The Freelancers’ Show 069 – Setting Boundaries
Panel Reuven Lerner (twitter github blog) Curtis McHale (twitter github blog) Ashe Dryden (twitter github blog) Eric Davis (twitter github blog) Jeff Schoolcraft (twitter github blog) Charles Max Wood (twitter github Teach Me To Code Rails Ramp Up) Discussion 01:16 - Setting Work Hours “Do Not Disturb” iPhone feature 06:51 - Making Clients Aware of Boundaries 08:33 - Handling “Emergencies” Deciding How Clients Should Contact You 11:48 - Keeping Chat Logs, Meeting Notes, Recordings, etc. Ecamm Call Recorder for Skype 13:15 - Email 15:58 - When Clients Set Boundaries with You 17:44 - Working with/for Family and/or Friends 24:32 - Setting Boundaries for Working at Home with Family Metal Door Stop Sign Is Daddy on a call? A BusyLight Presence indicator for Lync for my Home Office - Scott Hanselman Messages (iMessage for Mac) Picks Drafts (Eric) Sleeping with Your Business Partner by Becky Stewart-Gross (Eric) Fluid App (Curtis) Postman (Jeff) Shift by Hugh Howey (Ashe) Google Apps (Chuck) Fringe (Chuck) Book Club Getting Things Done with David Allen! He will join us for an episode to discuss the book on July 30th. The episode will air on August 7th. Next Week Less Accounting with Steven Bristol Transcript CHUCK: If I ever disappear, it's because I told my Dad that I was moving more than an hour away with his grandchildren. [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.][you're fantastic at code, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? the upcoming book, next level freelance, will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. the book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients, and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. extras include: 9 interviews with freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. check it out today at nextlevelfreelance.com!] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 69 of The Freelancers' Show! This week on our panel, we have Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hello from Chicago! CHUCK: We have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Hello! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hi everyone! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hi! CHUCK: Jeff Schoolcraft. JEFF: What's up! CHUCK: And I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, we're going to be talking about "Setting Boundaries" and how to handle that. Have any of you had a project where you tried to set boundaries with a client and then went poorly? ASHE: I have. Definitely with a certain type of client, my biggest boundary that I set with new clients is the hours that I work. There are certain class of clients that believe that people should be available all the time no matter what; no matter if it's emergency or not, they didn't really care for this trekked work hours. CURTIS: Yeah, I think we've all had that. I had a client email me once and then call me at 2 am, and my response was my rate went up based on how annoyed I am because -- [Laughter] CURTIS: I was really annoyed! I actually tell clients that my weekend rate and my evening rate is based on how annoyed I am. [Chuck laughs] ASHE: Nice. CHUCK: I just tell my clients that it's double after 5 or 6 pm, whatever is side, unless I decide to work. In other words, if it's on my terms; but if they call me, yeah. I also tell them I don't have an on-call rate because I won't be on-call. CURTIS: Yeah, fair enough. I had one client that was upset a couple of weeks ago that I wouldn't launch their site at midnight for their whole 10-people a day and I told them that I would for $10,000; if they want me to do it, that was my going rate for midnight launches. CHUCK: Nice.
CHUCK: If I ever disappear, it's because I told my Dad that I was moving more than an hour away with his grandchildren. [Hosting and bandwidth provided by the Blue Box Group. Check them out at bluebox.net.] [You're fantastic at code, but do you have an action plan to take it to the next level? The upcoming book, Next Level Freelance, will help you optimize your freelance business for happiness. The book is packed with actionable steps to make more money, case studies, tips to find more clients, and exercises for you to establish your desired lifestyle. Extras include: 9 interviews with freelancers who make great money while enjoying great work-life balance, videos on strategies to find quality subcontractors, and videos on making more free time by outsourcing your daily tasks. Check it out today at nextlevelfreelance.com!] CHUCK: Hey everybody and welcome to Episode 69 of The Freelancers' Show! This week on our panel, we have Reuven Lerner. REUVEN: Hello from Chicago! CHUCK: We have Curtis McHale. CURTIS: Hello! CHUCK: Ashe Dryden. ASHE: Hi everyone! CHUCK: Eric Davis. ERIC: Hi! CHUCK: Jeff Schoolcraft. JEFF: What's up! CHUCK: And I'm Charles Max Wood from DevChat.tv. This week, we're going to be talking about "Setting Boundaries" and how to handle that. Have any of you had a project where you tried to set boundaries with a client and then went poorly? ASHE: I have. Definitely with a certain type of client, my biggest boundary that I set with new clients is the hours that I work. There are certain class of clients that believe that people should be available all the time no matter what; no matter if it's emergency or not, they didn't really care for this trekked work hours. CURTIS: Yeah, I think we've all had that. I had a client email me once and then call me at 2 am, and my response was my rate went up based on how annoyed I am because -- [Laughter] CURTIS: I was really annoyed! I actually tell clients that my weekend rate and my evening rate is based on how annoyed I am. [Chuck laughs] ASHE: Nice. CHUCK: I just tell my clients that it's double after 5 or 6 pm, whatever is side, unless I decide to work. In other words, if it's on my terms; but if they call me, yeah. I also tell them I don't have an on-call rate because I won't be on-call. CURTIS: Yeah, fair enough. I had one client that was upset a couple of weeks ago that I wouldn't launch their site at midnight for their whole 10-people a day and I told them that I would for $10,000; if they want me to do it, that was my going rate for midnight launches. CHUCK: Nice. CURTIS: They expect me that like $100 and I just do it, and I said, "No." I think for most clients though, they feel that is an emergency even though it isn't. The client that called me at 2 am, their ecommerce wasn't running and they told me they're losing thousands and thousands of dollars an hour, and the reality is they sold like 10 $10 widgets in a week at max -- [Laughter] CURTIS: And they wasn't really -- like what I said, I don't explain it to them that, "I can see your metrics, too. One hour of my time costs more than that in the middle of the night; my time is more expensive than that." The biggest what I've come better that is, actually the iPhone has the mute feature. So after 5 o'clock, the only people that ring through to my phone are my favorites, which is just family and friends, that's it. My phone doesn't make any other noise except family and friends' text messages. CHUCK: Yeah, the "Do Not Disturb" feature? CURTIS: Yeah, that's what it's called. CHUCK: It's super nice. And you can also turn it on; you can set it so that, by default, it works a certain way. 'By default' is a wrong term, but it automatically turns on at like 6 pm and turns off at 7 am or whenever, and then you can also set it so that it'll run for an hour or half-hour or something as well. So you just set it and say, "I'm in an hour meeting, do not disturb". CURTIS: I think the biggest thing is that, especially when I was starting as I didn't treat myself like a business, you don't call at the bank at 3 am or you didn't get mad at them when you go on the next day or anything because that teller you like wasn't there, right? [Chuck laughs] CURTIS: They are a business, you don't expect them to do that. So when you start treating yourself like a business, say, "Here's my hours. I'm not going to respond to you outside those hours," and then stick to it, then your clients will start treating you like a business as well. REUVEN: I've actually had some issues with that in part because being based in Israel and working with people all over the world especially in the US, I have sometimes had clients where in California, which is a 10-hour difference, time difference. So I'd say to them, "I'm only going to be available during my 9-5 work hours. It's just not going to happen." And the fact is, I know and they know that I tend to work for few hours after my wife and kids go to sleep. So I don't ever enforce the sort of "You can only call me from 9-5" probably because, well I guess, if it's rarely clients call me and it's outside of business hours and takes more than a few minutes, I tell them, "Let's just talk about this tomorrow." My American clients tend not to call me; they tend to contact me on Skype or via email. And then if I'm tired or if I'm not around, then they just have to wait until the next day, and they seem to be okay with this. Every so often, there's an emergency, or what Curtis said, they think it's an emergency. And then typically, if I'm not around, they just wait until the next day. CHUCK: I can say that I did had a client, he was in Hong Kong and then he moved to Singapore, so there's a pretty decent time difference there. And yeah, I worked around it by pulling some early mornings or late evenings to make it work. But if they're here in the US and they're within 2 hours of my timezone, they're going to have to deal with regular business hours because there is absolutely no reason for me to have to take a call at anytime after about 6 or 7 in the evening. CURTIS: When I had a German client, we just set up 2 nights a week where we do like a half-hour check in. The rest of it, I just operate on business hours and I didn't charge extra for that time outside of what would be normal business hours. ERIC: Yeah, I kind of switched to that. It's kind of like that where his end of day, like he was like walking home from work, was like my beginning of day, and my end of day was like his beginning of day so we would actually, when we need to talk, we will just like schedule it for either of those that would work. Like I had might had stayed late a couple of times or he might had to kind of wake up early, but it's pretty flexible and we both realized that this is just a chat, this is to actually do work. REUVEN: I have a client in Chicago so when I was in Israel, we saw a lot of these problems by staying on the path sort of like, I think what Eric was just saying, we had a weekly phone meeting. And even though the hours were a little weird for me, it resolves some of these problems. Because anything they want to talk about is supposed to email, we just [inaudible] a weekly meeting, so then they found that was less the need for contact [inaudible]. ASHE: Out of curiosity, does everybody make these kinds of boundaries aware -- CHUCK: I usually don't tell them right upfront, "Hey, these are my hours blah, blah, blah..." Typically, what happens is I'll let them cross that line once or twice. And when they do call outside of what I would consider reasonale hours, then I'll tell them, "Look, I don't usually take calls at this time. Can we reschedule?" Or in some circumstances, if I don't have anything else going on, then I'll say, "I can talk to you for 10 or 15 minutes. But if it's going to be longer than that, then we'll have to talk in the morning." Most people are pretty okay with that especially if I tell them that I'm spending time with my family or something, which is usually what I'm doing when I tell them that they're going to have to talk to me later. CURTIS: I'm looking at my contract and it actually have it, like in my intro meeting, we actually talk about that. And I will use the line like, "My weekend and evening rate is based on how annoyed I am. And when I'm not hanging out with my kid in the night, I'm kind of annoyed." [Chuck laughs] CURTIS: That's what it usually gets. They laugh at it, but realized we're actually setting a boundary there at the same time. CHUCK: Well, in most cases, if they have a problem with that, they'll tell you. ERIC: I don't have it in my contract, but I have clauses that say like, "Developer will do something within normal business hours." I think it's just the first meetings when I tell them like, "I'm around from 9-5ish specific time, plus or minus." Because lot of the clients I work with, I manage their servers and do kind of basic system administration stuff, so I kind of have those, "If we need to upgrade a server in off hours like at 9 o'clock at night, that schedule kind of outside of it and you can't expect that I'm going to do it. But if we can come to an agreement, then I can schedule around it. I'll do it." But, I don't have an annoyed's fee yet. [Chuck laughs] CURTIS: I tell clients for a proper side crash, that is something I deal with as part of my job, that is not annoyance. I don't want you calling me to talk about some new feature on your site or the color of something or anything like that. If your site is fully crashed, let me know and I will deal with it. Because I end up -- I do check my email even though my phone will still buzz when I have a message and I will listen to the message right away, and then I will decide if it really is an emergency or not. ERIC: I have a business line which goes to avoid server IP phone and so I don't have stuff going to my cellphone, but when someone calls in, I'll hear it throughout the house. But also, I'll get emails and I missed the call and then I'll get an email of the voicemail like transcribed and also attacked just the way it files. So if they're screaming like, "The server is on fire! It's actually melting down our office!" I'll know about it. CHUCK: Most of my clients have my cell number. And usually, I'm pretty good about telling them, "Look, this is my cell number, and I really don't want you calling it unless it's an emergency or we have a scheduled call. If there's something, try hit me on Skype first," and then I do get the Skype notifications on my phone. But for the most part, I really don't check it unless I'm at my computer. That way, they can hit me when I'm actually in a place where I can solve the problem. ERIC: Well, that's a nice thing to do. Because I had mine, like I said, I have a separate phone app on my phone for my business line so I'd have it open and receive business calls to my iPhone. But I can close the app where it shows up differently as 'someone is calling you' so I can decline it, and I don't have to worry about the 'Do Not Disturb' stuff on the actual cellular side of it. So, I kind of have this wall stuff also. If I do want to kind of ignore someone or if I'm out of place where I can't do anything, I can do that. I remember one time I was shopping, and actually the server did crash. I was at the top floor of IKEA with my wife, with my phone actually logging in to their server because they called me and stuff was like going haywire; I was able to fix it that way. ASHE: I think I'm probably in the minority. I'm hard of hearing so phone calls are really difficult for me. So I actually tell people to email me or text me, and all that stuff goes to my phone right away, which is kind of nice. But also, like my voicemail says, "Unless you're a family, don't leave me a voicemail". CURTIS: I've just had way too many clients have used the text messaging over and over. Even like I am in Skype and stuff, I quit Skype all the time because I have clients that every 4 seconds saying, "Hey, what's up? Hey, what's up?" despite me explaining to them that I am trying to work on a different project. They wouldn't like it if everyone is bugging me when I was trying to work on their project. CHUCK: With that, I've only had to go invisible once or twice on people. I just set Skype to Invisible and then I let the client that I'm actually doing the work for know, "Hey, I've set this to Invisible and I'm just letting you know that I really am around trying to get work done for you," and it fix it pretty well. ERIC: Yeah, I'm with Curtis, I don't like IM. I found it, a lot of the times, I'm just sitting there waiting for them to type. It's like, if you can compose your thoughts in an email and send it that way or call, you can pretty much get it done in a 5-minute read or just chat. Just live chat, it's synchronous; you're just sitting there waiting, especially if they're like trying to change direction of what you're actually working on right now. It's a complete block. ASHE: The nice thing about doing it in text though is that you actually have a log of that, which has actually bitten me before where I've done calls. Like now, actually, if I do calls or meetings, I actually have like the client sign off on the notes because they'll say things like, "Oh, this was the decision we made in that meeting." And I was like, "No, we never discussed that," or "That's not the decision that we reached." So now, I prefer, especially if there's an emergency that I have actually like a written email from them saying, "This is what went wrong; this is what I expect you to do." That way, everybody's on the same page. If that ever has to be referenced again in the future, I have it. ERIC: Yeah. CHUCK: The thing that I've been doing lately with one of my clients is, we have a weekly call on Friday where we check in, me and my subcontractor and then the two guys that are working on the project with us at the client. I just use Ecamm Call Recorder and record the call over Skype, and then I send it to everybody [chuckles], so they know I have it and it's logged that way; you can't argue with that. CURTIS: I record client calls a bunch, too, in Skype and then kept it for later. But even if we're not recording it, then I do always follow up with notes and what decisions were and what the action items are, and include, "If this list is incorrect, we need to get a correct list and say that this is the correct list from the call," and I will have hounded that on a few clients that I didn't need to work with, that when I had to hound them down for that for getting that final list because they kept not going for it. CHUCK: I have another question about boundaries, we've mentioned boundaries with like calls, phone calls, and IMs, what about email? Do you ever have 'help vampire' clients that email you every 5 minutes or anything like that? ERIC: Well, I don't let my clients read my email, that's my first boundary. [Laughter] CHUCK: Oh, we don't be in trouble, wouldn't we? ERIC: I tell my clients, "Basically, how I bill is if I'm working on your project that's helping your business, I'm billing for it." I give them a slide if it's like a short email where maybe 5 minutes (it's kind of my limit), but I tell them, "If you're going to send me a link at email or one where I would actually think about or it's a chain that's going back and forth, I actually start billing for that time," they see it on their invoice. So if they do become, like you said a help vampire, they're getting charged for it. CURTIS: Yeah, so do I. I also establishes clients that are like I don't check emails first thing, I decide what I'm doing the night before, and then I check it like before lunch and just of the end of the day, and they know that. If it's a real emergency, there are other ways to get a hold of me during the day like my phone -- ERIC: Like text. CURTIS: Yes. The two clients, they got my texts, or realized I could do that. ASHE: I actually use project management software so anything that needs to be done should go in there instead of an email, and I update the project management software with "This is what's been mercking dot working on; this is what's holding me up; this is what I need from you," so any information that they would need from me is already in that tool. So emailing me really only works for things like checking on invoices, or scheduling meetings. CHUCK: Yeah, I like the approach. I don't know how often that works out. Most of the correspondents that I have with my folks is usually through the project management software and then through email. And depending on the client, it can vary anywhere from 30%-50% of it being an email. ERIC: I use Redmine and ChiliProject with all of my clients. Some of them I got setup so that they actually reply to me via the system so like they at least can reply to a notification that goes into the system so we have this big audit trail and then it gets sent right back out. I found, that's great especially for a lot of the more non-technical clients because then they can actually refer back, they can search, and everyone can actually point to say, "No, look, this is exactly what you said." CHUCK: Yeah, it's back to that; the audit trail, I guess, being able to see what was said and what the details are. And that's where these calls come in, like I had a call with a client and I can't remember all the details so I went back and played about 4 minutes of the call, then I knew what I was supposed to get done. Do you ever find that your clients ever set boundaries with you? CURTIS: I haven't. I've had them tried to expand my boundaries as much as possible, but I'm there all the time. [Chuck laughs] CURTIS: But no, I've never had a client say, "Unless they go on vacation," and you say, "Hey, I'm going on vacation. I afforded all the technical stuff to you, can you just take care of it if something comes up for the next two weeks?" But no, outside of that, I've never had boundaries. ERIC: I think I've had two. One might have been kind of vague where I was doing all the development but I was also hooking up this developments up to the UI and they said, "We're going to bring a designer in later so don't even touch the UI, just make it look stupid and functional and then someone's going to come back and scan it later." So it was kind of informal working boundary, just team-based stuff. Another boundary I've seen is when you start working for a client, you're going to have like trust built up so they might not let you get on the servers or they might make you jump through hoops in order to get your work done, which over time, that boundary kind of gets relaxed as you prove you're a good guy, you know what you're doing, all that stuff. But no rule like strict boundaries, I guess. CHUCK: Yeah, I can't say that has happened to me either. Most of the time, they're trying to get me to open up my boundaries a little bit. ERIC: I guess I was thinking just in terms of time, I have had one potential client say that "I could never work with or email or like do anything with any of the developers I met that were already working on their projects even if I was already working with them on other stuff, we had to stop it." And I said, "No" but I told them that I've had to like quadruple my pricing because they were trying to put more boundaries on me and how I run my business. And to get that privilege, you had to pay a lot extra. CHUCK: Yeah, it was kind of like the NDA discussion. ERIC: Yeah, exactly. CHUCK: Are there any other aspects of boundaries that we want to cover? Anything like family for example? I have an Uncle that came to me with a brilliant idea! "How hard would this be to do?" and then he proceeded to tell me how hard it was going to be to do. But yeah, I sat there and I politely listened to him and then I said, "Well, I'll give you the family discount," and he said, "What's that?" I said, "You get to pay 200%," and he got real mad at me. But basically, it's a way of checking it and saying, "Look, we're working with family, the stakes are higher, so that's the way it has to be. I will refer you to somebody else who will do it reasonably good work at a reasonably good price." ERIC: I actually do some work for my family. My Dad has a contracting business and I host his site and give him access to basically do whatever he wants with it and don't charge him because I'm already paying for the server. And then my brother needed his ecommerce setup and I charged him a bit to actually set it up and to make the theme. But I don't work for any family outside of that. CHUCK: Yeah, I guess there is that. I've been working for a few months in my spare time on a website for my Dad's dental office, but that is purely free and we've kind of have an understanding that I'll try and get in what I can do for him, but he doesn't complain, he's not pushy about it or anything because he's not paying for it. So we have set the expectations and we can deal with it on that level. But the second you get money involved, the family relation kind of goes weird. ERIC: The only thing I charge like my Dad and my brother for is actually hard cost that I have like renewing their domains; they don't even know how to do it so I charge them for that. My brother needed a server for his own because of SSL stuff and I had to charge him for that. And then for the theme, he want to purchase, and that's about it. Other than that, I just tell them like when I can get to it. Again, we set clear boundaries right at the beginning and it has worked out quite well. CHUCK: Yeah. My Dad takes me to lunch once a year to pay for his domain. JEFF: You had a good deal. [Chuck laughs] ASHE: I actually won't do work for friends or family and other friends because that makes it difficult. If that friend has an issue with that person then I don't get stuck between the two of them. So I will tell them where to look for people to do this kind of work, what they should expect to pay, the kinds of things that they should have in order before they start looking for somebody to do the work. But I try and stay out of the middle of that altogether. CHUCK: I've referred friends to friends, but again, I set the expectation upfront, "As far as I know they do great work, I know what their rate is and it's reasonable. If things don't work out, let me know and I'll refer you to somebody else. But if you have a conflict with them, I'm not getting involved." But yeah, it definitely gets complicated when it's a relationship outside of sort of the professional client relationship. ASHE: Yeah. CHUCK: I also have a friend of mine that wanted me to teach him how to program and then hire him as a subcontractor, and I told him no as well. CURTIS: I had one of those recently as well, and I [chuckles] said no. "Oh, can you give me your book and I'll start learning it then I can work for you?" and I said, "No, that's just not going to work for me. I'd rather keep us friends and I think I'm going to do less damage by just saying no right now." CHUCK: Yup. I was also looking at hiring my sister to be a VA and I decided against that even though they really don't think anything will go wrong. My Dad hired one of his sisters as an office manager for his dental office and when that went south, things had been really weird with that particular part of our family since. JEFF: Our relationship and working together, I think, is really weird. I guess there are few really successful like husband and wife teams like whose at Imangi that does all that Temple Run stuff, and then the Beanstalk folks, and Evan whatever Ericforesaid, the ThemeForest folks, the wrapper company into ThemeForest, and Rockable, but I don't know, it's weird. I don't know if it's a personality thing or family dynamic thing for me or just have my wife is in such a totally different business than I am to think about what that kind of relationship would look like, or to hire a sister or a sibling, whatever. It's just really weird to me. CURTIS: I think it depends on the couple. Like my wife and I, we met when we were guiding community trips. We spent our first summer married like 6 months -- well, I guess, 4 months working together and then we've worked together at different jobs many a time and it like closed enough that our desks were back to back and it just always worked out well. She does a little bit of project management and I guess entering some of my tax stuff because she's a stay-at-home mom now mostly, and we'd talk about it getting her to do more. But I know other fit; people that just said they could never do it. CHUCK: Well, I think it's different with your spouse because -- I'm just speaking for our situation, obviously -- but we have a joint checking account that the business pays us so all that we'd really do is shift how the money came into our joint checking account because she get a paycheck and then I get a paycheck as opposed to just me getting a paycheck. But when it's somebody else like my sister or my Dad or somebody who doesn't have that kind of control, who doesn't benefit directly from the business doing really well or not, then the situation gets a little bit differently. ASHE: I think it really depends on the person. Like my partner actually used to work with me -- used to work under me, actually, for a while. And the only rough part about that was that we couldn't shut work off because we would be working, doing work, and then go home where we live together. So work was still what we were talking about and it wasn't like, "Okay, now is home time!" That was our biggest issue. But I think it really depends on the dynamics of your relationship. Unfortunately, you can't really know until you're in that situation. So if it's not a relationship you're willing to lose, I would suggest not working with somebody that you are family or friends with [laughs]. CHUCK: Yup. And if there's any doubt, just don't do it. ASHE: Exactly. JEFF: Right. CURTIS: When we commuted back from our job, we set the boundaries that once we got at the car, we were done talking about work, that was it. After that, it was just life in general. CHUCK: Cool. I like that. So do you find that there are any boundaries -- I'm assuming that most of us work from home, or sometimes go work from a coffee shop, or something -- how do you set the boundaries at home? JEFF: I have a door that I shut -- because I work from home almost all the time, I don't go out to a coffee shop and I try to have a hard stop during the business day about 4 o'clock and that was when my girls get home from school and so I'm busily done client work until they go to bed and maybe I'll pick up something later. But if they're home and I need to do something like be on a client meeting or record this podcast whatever, I shut the door. And they're pretty good about respecting that boundary. When they were younger, our door was like a mop to a flame; they just couldn't leave it shut. But it's not so bad now. CURTIS: I remember when my wife finished work to go on maternity leave and we hadn't had the baby yet, and probably the third day she came into my office and started to talk to me and I turned on her and handed her $20 and told her she need to leave the house now so that I could work. [Laughter] CURTIS: Eversince then, it was like I hadn't got any work done the whole time she'd been home. Every 20 seconds, "What do you think about this? And what do you think about that?" and I was like, "You just have to go away," [laughter]. After that, it's been actually really good. We have a very good thing, I have a 2-year old that's, again, the whole door thing, she likes to come up. But normally, she keeps it to a hug before nap time and a hug before she leaves, and the rest of that, it's okay. JEFF: My wife is like that in the summer time. Summer time, I want to get to a point where I just take the entire summer off because my girls are home and my wife is home, but everybody wants to be entertained and they're used to be able to, like Curtis said, just come in and chat and ask some random question that's not really important and doesn't really matter, but it's on our mind so they come in and ask question. But yeah, my goals is to take the summer off at some point. CHUCK: With my family, same deal. I have a door on my office, and if the door is shut, they generally will stay out. I also have a stop sign that I bought off of Amazon, and I'll see if I can find it and put a link in the show notes. But my kids know that if the stop sign is up, they absolutely, absolutely should not come in the office, and it usually means that I'm recording. And the thing is that if I'm in here recording and I have the stop sign up, my kids, every once in a while, my 4-year old decides that she's going to touch the boundaries and come in. I have a mute button [laughs] and so about once a month on one of the shows, I'll have to push the mute button, turn around, and tell him to get out. But other than that, it's really nice and I can be in here and do my thing and get stuff done. Then I open the door when I'm ready to be bothered. Or, I'll just leave the office and go and get family time. JEFF: There's an older post (I'll try to dig out) from Scott Hanselman and he was talking about working from home. He actually bought an on-air like radio studio lights to put outside his office, and he'd flip it on whenever he's recording something and he need not to be disturbed and try to maintain like audio silence. But that's less of an issue for me than tell my girls to stop fighting when they're screaming their heads off in the basement. CURTIS: That's what really good noise cancelling headphones are for, Jeff. JEFF: They're great for me, but -- [chuckles] CURTIS: They power off all the time. JEFF: Great for me, but not great for the podcast. [Laughter] CURTIS: No, no. I know typically -- because my office is actually in our bedroom, she was fairly tiny house so it is likely that at some point in the day, my wife will have to come in. And though I leave the door closed but I guess cracked, if she can't just come in and then like during recording, it's actually fully shut. Even my ex say, my 2-year old does pretty good at that still, but not perfect yet. CHUCK: I thought in Canada, it was a "hoose". [Ashe laughs] CURTIS: That might be on the opposite side of Canada from where I am [chuckles]. ERIC: Or, in Doctorsisland. [Ashe laughs] CHUCK: Also in Minnesota. [Curtis laughs] CHUCK: Are there any other tricks? My wife pretty well minds my boundaries, I guess, but in the surge of an emergency. The other thing that's nice that I'll mention is my wife and I both have iPhones. On Mac OS, you have the Messages App, so a lot of times, if my wife needs me, she'll just send me a text message, which comes through the Messages App. So if there's something going on, then I'd just get notified that way and I could pick it up kind of like through IM and then reply when I'm able to. JEFF: That's interesting. ASHE: Yeah, we do the same thing here. Most of the time, I'm working from my office, which is outside of my home. But sometimes, I'm working from home and sometimes, I have podcast and that kind of thing that I'm on later at night. So when my partner gets home, I just let him know via messages and then he'll just like hang out in the bedroom until I'm done and then I'll give them like the 'All clear' sign over the messages so he knows that it's cool to take around and talk. CHUCK: Yeah, it's really handy. Well, then let's go ahead and do the picks. Eric, what are your picks? ERIC: Alright, I got 2 picks. The first one is an iOS...yeah, it's just iOS. I don't think it's on...yeah, it's not for Mac, just iOS, it's called "Drafts". It's kind of like a text editor thingy, but basically, you open it up and you basically can start typing text right away and you can hook it up to different actions. Like on mine, I actually have it where I can type something and then hit a button and it will actually send that text to me in an email all on the background; I don't have to worry about composing like find me in the address book and all that. And I also have mine hooked up so like I can type something and hit a button and it automatically adds to my to-do list. I used it just to kind of get stuff like, "Oh, I had to start. I want to put it some place that I can find later instead of going in and write an email, going into my actual to-do list app, or doing whole much of other stuff. It's a quick way to just jot stuff down. CHUCK: Nice. ERIC: And then my second pick, basically, based on what we talked about now, this is a safe for work book even though it kind of seems kind of not safe for work, it's called "Sleeping with Your Business Partner". It's all about, if you're working together with your partner and they're in your business whether it's you guys are kind of equals like you're both in the same work or it's like maybe one is helping out. But it's really nice, I got it and took a whole bunch of notes on it because my wife is going to help me of my work for a little while. But it's a lot about like how you kind of separate personal business life, where do you want to integrate it. Different kind of questionnaires and like figuring out how people would work. Or if there's a problem, if one person is just kind of bring out the pride away, or if they're going to kind of let it steam a little bit and then explode later, it's pretty nice because that's when you really explore kind of the different personal dynamics and how that's going to actually come out and working. So, I recommend it. Let's say it's only on paperback, but it's totally worth it. CHUCK: Nice. Curtis, what are your picks? CURTIS: I'm going to pick "Fluid App", which just lets you make websites into an application, or more like an application on your desktop. The feature I'm living most is that you can set it to have like a keyboard shortcut to bring up that Fluid App window, which is nice. That's the big thing I hate about web apps that you're using is you don't have just system-wide keyboard shortcuts. That's all I've got today. CHUCK: Alright! Jeff, what are your picks? JEFF: I've got one, and it's "Postman". It's a Google Chrome REST interface; it's an extension for Google Chrome and it lets you do all the RESTful operations with XML and JSON and it'll pretty print it and add headers and all that stuff. But what really struck me as cool is the abiliy to basic treat sessions and so I work on one of my clients, I developed an API for them and so it's nice to take a session of a certain path through the code to something that UI is doing to say that office is session of request. So, that's my pick for today. CHUCK: Awesome. Ashe, what are your picks? ASHE: I just have one today. I've kind of been burning through this book called "Shift", which is the second part in the Wall Series; Wall is the book I mentioned on here before. I really love it. It's really great science fiction book and it's pretty cheap on the Amazon Kindle Store. It's basically about these people who live in an underground silo that they think that they're the last people on Earth, but there are actually 49 other silos. So it kind of discovering that these other people are out there. CHUCK: Awesome. I've got a couple of picks here. The first one is "Google Apps", that's what I use for my email; I really, really like it. The other pick that I have is a TV show that I've been watching with my wife and that is "Fringe". We've been really enjoying it. We're almost done with the entire series. The last season, we're not liking it as much as through this series, but we're enjoying it and we've got like 3 episodes left before the end of the season. Anyway, we'll wrap this up. Thanks for coming guys! ASHE: Thanks! CHUCK: For those of you in the US, have a terrific 4th of July! Or I guess, I hope you had a terrific 4th of July. And for those of you in Canada -- CURTIS: Hey! You mean Canada. It's Canada Day yesterday. CHUCK: Yeah. And those of you in Canada, we hope you had a terrific 1st of July and we'll catch you all next week!