I’m Not Giving Up Anything for Lent

Lent is a season associated with sacrifice, penance, and introspection.

Many people, both religious and not, have the habit of “giving something up” for lent.  I believe the original intent was to emphasize sacrifice, but over the years it just became equal to “I’ll just do this other delicious thing instead.” I have been guilty of this in the past.

This year I’m deciding to look at it from another angle.

I’m not giving anything up for lent. I’m not saying “no” to a few things. Instead, I’m saying “yes” to a few other things.

And when we say “yes” to something, it typically means you’ll have to say “no” to something else.

But the “no” in this case is just a secondary effect. It’s not the end in itself, but a byproduct of another, more fundamental end.


This lent I’m saying yes to being more intentional and more focused on what matters.

This lent I’m saying yes to being more intense about what’s in front of me.

This lent I’m saying yes to modeling better behaviour for my family.

How am I going to do that?

Well, I am planning on saying “no” to two things.


Social Media

Social media is a major time suck for me. I loooooooove social media. I love to know people’s opinions on things, I love posting funny things I come up with, and I love the banter with my friends and strangers.

But it adds very little to my life. It does not help me much in the areas I want to be better at this year.

So I’m going to stop engaging in social media for 40 days.

I started today and immediately saw a jump in my productivity and focus. I’m looking forward to using the extra mental bandwidth for things that matter more to me.

If you’d like to stay connected with me during this time, click on the sidebar to follow my blog, and comment on my posts.  I’ll be checking it 🙂



I have to admit I’m addicted to my iPhone. When there’s any sort of break in my day, the impulse is to pull it out and check stuff.

I’m not giving up my phone for lent, but I am going to stop using when my children are with me.

I don’t want to be that father whose kids are going about their lives around him while he is sucked into his little gadget.

After 10 years of parenthood, I have realized that kids learn from observing behaviour. I want my kids to not be addicted to gadgets, and then they see me buried in my phone, they learn that that’s how life is, and that it’s OK to be constantly checked out from real life.

So, unless I need the phone to play some silly music for us to have a dance party, the phone is going to be put away.

So those are my plans for lent!

How about you? Are are you doing anything differently this lent?


What’s an Automattician’s day like?

It’s been over a year now since I started working at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com and a bunch of other awesome products.

While at first it was a big adjustment to work from home and have so much freedom, I’m now 100% used to it and loving it even more.

I get a lot of questions about what it is like to work there, what it is like to work from home, and also what it is like to make my own work schedule.

So here’s a little post in which I describe a typical day of work for me.  Let me know if you have any questions by adding a comment below!

5AM: I wake up and spend some time alone before the kids wake up. I do some reading, praying, and meditating. This is especially important this year, when I’m trying to focus more on my interior life.

6AM: I go to my “cloffice” and start my day by connecting with WordPress.com users via live chat. This is always exciting, as I never know the questions I’ll get, or what issues our users are facing.

The Cloffice: The guest room closet that we converted into an office.


8AM: Coffee and breakfast with my family.

8:30AM: Back to live chat, catching up on e-mail, and multitasking a bit, now that I’ve had some coffee!

11:30AM: Break to go to the gym, eat some lunch, and shower 🙂

1:30PM: At this point, sometimes I choose to go to a coffee shop to continue my workday. I then reply to some more messages, and work on different projects.


2:30PM: A 30-minute chat with a co-worker. We are encouraged to do this and have work “buddies” who can help us and be helped as we navigate the excitement and challenges of remote work.  I always enjoy these calls.

3PM: If I’m home, I take a short coffee break and enjoy a few moments with my wife.

3:30PM: Back to the computer! I now check on our team goals, projects, and commitments and see whether we are moving at a healthy pace to reach our weekly goals.

4PM: Answer some more customer emails, follow-up on anything that needs attention before the end of the day.

5PM: Close the computer and end my work day.

This is a pretty typical day for me.

One of the neatest parts of my day is life’s little “interruptions.” Let me explain: Because we homeschool, my awesome wife Amy and our kids are home all day. I have an open-door policy, so they can always come in and give me a hug or tell me something they want to share – even if I’m working. Apart from the few times when I’m on an important call, these little interruptions do not distract me from what I’m doing.  In fact, they remind me of why I work in the first place.

Automattic is a great company to work for, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to work on something meaningful, while at the same time witnessing my family life from a front-row seat.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Oh, and by the way, we are hiring.

My 3 Words for 2017

Just as I did last year, and after seeing the great results that I got, here is my post with my 3 words for 2017.

These are the three areas of my life which I intend to focus on, so decisions about how to spend my time and efforts will be guided by these words this year.

Why 3 Words?

intentionFirst of all: new year’s resolutions suck. They are too vague, and they are too generic. “I’ll get in shape in 2017.” What does that mean? Get in the shape of what?

After realizing that, I swung the other way: instead of resolutions, I decided to set goals that were SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound). They work fantastically well. That’s how I wrote and published a book, for example. The problem with specific goals is that they are too specific. If you set a goal for yourself in January, and later in July you lose the passion or the desire to achieve it, dropping it will feel like giving up. So you either spend a lot of time and effort to achieve something you’re not crazy about after all, or you give up and feel like a failure. Goals are great if you really know what you want to do.

A word, or a theme, is a much more flexible target without being as vague and unclear as a new years resolution.

Themes, rather than specific goals, guide you in the decisions you make during the year. They are like a compass.  If you have a compass, you can always go to a different place if you change your mind.

For example, one of my words for last year was “strength.” I wanted to get stronger. That meant a number of things: eating better, exercising, etc. It was not a specific goal (“I will lose 20 pounds by September” or “I’ll be running 5 kilometers in 30 minutes by July”), but it did guide my decisions when it came to how to spend my spare time, what snacks to eat during the day, etc. At the end of  the year, I can say that, yes, I did get stronger and I’m happy with the decisions I made throughout the year.

So here are my 3 words for 2017.

Intense Prayer

Interior Life

OK, that’s two words 🙂

In the last couple of years, as I focused on work, writing, podcasting, changing my career path, exercising, etc, I feel like I have lived mostly on the outside of myself.  With that, my spiritual and interior life took the backseat.

I believe that how you live on the inside is what really matters in the end.

So this year is the year I refocus on my interior life.

This will mean I will take opportunities to retreat, to pray, to meditate. I will work on being more humble, on thinking less about me, and on being there for others.



This is another word for better focus.

I multitask a lot. This means that rarely do I give my undivided attention to something or someone. I’m going to change that.

2017 is the year in which I become better at focusing with intensity. This is the year when I stop multitasking and learn to really lean in to the task before me. This is when the duty of every moment gets my undivided attention.

In 2017 I will do one thing at a time, and I’m going to do each thing well.

The result of that is that I will be able to immerse myself in projects, and at the same time, give of myself to those who need my time and attention.

I plan on regrouping my thoughts so I can focus on fewer projects. This means I will re-think my writing and podcasting, as well as my hobbies.

I’ll have to plan my time better. That will mean thinking carefully about my projects and scheduling time in my calendar to ensure I will have the margin to dedicate myself to one thing at a time.

This will also mean that I’ll be looking less at my phone and social media. Unless, of course, it is the right time to do so.



The last few years I created a lot of output.

Whether it was blogging, podcasting, writing a book, or making new people, I produced lots.

As a result, I feel like I haven’t really taken much in lately. I miss reading. I miss learning new things. I find that I am not growing as much as I would like to.

In 2017 I will read more. I will read at least 2 books per month.

I will also learn new things. I am blessed to work for a company in which there are many opportunities for learning, so I will take them as often as I can.

I will learn to cook more meals so I can help more at home in that area.

I will go back to learning code.

In 2017 I will feed my brain.

Let’s get started!

I hope this serves as inspiration to you to do better this year. If you’d like, go ahead and share below what you’d like to do in 2017. Be bold. Think big. And have an amazing 2017.


“A turkey is more occult and awful than all the angels and archangels. In so far as God has partly revealed to us an angelic world, He has partly told us what an angel means. But God has never told us what a turkey means. And if you go and stare at a live turkey for an hour or two, you will find by the end of it that the enigma has rather increased than diminished.”

— G.K. Chesterton: “Christmas.”