The official book of California Stylesheets


(and that's okay)

It's a book about writing CSS.
And not writing CSS.

You suck at tracking

The first step to sucking at tracking things is tracking things.

Stop tracking everything.

Track maybe one thing, tops. Don’t tell anyone about it. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle (of software development) tells us that observing the metric will necessarily change it.

Really though, the biggest reason not to track things is the same as the reason you want to not do anything else: Doing things takes time and energy.

Bukowski’s tombstone says “Don’t try.” Try that.

Tracking things not only takes time and energy but it’s not even a part of your main work. It’s also a tax on your work, where you have to do more of it when you’re productive. That means you’re effectively punishing yourself for doing the one thing you’re sitting down to do. This applies for any aspect of your work, from tracking hours to lines of code.

Even worse, tracking is a recurring commitment. A constant, even drain on time and attention. There’s no getting away from it. Time tracking is probably the worst version of this. But it applies to everything, from upvotes to downloads to user clicks.

If it’s occurred to you that you can mitigate this problem by tracking how much you are tracking things, then please put this book down right now. Go for a walk. Walk until you are okay with the very concept of wasting time. (Do not keep track of how far you walk.)

Web development is miserable. The rewards are few and far in-between. The only reason it pays okay is because of this.

But it’s unbearable for some people, so they have to line up little rewards for themselves to keep going. Don’t get caught up in it.

Here’s my suggestion: Be miserable. Use it to make the work better.

Fix it with CASS

CASS gives you less stuff to keep track of when you switch from a “modern” overly complicated CSS workflow.

It won’t help you stop counting commits on Github, though. Therapy, maybe? Have you tried screaming at the ocean? That’s just a random example. Not something I do. Any Kyle Yeats arrested in Florida in the Summer of ‘14 for screaming at the ocean (and all of the sand-castle-kicking kids it contained) is purely coincidental.

Ultimately time tracking is orthogonal to what CASS does. But they’re both downstream from the same “Getting better means doing more” ideology that pervades the software development profession. Here CASS can only help manage the symptoms; it can’t cure the disease.

Next Chapter: Estimating »

Like the book? Buy it over on Gumroad.

Pay what you want!

The Gumroad version contains a secret chapter that spills the dirt on CSS preprocessors, a tech CASS no longer uses.

California Stylesheets is the awesome CSS file/framework referenced in the book. Get your own California Stylesheet here.

Go to CASS