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 wrote a book titled Professional Web APIs with PHP back in 2006, and am currently working in Biomedical Informatics for a major public health company.

I’m working on a project to help developers called WonderProxy which has proxies all over the world. Working on GeoIP development? Now you can finally test properly! We've also released Global Ping Statistics for expected ping times between cities, as well as a Load Testing Tool to measure your site's ability to handle load. Our most recent site checking tool is Where's it Up? which checks your sites availability globally, returning HTTP, DNS, and Traceroute details

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

I co-founded:

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