on design & a digital life

Living the Remote Dream: Book Review

June 4, 2015

Living the Remote Dream Book Cover

Whether you are a new to working remote or someone who's just curious about it, this book is a great reference manual. I have only been doing this for a year full-time, so I found Darren's years of experience to be very helpful and a good barometer to compare my own experience with.

The book is well-written with a very conversational tone, yet it still remains to be concise and to the point. Though he is definitely a fan of remote working, he also offers a balanced approach to it by highlighting the numerous pros and cons, as well as his thoughts on what type of personalities and industries remote working may best suit.

Though I agree with much of what he has to say, I also greatly appreciated the contrast between his approach to work life balance and my own. I have a more rigid schedule, as my wife and I have a houseful of kids under 6 years old. I would be interested to see how his approach changes if his family grows.

A few highlights: his example of a nonlinear workday is fascinating with the option to go for a ski run for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon and then finish up the work while watching a sporting event in the evening. I also enjoyed his take on business travel and incorporating as many extracurricular activities / bucket list items at book ends of work trips. I was able to do this on my recent trip to NYC, and it truly is a gift.

But what I enjoyed most was his refreshing experience of remote workers being on average the most dedicated, and hardest working team members that an employer can have. If you think about it, it really makes sense. If a remote worker has the opportunity to live where they want, earn a good salary and do fulfilling work, it only makes sense that they would work extremely hard to keep that job, and ultimately do stellar work.

I have seen that to be true with my current team, as well as with past employers. The best remote workers were also the most driven and reliable team players. I also enjoyed how his honest approach to companies that put so much value on FaceTime and merely showing up. He took them to task, as he points out these companies are not valuing what really matters, the results. He even went so far as to point out that ultimately these companies will not last, as they are focused on the wrong outcomes. I couldn’t agree more!

Whether you're new to remote working or just considering it from a distance, take a few hours and read Darren’s short book, and open yourself up to a whole new world.


February 10, 2015

What if we measured our lives / days in moments?

Not the hours that are a necessary to get to moments, but the core of experiences. The moments.

Moments of rest. Moments of relief. Moments of peace.

Moments of achievement. Moments of satisfaction. Moments of wonder.

Moments of joy. Moments of pain. Moments of heart ache.

I know seasons are also a part of life, but you often cannot sense a season until you are far removed from it.

What if we brought our moments to our Father. The good, the bad, the miserable, the moments of awe where we are lost for words.

From Diaper Box to Ikea hack

DECEMBER 10, 2014

Sitting is killing you.

You’ve heard this mantra endlessly over the last few years as well, right? But what is a working man to do, drop a few grand on a fancy solution, or just… sit and take it?

Side Note: I have been seriously contemplating dropping about $500 for the recently Kickstarted StandDesk. The product looks amazing, and they also have an amazing team. Maybe in a year or two..

Ever one to fight the status quo, I have been experimenting with solutions for the last few years. Though I briefly had an adjustable desk in my days at Dell, alas those days are no more.

While enjoying my remote working freedom, I’m building out my home office, and part of that is continuing to evolve my desk solution. Here is my evolution, side by side, with v1 – a diaper box, and v2 – a $20 ikea lack side table. Granted, this is no epic studio tour like Trent Walton, Ugmonk or Cameron Moll’s, but please excuse the work in progress.

Stand Desk Rigged

I’m only on Day 3 of testing, but so far the ikea hack is a vast improvement.

One adjustment I made that really helped was leaving my macbook pro closed and on the lower part of my desk. For the first day I had both the laptop and monitor on the standing portion. The screen real estate was great, but moving back and forth between the elevated laptop keyboard and lower wacom tablet caused so much back pain that I nearly returned the coffee table. Yesterday I gave it one more shot, with just the monitor, wireless keyboard and wacom tablet on the standing desk, and I really loved it.

As for my routine, yesterday I stood all morning, sat down and worked on just the macbook pro after lunch for a few hours, then finished the day standing again. This worked really well, and my body felt really good when I knocked off for the day.

Working Remote, and loving it

OCTOBER 13, 2014

I took off last week for a staycation with my ever growing family, and today’s my first day back at the job.

And it’s awesome.

I know it sounds cliche, but I love it.

I work with a great team and boss ( ), producing solid work for awesome clients, and I get to do it all from my home office, perched on the second story over looking the Texas hill country.

I mean, I don’t have the setup that Trent Walton does , but seriously, who does!Life is good, and working remotely is a huge part of it.I’m 4 months into it, and learning new techniques everyday. With three kids under the age of 5, it’s not easy at times, but it’s worth it every day.

Today I had breakfast and lunch with the crew, played frisbee with my oldest at lunch, and I’ve been smelling the Turkey my bride has been roasting for hours. Yum!

With the technology available to us, I just can’t imagine why the majority of driven, self disciplined professionals don’t skip the commute more often.