Last night I presented on “Advanced Custom Fields: Building Great UI and Future-Proof Designs” at the Pasadena WordPress Meetup Group I tried to cover why you should use ACF, the details of basic integrations, and a handful of advanced examples to show the power and flexibility of the plugin. The slides are available for download here

BuddyPress 1.7 Released

There are a number of great improvements, but most notably, BuddyPress can now be easily installed in any theme. I’m excited to start using it with Standard (by 8Bit), my favorite theme to start from these days. I have been working with a development version of BP 1.7 and Standard Theme and can say they work together nicely

WordPress 3.6 Beta Released

Looking forward to using the new post formats UI

I originally decided to go into web development so I could spend time writing code and building things. As I got started with my business and grew it over the years I quickly discovered that my job was less about software development and more about reading and responding to email. I had a to do list and was doing the GTD thing theoretically, but I never got to use my to do lists. I was always putting out the latest fire, responding to whoever was yelling loudest in my inbox.

I got really good at managing large quantities of email. On a phone call? Blast through some emails. Waiting for the microwave? Read one on my phone. Have 5 minutes between tasks? Don’t watch YouTube, check some email. Yeah!

I got so good at processing email that it became muscle memory for me. Command-space, M, return (I use LaunchBar)

As anyone who writes/creates/develops for a living knows, interruptions are disastrous. So whenever I had to focus and get some work done, this email habit was a problem.

One day I really had to buckle down and get a big chunk of dev work done. I thought, I should quit and you know what? Even if it’s silly, I’ll also change the LaunchBar shortcut for M to my list of ultra-important-must-do tasks so I’m truly focused. This’ll be great.

What I discovered next was interesting and quite startling. I was working along, and then – as it inevitably goes with development – I’d hit a bump in the road. Something would not work as I expected. I needed to rethink my approach. Huh? Why is my list of ultra-important-must-do tasks open? Without even thinking my fingers had tried to open Mail. My mind and body had been trained to compulsively check email the moment I encountered a development hurdle.

This happened over 10 times within the hour. It would happen without me even consciously thinking about it.

Today I have a new “system” that seems to work really well for me. I took out of the LaunchBar index altogether, meaning the one way I access email is to actually move my mouse down to the dock and open Mail. I turned off the badge for unread messages as well so I wouldn’t be tempted when command-tabbing through open applications.

This additional barrier to opening mail prevents me opening it by muscle memory and means I have to be more intentional about opening Mail. It’s a tiny change but has made a big difference in limiting my self-inflicted distraction and lets me focus more on the task I’m working on.