I tweeted a few nights ago how non-productive my evening felt. It was mildly dis-heartening really. I’d gone to Starbucks, bought my tea & cookie, and sat down for a few hours to try and get some real work done. Unfortunately, since i’d been handling “business” things, rather than solving the computer problems I enjoyed, I didn’t feel like i’d really gotten anything accomplished.

Then I stopped to write down what I’d done:

  • Determined usage information for a client and sent them an invoice.
  • Looked up our costs for various cities, and generated a quote for a prospective client.
  • Researched our usage and purchased bandwidth for a given location, and noted that we should scale back our purchase.
  • Reached out to a client to let them know I’d heard from their procurement department, and that their purchase was moving along.
  • Got the ball rolling on moving more domains off GoDaddy
  • Researched alternate EV certificate providers
  • Double checked our bandwidth costs for a provider as we’d recently changed providers.
  • Replied to a new contact I made at GTA PHP.
Once I wrote that list down, I felt much better about how i’d spent my evening.

So that’s my tip, if you’re feeling unproductive because you spent a day, afternoon, evening, whatever working outside your comfort zone, write down what you did. For bonus points write the list in advance so you get the pleasure of striking items off. Be as granular as you need to be in order to make the list at least 5 items long.

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Hi, I’m Paul Reinheimer, a developer working on the web.

I co-founded WonderProxy which provides access to over 200 proxies around the world to enable testing of geoip sensitive applications. We've since expanded to offer more granular tooling through Where's it Up

My hobbies are cycling, photography, travel, and engaging Allison Moore in intelligent discourse. I frequently write about PHP and other related technologies.