Blockable – A calendar that helps you plan your day

Technologies: React, Redux, Jest

Blockable is a calendar that helps you plan your day. It’s related to some concepts I picked up from Cal Newport in his book Deep Work. Every day, I block out specific time periods on my calendar and allocate them to a specific chunk of work. This tool is designed to replace my paper version.

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Automate Google Sheets: An Introduction to Google Apps Script

A picture of the Google Sheets logo

Google has built some of the most effective productivity tools on the planet. With Gmail, Hangouts, Chrome, Docs, Sheets, and more, odds are you use Google products for at least some of your work. There’s also a good chance, though, you’re missing out on one of Google’s most powerful tools — Google Apps Scripts. I wrote an intro guide to Apps Scripts putting some of my JavaScript skills to use.

Read the full article on Zapier here. Project

Using Node.js, I created a program run on the command line that accepts a zip code argument. Then, it does the following:

  1. Uses a GET request to the API
  2. Returns the latitude and longitude for the postal code provided
  3. Uses a second GET request to the API
  4. Returns the forecast summary for the given latitude and longitude
  5. Logs out the forecast to the command line

After downloading the project files and installing Node.js, you can run the program like this:

node request.js 33811

The program accepts an unlimited number of zip codes so you could run:

node request.js 33811 33803 80005 80301

You can see the full project files up on GitHub. I’ll walk through my thought processes and the challenges below.

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Interactive Quiz Application

Quiz Project

As part of the Treehouse Object-Oriented JavaScript course, I built an Interactive Quiz Application that builds a quiz with three questions and two answers, tracks a user’s progress throughout the quiz, and displays their score at the end of the quiz. The index.html and style.css files were provided at the start of the project, but I generated three JavaScript files to make it all come together. You can see the full project including HTML and CSS files on GitHub, but I wanted to walk through some of my thought processes here.

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Basic To-Do List

A title image featured a pen resting on a blank sheet of paper.

One of the projects in the Treehouse Front End Web Development course is to wire up a To-Do List using JavaScript. I was able to make the to-do list fully functional as well as add some additional drag-and-drop functionality using the Sortable jQuery plugin. The full project files are up on GitHub, but I wanted to walk through the JavaScript used to get this project up and going as well as my thought process behind some of the trickier areas.

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Make Every Word Count: How to Nail Your Next Presentation

Public speaker on stage

One of my main goals for 2015 was to get up on stage and present somewhere. I ended up achieving that goal at WordCamp Denver 2015 giving a presentation on Hacking Creativity.

I’ve never been particularly shy on stage, but I’m not necessarily a pro either. In preparing for my talk, I uncovered a ton of amazing tips for public speaking. In this article on Zapier, I take readers from idea to on stage with pro tips from the best in the industry.

Read the post on Zapier.

How to Learn Anything: A real-world guide to mastering any new skill

A light bulb indicating a new idea

I’m a huge fan of learning. I think it’s one of the most important skills anyone can master. In fact, if I was interviewing a candidate for a job, the first question I would ask is what skill they have taught themselves in the past year.

Like any other skill, you can actually improve your ability to learn. I combined my favorite strategies in this awesome guide on how to learn anything on the Todoist blog borrowing from master learners like Tim Ferriss, research on expertise and skill acquisition, and a bit of my own personal experience.

Read the post on Todoist.

End Internal Emails: How Top Remote Teams Communicate

“Communication is oxygen.”

That portion of the Automattic creed has stuck with me from the start. After reading the creed during my first week of remote work, I had a surface-level understanding. Now, after a year of working with over 250 other individuals spread across the globe, I understand it even more. In many ways, communication is the lifeblood of an organization. Without discussion and collaboration between individuals, little innovation would take place.

It’s easy to emphasize the importance of communication in remote work since employees can’t meet by the proverbial water cooler. But, it’s just as important when employees are working in the same room—launches have to be scheduled, bugs have to be squashed, and relationships must be built.

There are a slew of tools out there for communicating, including Skype, Slack, and HipChat to name a few. However, in some cases, the normal tools just don’t get the job done, leading companies to improvise and create their own systems that work. Let’s take a look at four companies that have cooked up their own communication tool and three takeaways to apply to your organization.

Learn from the best on the Zapier blog.

How to Better Remember and Make Use of What You Read

Have you ever read a book passage that you’re certain could one day be applicable to your life? But, between your shopping list, work to-dos, and your aunt’s upcoming birthday, the passage quickly fades from your memory causing you to draw a blank when you really need to reference it.

When I began reading seriously for personal growth at the end of last year, I experienced this problem constantly. I was flying through books, but I was unable to recall or use any of the information.

Over the past year, I’ve been exploring and testing new methods for organizing what I’m reading for easy retrieval in the future.

Find out more about systems used by Ryan Holiday, Austin Kleon, Maria Popova, and more on the Zapier blog.

What a Workout Does to Your Brain

I distinctly remember the sunrises during my senior year of high school. While my classmates were sleeping, I was on the roads racking up miles with my cross country team to avoid the Florida heat. We would hit the showers then shuffle off to class. At the time, I thought this was absolute torture. Getting up early in the morning was bad enough, but exercising on top of that?

That type of activity wouldn’t be anything new at Naperville High School in Naperville, IL. The school was profiled in the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and The Brain. Naperville encourages students to attend physical education classes and offers early morning options so they can get a workout in before the first bell. As one would expect, the students have a lower obesity rate, but they’re also seeing benefits in the classroom.

To improve mental performance, many individuals, resort to hard work and repetition. In turns out, they might be missing out on one of the most powerful brain boosters in the world – exercise.

Find out more on the Crew blog.