Cover by Joel Spolsky

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fifteenFire and Motion

SUNDAY, JANUARY 6, 2002

Sometimes I just can't get anything done.

Sure, I come into the office, putter around, check my email every ten seconds, read the web, even do a few brainless tasks like paying the American Express bill. But getting back into the flow of writing code just doesn't happen.

These bouts of unproductiveness usually last for a day or two. But there have been times in my career as a developer when I went for weeks at a time without being able to get anything done. As they say, I'm not in flow. I'm not in the zone. I'm not anywhere.

Everybody has mood swings; for some people they are mild, for others they can be more pronounced or even dysfunctional. And the unproductive periods do seem to correlate somewhat ...

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