Quick writing tip: Start with meaning

“What do all the words mean?” Asking that is a very powerful way to start working on a document that Product or Engineering requested, but for which they provided little more than a headline: “We need a document explaining how to cook fish in an office microwave”. What do all the words mean? Then continue […]

Helping colleagues after layoffs

Whether your colleagues just got laid off or are worried they’ll be next, there are ways you can help – even if you don’t have a job to offer them. All of these things can help people feel prepared and in control, and can reduce anxiety. That’s about all you can do, since you can’t […]

Fear-based procrastination

Half of what I read about procrastination, focus, and productivity seems to ignore what for me has always been the prime driver of procrastination: fear. The unfearing view of procrastination focuses on perfectly reasonable advice, some of which I also give, which helps alleviate some symptoms. But the best way to beat fear-based procrastination is […]

How to properly end things

There is a line in Atomic Habits that I really like: “I’m just proactively lazy. It gives you so much time back”. It refers to resetting a room after every use so that it’s ready the next time you want to use it. I like to apply it to my work computer, and I am […]

Embrace the suck, writers’ edition

In a post titled Find It in the Edit, I mentioned that your first draft is going to suck, and that seven drafts into the writing process is halfway there. I was making a point about the importance of editing. But I should have made another point: “The suck is normal. It’s almost requisite. Embrace […]

Consistency, punctuation and the oxford comma

One of the most popular posts on this blog is the one where I suggest foregoing consistency when using (or not) the oxford comma in UI. Did I really suggest punctuating inconsistently? Yes. Yes, I did. Readers don’t care about your company’s consistency; they care about clarity. With vocabulary, being inconsistent is a great way […]