Since I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, my shrink suggested that I go to bed earlier, get up earlier, and have a regular morning routine. He recommended a few things, like meditating and eating a good breakfast with plenty of protein, but I thought I’d dig a little deeper, and see what the “top ten”-style lists say that you should do in the morning. I searched DuckDuckGo and from the top ten results, I tried to see what they all had in common.

You can see the full list of links below, but here are the results in order of which tips were shared most often:

  • Shared 8X: Exercise. I’m totally surprised that “wake up early” wasn’t number one! 20–30 minutes of bodyweight exercises or other movement is recommended. If nothing else, walk around the block for 10m. It reduces the stress hormone, cortisol, plus the usual exercise benefits.
  • Shared 7X: Get up early. Like, crazy early. 5:30am, 4am, you name it. Get up at least an hour earlier than you’re doing right now.
  • Tied at 7X: Plan your goals for the day. Take 10+ minutes to work out your plans, and visualize positive results for your goals. Planning longer-term goals is good too. Ask yourself, “If today was the last day of your life, would you still want to do what you’re about to do today?” (attributed to Steve Jobs) or “What good shall I do this day?” (Benjamin Franklin).
  • 6X: Meditate. It doesn’t have to be any sort of religious practice; just be still. Sit and enjoy the morning calm. Start trying to meditate for 5 minutes, and gradually increase to half an hour.
  • 5X: Listen to motivational stuff for 15+ minutes. In line with your long-term goals, create a mantra for yourself that you repeat every morning. Maybe also set your alarm with a motivating song and/or “blast jams” first thing. Listening to inspirational music (even pop!) can apparently also lower cortisol levels.
  • 5X: Start with the hardest thing, or the thing you dread doing most today. Early in the day is when you have the most willpower. “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” (attributed to Mark Twain, but more likely corrupted from Nicolas Chamfort)
  • 4X: Eat a healthy breakfast. High in protein is best for brainpower.
  • 3X: Spend time with your family and/or partner. Make it a breakfast date.
  • 3X: Go to bed earlier. The amount of sleep you get is critical. You would think this would automatically go with getting up early, but for me, I know it’s hard to break the cycle of being a night owl. I appreciate the extra nudge.
  • 2X: Coffee. Only two calls for imbibing the beverage that allows my brain to function at all‽ Must be nice not to need it.
  • 2X: Journal. Write down things you’re thankful for, ideas, strategies, progress, reminders, etc.
  • 2X: Read, study, and learn. Read things that will improve your work/life, but also “fiction or non-fiction in fields not directly related to your own” as a cross-pollination thing.

Some additional one-off tips:

  • Lay out things the night before (workout clothes, whatever), so you have less friction in the morning.
  • Pack snacks, like protein bars. Good to keep your brain energy levels up, and less temptation to give in to Pop Tarts or whatever crap is in the office snack room.
  • Get exposure to morning sunlight to reset your body’s clock and energize your brain. This certainly helps for me — and I have a wake-up light alarm clock for those dreary Seattle winter days.
  • Get rid of clutter. Throw one thing away. I like this one a lot, being a bit of a clutterbug myself.
  • Monday mornings, connect with your team face to face. You have a team, right? Get a team.
  • Only tend to urgent emails in the morning. Save the rest for later. It’s a time suck and willpower drain.
  • Start with a quick win — which seems to directly contradict the “swallow the frog” advice above, but maybe on difficult mornings, this is a good fallback for a confidence boost.
  • Make your bed every morning. This one seems to fall into the “correlation is not causation” camp, but I don’t suppose it would hurt.
  • Use rosemary, orange, or lemon scented toiletries, to “invigorate your senses.” Supposedly there’s science behind this. I think you might have more luck with caffeinated soap.
  • Some sort of dream bullshit? I don’t know. Maybe they were trying to go for visualizing successful outcomes, but it was coated in so much new age mumbo jumbo that I couldn’t suss it out.
  • Commit to leisure time on the weekend — and other weekend things from that one HuffPo article that really isn’t about weekday mornings. However, I see where they’re saying that you need time to recharge and not let yourself burn out.

Got more tips? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook!

The top ten articles from my search were:

  1. Lifehack: 10 Morning Habits of Highly Successful People That Make Them Extraordinary
  2. Forbes: 10 Morning Habits Successful People Swear By
  3. Today: Steal the morning habits of the world’s most successful people — an interview with Laura Vanderkam, who wrote a whole book on the subject.
  4. Lifehack: 7 Monday Morning Habits Of Highly Successful People
  5. HuffPo: 10 Daily Habits Of Successful, Intelligent People — mostly about weekends, oddly.
  6. Business Insider: 5 habits of people who are both happy and successful — overall habits, not just mornings.
  7. CareerBuilder: 7 Morning Habits of Highly Successful People
  8. The Ladders: 5 things successful people do each morning
  9. Yahoo! Finance: 10 morning habits successful people swear by
  10. Quora: What are some examples of the morning routines and habits of successful people?

No.7 was originally a link to a book on Amazon, with no immediate tips, so I disqualified it. No.9 is a copy of the Forbes article, so it should really be disqualified as well, but there wasn’t much in the way of results below the articles I listed here. All the same, I only counted the Forbes tips once.

Found these photos, I think they’re from the Washington (DC) Car Show in 1990 or so. They had a couple of the “future” cars from Back to the Future: Part II, and I stood in line for half an hour to sit in the Delorean. Fun times!






I don’t always agree with Marco Arment, but his post today about the ethics of modern web ad-blocking really struck a nerve.

As a publisher myself I’ve been trying to figure out how to monetize my sites so they will at least pay for their own expenses. I’m not trying to turn my podcast into my sole income source, but it would be nice if it wasn’t a money pit, y’know? However, I want to support it in a way that’s not creepy — I really don’t want to track you, and you don’t want me to track you, I’m sure.

Recently my wife also was complaining about flashing and otherwise intrusive ads on a “free” game site she frequents. We talked about the ethics of blocking the ads on a free site, and she eventually decided that blocking the ads was worth reducing headaches from flashing and flickering junk on her screen. We installed an ad blocker for Firefox, and not only did the ads go away, but it actually improved the site’s performance on her computer (an older white MacBook model). This surprised me at the time, but blocking those JavaScript loads on the page really reduced the amount of work that her browser had to do.

In Marco’s article, he recommended the free Ghostery add-on, which installs in your favorite browser and shows a little pop-up of what tracking scripts are running on a given page. It can also block any or all of these, but the most interesting thing for me today has been just to see them, and realize that there was more going on on my own site than I knew.

Let’s take a look at what Ghostery is seeing on my own sites.

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Recently, I wanted to upgrade my website on ye olde Django 1.6.5 to finally come up to speed with Django 1.8.3 (current, as of this writing). However, I realized that upgrading a WebFaction webapp in situ seemed to be a rather painful process. In addition, WebFaction doesn’t set you up with Virtualenv by default, and I’d like to be able to upgrade Django and the other packages I need for my site without affecting any of my other sites.

I’m going to show how I did my upgrade, but of course, you may have things set up differently, and YMMV. However for a relatively simple site, like mine, I hope this will be helpful.

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Frustratingly, it seems when you sign up for HBO Now on the Apple TV, it just associates it with your iTunes account, and that’s it. No email confirmation. No password to sign in to HBO Now on other iOS devices or on the web.

I appears the best answer is to sign up on your iOS device first, but if you’ve already signed up on the Apple TV, here’s the workaround:

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When we moved out to Seattle two years ago, we knew that earthquakes might be a thing we’d have to worry about, but it hadn’t really sunk in how real of a danger that might be. A recent New Yorker article got my office buzzing about the possibility of a Really Big One occurring on the Cascadia fault, which runs right under Seattle. So, for my own edification, here are some facts, and what we can do to prepare:

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Funny how once you become focused on a thing, you start to notice occurrences of it everywhere. This week, a bit of serendipity came in the form of this letter from Nick Disabato, talking about how he’s been learning to discard things, and being more intentional about the things he chooses to be part of his life. If you’ve been struggling with how to get rid of things, like I have, I highly encourage you to give that a read.

I’ve been trying really hard to make strides in discarding lately, so that letter gave me another boost of confidence that I’m heading in the right direction. We got rid of a ton of stuff two years ago when I moved my family from Maryland to Seattle (and I’m talking rent-a-dumpster levels of stuff), but as we unpacked, and ever since, I’ve been thinking that I still didn’t get rid of enough. As I recently wrote, that thinking has extended to my email as well. I have started to realize that the root of the problem is that I’m letting too many things into my life that serve no real purpose.

Just this weekend, I finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. While it is — like many self-help books — about a page
and a half of decent tips expanded to book form, there were three big takeaways for me:

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