do on iOS by design. As with most situations, do what works best for you.

Speeding Up Your Heroku Jekyll Site

Cache the hell out of all the things

This post is part of a series on hosting Jekyll with Heroku.

Something I missed about hosting my site on an Apache server, was how easy it was to turn on compression and caching. I finally spent an afternoon a few months ago to figure out how to do that on Heroku. It’s actually pretty simple. In fact, it’s easier than Apache, it’s just that the unknown can be scary sometimes. Is Where the Magic Happens

Open up your, that’s where we’ll be putting the code. First thing we’ll do is to enable Rack::Deflater.


require 'rack'
use Rack::Deflater

This part of the file enables compression on our assets. We’ll make that work in the next part.

use Rack::TryStatic,
  :gzip => true,
  header_rules: [
    [:all, {'Cache-Control' => 'public, max-age=86400', 'Vary' => 'Accept-Encoding'}],
    [['css', 'js'], {'Cache-Control' => 'public, max-age=604800'}]

The gzip part lets us use the compression we enabled earlier, and header_rules caches the hell out of everything, so that people don’t have to re-download resources.

That’s it! With only a few lines of code, you can drastically speed up your site on Heroku.

Pricing Strategy for Creatives | A List Apart

Jason Blumer gives a few reasons as to why charging by the hour doesn’t work, but his first makes so much sense, it maddens me that I ever billed hourly:

When you charge by the hour, you and your client begin your relationship with diametrically opposed desires. You want to bill more hours, they want you to bill fewer hours. That is a sucky place to start a relationship.

This post is from 2012, but it’s just as applicable now. Something I’ve been doing recently is to give clients my daily or weekly rate for smaller tasks. I then use those rates to calculate how I should price their bigger projects. This way, nothing is tied to the hours I dedicate to something, and our interests are better aligned.

MacBook Pro USB-C Move Is a New Gold Rush | Computerworld

Jonny Evans writing for Computerworld:

Apple’s decision to move to Thunderbolt 3/USB-C in its new MacBook Pro with Touch bar models generated some heat but is also fostering a boom in MacBook Pro hubs. These hubs are designed to add support for earlier flavors of USB, Lightning, HDMI and other interconnect standards.

I recently purchased a MacBook Pro, and wrote a brief review on it. I’d been doing some research on Thunderbolt 3/USB-C hubs, when I came across this article. The Elgato Thunderbolt 3 hub looks pretty great, and essential if you end up buying the new LG UltraFine 5K Display. Which, as I wrote a few days ago is one of your two options if you want a retina 27-inch display.

I don’t understand buying the OWC DEC unless you’re interested in being transported back to 2005 when MacBook Pros were three inches thick. The HyperDrive doesn’t make sense either. I want to connect the hub to the back of a monitor, not my laptop. Second, if the placement of the USB-C connections is moved, or if it’s upgraded to four on each side in a later iteration, this product is immediately obsolete.

In the end, none of these options is really ideal per se, but the Elgato Thunderbolt 3 hub is about as close as we’ll get in this weird and awkward transition period.

The Outwork Myth | Signal v. Noise

Jason Fried:

People make it because they’re talented, they’re lucky, they’re in the right place at the right time, they know how to work with other people, they know how to sell, they know what moves people, they can tell a story, they can see the big and small picture in every situation, and they know how to do something with an opportunity. And so many other reasons. Working harder than other people is not the reason.

I adore this man. Bravo 👏🏽