Lone-Ranger Productivity Tips

Next week I will celebrate my 5 year anniversary of working from home full-time. Here are some tips I’ve picked up.

Work Space

  • A good chair makes all the difference.  A good desk doesn’t make any difference.
  • Good headphones are handy when you need to block noise.  I use over-the ear Sony noise canceling headphones I’ve had for a decade, but if I had to do it over again I’d go cheaper and keep the comfort.
  • For my working telephone I use a battery-powered phone with a speaker option on my home line for work.  It’s Ok, but it ties up the home line.  Recently I splurged on a $20 set of earbuds and started using my cell phone instead.  The calls are clear, and I filter out external noise.
  • I have a great big laptop.  It’s criminally overpowered for what I use it for.  But, if I want to do something ELSE while I’m working, I have power to spare.
  • Walking desks are terrible for typing.  They are worse for detailed mouse-ing.
  • Some people have a problem stopping work.  They feel compelled to check email and see what’s going on on the evenings and week ends.  I avoid that by setting up my work space out of sight. If I saw it all evening I’d be tempted to log in, but since I don’t think about it, I can go all weekend without thinking about work.


  • I keep track of tasks with my own system.  Starting with the Pomodoro technique, I simplified it to a spiral bound notebook for tasks.  Instead of a pomodoro timer, I use Shoutcast.com to remind me not to get distracted.  There are fewer commercials and more choice than regular radio.  Using all other task-keeping systems (TidlyWiki, Rally, Getting Things Done) takes too much effort.
  • Communication is key.  You can get about 3 days worth of work done in a day if you have everything you need.  You can waste days and weeks waiting for information.  I do a short daily meeting and I check in with my co-workers at least once or twice a day.
  • It can get lonely.  I get antsy and have to run errands once or twice a week.  Shopping, lunch with others, and driving in the country all help.  Working on housework and working on my own computer-based projects does not.  I don’t go out to coffee shops as much as I thought I would.  Part of that is the comfy chair, part of it is the 10 pound laptop with 90 minutes of battery life.
  • You never, ever, get good gossip.  I’ve been through two layoffs, and I didn’t know about either of them until the day of.

These work for me.  Your mileage may vary.

Log4j2 Note

If you really only need to get log4j2 working in your maven build, do this.

1. Start with deps














2.  Import these

import org.apache.logging.log4j.LogManager;

import org.apache.logging.log4j.Logger;


3. Use this

 private static Logger log = LogManager.getLogger();