Year: 2017

How to Schedule Your Tasks with Calendar Blocks by sarah.blog

How to Schedule Your Tasks with Calendar Blocks

As I’ve settled into my work at Automattic as a Happiness Engineer for WordPress.com, which is remote and requires self-discipline and managing my own time well, I’ve tried several different methods of scheduling my tasks and keeping track of my time. I used this method of calendar blocks for several months very successfully. (The past few months I’ve been trying a more digital bullet journal-type method, which I’ll share the details of soon, in case you’re not a calendar person.) Mapping out your day with calendar blocks isn’t anything fancy, but it can definitely get the job done if you’re needing to assign tasks to the hours of your day to stay on top of things. This quote basically explains why it works: “When it comes to task completion the major difference between a calendar and a to-do-list is that the calendar accounts for time. You’re forced to work within the constraints of the 24 hours that you have. Not only that, given that there are only 24 hours it also reduces the paradox of …

A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer by sarah.blog

A Day in the Life of a Happiness Engineer

I work at Automattic as a Happiness Engineer for WordPress.com. I’ve shared some details on what that’s like before (see here), but never a whole day play-by-play… until now! My day, as it happened on Wednesday, February 22, follows. This post is part of a series describing what Happiness Engineers at Automattic do each day. Read more like it by checking #a8cday on WordPress.com and Twitter. 7:30am – This is when my husband says goodbye and heads to work, so I start thinking I should probably get up too. I rest a while longer, then grab my phone and check Slack to catch up on my team’s channel plus a few others, and see what happened on Twitter overnight. I’m still not quite ready to get up, so I read a few chapters of a historical romance novel I’m in the middle of in the Kindle app. (Book: A Duchess in Name, The Grantham Girls #1 by by Amanda Weaver.) 8:50am – I jump out of bed and get dressed in real-ish clothes so I’m video-worthy, then I finger …

Small Batch Cupcakes (made in the toaster oven!) by sarah.blog

Recipe: Small Batch Cupcakes

As one-half of a two person household, I’m always looking for ways to not make giant amounts of food that will either go bad or result in us feeling like we have to eat way too much. Cupcakes are delicious, but two people do not need 24 of them! Since I’ve mastered making two chocolate chip cookies from scratch in the toaster oven, why not try cupcakes? I used cake mix, instead of baking them from scratch, to avoid turning six cupcakes into a big measuring, multi-bowl mess. I figured if I’m only going to end up with six instead of 24 at the end, the process should be about one-fourth of the usual difficulty, right? 😉 I forgot to take photos of them when they come out of the oven, so here’s the best I can do for the look of the actual cake until I bake them again: Yum! Now go make your own… Enjoy!

Top Tips for Working Remotely

If you work remotely or have considered it, you’ve most likely seen lots of advice about how to do it successfully, including how you should dress like you’re going into an office or have a whole room dedicated for your office space. And you know what? I don’t agree. I’ve worked remotely successfully for over two years now (currently: at Automattic for WordPress.com), and the secret is: Do what works best for you. Try lots of variations until you get the right combination, and then be willing to change it up once those things aren’t working as well for you anymore. Here are my top tips for how to work from home: Wear whatever you want! Take advantage of not having to go into an office and dress however you’re most comfortable while working. Do you need the structure of a business casual outfit to get in the right mindset? Fine. But if you don’t? Get cozy! My loungewear and sweatpants collection has expanded vastly over the past two years. When they became my work …

Five Top Tips for Reading More Books

I’m a big reader. I got off track logging my books as I read them in Goodreads this year to prove I met my goal of over 100, but I’m confident I did. No doubt about it, even without the proof, I know I’m well over it. So if you’ve been wishing you’d find a way to read more books, I’ve got the tips for you! (And no, I’m not going to tell you to stop watching television. I love TV too.) Last year I shared ideas for How to Read More Books in 2016, and I’m back today with five more top tips to help you along the way. I recommend reading the first post for the entry-level ideas to get started, and adding in these next five to level-up your reading habits. Give yourself a book budget. I don’t mean this as a way to decrease your book spending, but to increase it guilt-free. If you’ve set aside X dollars for books per month, it’s perfectly fine to spend the entire amount on …

To Do in 2017

I’m kicking off 2017 sharing a few things I’m going to do this year. The list will most certainly grow and become much longer over the next twelve months, but these are the things I’m starting it with: Remodel my kitchen. We’re planning it right now and are going to start ordering things soon. We’ll probably start the actual work around late-April. See Hamilton in NYC. I’ve already got the tickets, the flights, and a hotel booked, so now I’m just waiting for when it’s time to go. 😀 Edit my NaNoWriMo novel. I wrote it, so now I’ve got to edit it and finish it up. It’s by far the longest piece I’ve ever finished, so I’ll be sure to share the tips that finally helped me get past what had been stopping me before and make it all the way to the end. Looking forward to polishing it up and maybe letting someone read it. Read more non-fiction. I like to take notes when I read non-fiction so it takes more energy than my very lounge-y fiction-reading style. …