Inside the Barista Class

Fantastic post from Molly Osbert at The Awl (via Longreads):

As any barista will tell you, switching coffee shops isn’t hard. The job really only involves somewhere between six and eight discrete physical motions.

Learning a new job is simply a matter of reorienting your muscle memory to recognize a different set of tools […] Professional development is really about figuring out how to perform these six-to-eight movements at an ever-increasing pace, perhaps with some degree of style.

While the “six-to-eight movements” portion isn’t relevant everywhere, these highlights are great to remember when you’re starting with anything: photography, productivity, WordPress, or even card magic. 🙂

Beautiful nuances in your methods will emerge throughout your progress. Build your speed slowly, and the rest—including speed and flourishes—will follow.

Just breathe, Bryan

I wrote a lengthy fair use analysis on an internal work P2. I’ve done it before. However, when I read, say, or type “fair use analysis,” my breathing becomes shallow. How could I feel confident in my abilities to make that analysis coherent and logical? My colleagues are much more knowledgable than myself.

Or, it could totally be my lizard brain, a concept which Seth Godin mentions in his book, Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?

I obviously want to do well, and I’m not alone. I’ve been told many times that I’m capable of it, which is probably one of the reasons why I’m hard on myself.

The other day, I read an article by Harvard Business Review titled, “How to Handle Stress in the Moment.” I’d like to quote a passage:

“When you feel anxious, your breath starts to get shorter, shallower, and more irregular,” says Gonzalez. “Taking three big breaths while being conscious of your belly expanding and contracting ignites your parasympathetic nervous system, which induces a relaxation response.”

If you’re tense, you’re more likely to make mistakes.

In order to do my job well, be the best person I possibly can for my wife, and be the best example for my peers, I have to relax.

I’m reminding myself publicly: don’t forget to breathe. Deeply.

If you’re reading this, please know that you’ll do great, and tell others the same. Life beats us down way too often, so let’s do our best to bring each other up.

Alfred snippet idea: Waiting For

I often need to wait to hear back from someone about an issue or question, but I didn’t have a system for tracking those instances.


So, I created a new Alfred clipboard snippet!

Alfred waiting for clipboard snippet

Dynamic placeholders are cool.

  • {date:full} looks like Thursday, April 24, 2014.
  • {time:long} looks like 10:18:20 PM PDT.
  • {clipboard} is used for the internal thread URL.

In practice, each entry takes less than one minute:

  1. Copy the URL to my clipboard.
  2. Press Command–Alt–C to display Alfred’s clipboard viewer hotkey.
  3. Type my “Waiting For” snippet keyword: a8cwf.
  4. Fill out the “Who” and “What” lines.
  5. Review your Waiting For entries when needed.

I could remove the “Who” line, but the “What” line should be a super short sentence (or two).

Once the entry is no longer relevant, remove it.

Why not use a task manager?

I don’t feel like putting these into Things. Those are tasks I need to do.

In contrast, I review my Waiting For entries periodically and ping people when appropriate.

I confess. I’ve scheduled a task to appear every other day to review my Waiting For entries. If those grow, perhaps I should consider adding more context in those threads.

I’m feeling good about this one. 🙂

Lost my job

Right after my finals in the fall 2009 semester – which was right before Christmas – my boss at work called me into his office.

They were going to let me go. More specifically, my part time position was going to be terminated because they were going to hire someone full time as a systems administrator.

I have no knowledge of Windows Server 2003. While I could work full time now, I’m still “trying” to go to school.

My [former] boss, and many others, have said this means I can focus more on my photography. I was getting too comfortable.

I’ve been out of work for about 10 weeks and this post has been a draft – until now.

What’s next for me?

Until (or if) I get another 9-to-5 job, I’m a freelancer. I can do 1-2 paid photography gigs per week and be good to go. Weddings? 1-2 per month.

If you’d like to help and know someone who needs anything photography-related, please send them to Bryan Villarin Photography. Thanks!

Oh, and sorry for the delay in posting this. I was being odd.