March 29, 2020
Week of March 22 - 28
It’s been almost five weeks since I last posted. Life got crazy again as my mother-in-law, who lives with us, was hospitalized for the second time in five weeks. That was four weeks ago. She spent almost 3 weeks in the hospital and a rehab hospital. It has been crazy for the past two months as she spent 42 of 55 days in a hospital or rehab facility.
Craziness of Life
I have worked remotely for six years as a freelancer and now as a full-time employee. My kids are homeschooled. We spend a lot of time in our house so in some ways our current reality is not a lot different. But then again it is different (weird).
Last week, I felt more distracted and had a really hard time staying focused on my work. I know that I am not alone in this. Several of the people I follow had similar thoughts.
We homeschooled for several years. I've worked remotely ~10 years throughout my career. Of all families ours should be 100% prepared for this.
But this is 1000% not normal. Go easy on yourself if your days feel like a loss. We're taking it day by day, too. ?
— Cameron Moll (@cameronmoll) March 27, 2020
You know, as a self-confessed introvert (or, well, someone who prefers to be that way), and as someone who has worked remotely for ages, this week has been anything but normal. I can’t focus on anything. My mind is like a bag of wasps. For those new to remote working, please don’t think this is normal and blame that circumstance on why things are hard. – Mark Boulton
This was week two of being mostly confined to our house. I have ventured out only a couple of times to pick up some prescriptions and get a few items from the store. We have been taking advantage of Walmart’s grocery pickup to get the majority of our groceries. We are being very careful because my mother-in-law is extremely vulnerable to this virus.
More Focused This Week
Work-wise, I was much more focused this week. I started a new project this week. Last week, I was bouncing around a lot between several different projects which probably contributed to feeling less productive and less focused. It was nice to be able to dive into one thing and give it my focus for the first part of the week.
I feel like I have learned some better ways of building sites in WordPress so each one seems to get up and running just a little bit quicker. I am not sure if I can completely put my finger on what it is that I have learned or what has changed but I just sense that the cumulated experience is making it easier to think through how to structure a site and how to take advantage of Custom Post Types to create a better experience for the client.
One of the things I have been focusing on a lot lately is how the interface looks for the client. I have been taking advantage of Tabs in Advanced Custom Fields to break up the content into more manageable chunks so that they edit page is not so long but can be accessed by using vertical tabs on the left side of the screen. It is just part of the polish that I/we like to put on our sites to deliver great experiences to our clients.
For the past two days, I worked on adding an event signup page to a site that I built late last year. I ended up contributing a bit more on the design side as the project evolved through the day and the client decided to add more content. I also got to use my consulting skills to advise the client on a different solution for something new they proposed when we were previewing the new page for them this morning.
I feel like I have been gaining more confidence in speaking with clients over the past year. After spending four or five years without any contact with the client, I felt a bit rustier when I started working with LGND. But the more you do it, the more confidence you gain.
I believe that the main reason I was more focused this week and better able to cope with the anxiety and uncertainty was that I was more spiritually centered. I spent a lot of time throughout the day praying. My pastor’s sermon last Sunday (online service), some articles that I read this week and my time reading the Bible helped me to overcome fear and live by faith, trusting in the precious promises of God.
Here are some of the articles that were particularly meaningful:
- Turning Thunder into Song – I always find that singing (worship) helps to strengthen my faith and chase away fear and anxiety. I spent a lot more time singing this week and listening to music that helped me stay more spiritually centered.
- Christians in Isolation: A Word on Temptation
- Beauty is Born in Bad News – Randy Alcorn referenced this article on his blog this week.
- What Christ’s Followers Need To Know, Be, and Do in Difficult Times – this was probably the most encouraging thing I read this week. Just a reminder of Biblical truths and applications to make in light of present circumstances.
- You are doing :focus wrong (and I was too) – I watched this yesterday over lunch. Some good things to consider in terms of accessible development
- 16 Things to Improve Your Website Accessibility – A lot of these were familiar to me but it is always good to keep this front and center in my mind. I really would like to write an article about things I have learned about accessibility. It has been more of a focus for me in the past year. (mentioned it a lot in these weeknote posts)
- Reminder to take advantage of the reduced motion media query – A good thread about this. I am trying to decide which route to take. Have no motion be the default and then add animations
- Inspired Design Decisions With Otto Storch: When Idea, Copy, Art And Typography Became Inseparable – I have enjoyed the series by Andy Clarke. You can now buy each article in the series in a high-quality PDF magazine and code examples.
- I started re-reading Range this week. I read it just after Christmas and then bought my own copy to mark up. I am enjoying it just as much the second time around as the first. My team is reading it this month for a book club discussion.
- Another book that I have been reading this past week in Strength for the Weary. It is a Christian book that looks at the last half of Isaiah. I have found it challenging and comforting to read in these uncertain and anxious days. But I have also been a little bit disappointed because I wish it went a bit deeper. It has some great observations but I feel like it is not as fully fleshed out as it could be.
- Update: Upon further reflection, I wonder if the problem is not the content but is me. I may just have been reading through it too quickly to stop and ponder the deeper meanings and chew on the ideas a bit more. Not sure. But when I read the last chapter on Saturday, I felt like I got a lot more out of it. And realized that the book had challenged me a lot in the previous week in thinking about the idols in my heart and how this difficult time is exposing them.
- I want to get back into The Myth of Equality. It is a challenging book and I am eager to get ideas on making an application so that I can grow in this area and know how I can take responsibility.
- Captain America: The First Avenger – Cap is my favorite in the MCU. It was nice to watch this movie last Friday.
- Invincible – enjoyed watching this one on lazy Saturday afternoon after making a store run and mowing the yard.
- Star Girl – my girls wanted to watch this one a couple of weeks ago. My oldest had read the book recently. Ended up enjoying the movie a lot more than I thought I would.
- Clone Wars Final Season
- The Franchise – I really enjoyed watching this documentary about the Kansas City Chiefs championship season. I was only able to watch the last quarter of the Super Bowl due to some of the craziness in my life. But boy what an ending! I grew up a Chiefs fan and endured many seasons of sub-500. I don’t watch or follow football as much as I use to but it was great to see the Chiefs claim another championship.
- I played some FIFA20 this week. I am playing season two with Tottenham Hotspur. I have had some trouble winning recently. Been frustrating. I feel like I have built a pretty good team. The defenses have been shutting down my strikers. I had a bit more luck this week and won a lot more often but still had some frustrating losses.
- Like a lot of people, I have been taking a lot more walks. I went on several different walks with my kids this week and one with just my son. It is nice to get out of the house and great to spend time with my kids. I have enjoyed having my oldest home, who is now doing her college classes online. I think it might be harder to let her go away again when the time comes that she can.