Weekly Progress Report: March 19-25, 2017

I didn’t get much done this week.  My son was sick most of the week and finally started feeling better as we headed into the weekend.  At the same time he was starting to feel better, my daughter was getting sick.  She didn’t leave my side much this weekend, which takes priority over all other things on this list.  We had a relaxing weekend of binge-watching kid movies so they could rest up.

LEARNING.  I’m continuing to make progress on the Become a PHP Developer learning path on Lynda.com. I finished the JavaScript Essential Training course and am 22% done with the Introducing PHP course.  According to Lynda.com:  58 hours of video tutorials remaining in this path.

LISTENING [Audible]. Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken.

DEVELOPMENT. Project: “The Store.”  Project Scope:  This is a website re-design for a brick-and-mortar store I’m doing for a family member.

Weekly Progress:  I learned how to bulk-edit/resize photos using Photoshop Elements and have all the images sized and ready to be renamed from their standard “image-1” to more meaningful names.


  • Tuesday:  We had training on forcible entry.  One of our officers made a wood frame that lets each of us practice different techniques.

PHYSICAL TRAINING.  Well, I got started, but that was about it.  I actually intend to hit all my goals this coming week (9 miles running, 125 curl-ups, and 125 push-ups).

  • Running:  10.41 miles (16.75 KM)
  • Curl-Ups:  50
  • Push-Ups:  50


PLASMA.  I started donating plasma again a week ago Thursday.  I like donating on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which is what I did this last week.  I’ve decided to focus on leadership training on Lynda.com during that time.

One More Coffee Mug #1 – WordPress Proudly Powered by Coffee

Every Wednesday I’m going to share One More Coffee Mug.  I currently have enough mugs to keep this going for at least two years.  Despite my wife being under the impression that I already have enough mugs, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting ones.  It’s especially fun to get them from new places we go.

It’s only fitting to start this new feature with my favorite mug:  my WordPress “Proudly Powered by Coffee” mug.  I love these enough that I went ahead and bought a few of them from the WordPress Swag Store.  They make great gifts, too (No, I don’t earn a commission from them).

I like to start my day with a fresh pot of coffee while checking out the WordPress forums.

What’s your favorite coffee mug and why?

Weekly Progress Report: March 12-18, 2017

Welcome to my first weekly progress report, where I’m going to track what I’m working on each week.  This is just as much (or more) for me than it is for you, but maybe you’ll find something worthwhile.

LEARNING.  I’m continuing to make progress on the Become a PHP Developer learning path on Lynda.com. This week I’m 45% done with the JavaScript Essential Training course.  According to Lynda.com:  81 hours of video tutorials remaining in this path.

READING. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Tim Ferris.

LISTENING [Audible]. Amaze Every Customer Every Time by Shep Hyken.

DEVELOPMENT. Project: “The Store”

Project Scope:  This is a website re-design for a brick-and-mortar store I’m doing for a family member.  They currently have a static HTML website, but it needs some work.  The site itself is not responsive and does not allow the business to add their own products.  Once the re-design is complete, it will be fully responsive and use WooCommerce to display (but not sell) products on the site.  This will allow the business to easily add or update current inventory without having to rely on a developer or trying to dig into code.

Weekly Progress:  Last week I worked on optimizing all the product photos.

FIRE DEPARTMENT. It was a busy week for the department.

  • Monday: We had a 2-hour meeting on Monday to discuss final planning stages for our annual reverse raffle on Saturday, March 18 at 6:00 PM.
  • Tuesday: On the way home from work we received a mutual aid call for a chimney fire. Luckily there wasn’t too much damage and it took about 2 hours from the time I got to the station until I made it home.
  • Wednesday: I’m taking over as treasurer for the department and had a meeting with our current treasurer about our reverse raffle. He is going to be out of town and we had to make sure I was clear on how everything was to go.
  • Saturday:   Our reverse raffle – our big fundraising event for the entire year.  This took up a good portion of the day Saturday and lasted until around 10:15 PM.  I was a little nervous with our treasurer out of town, so I was running the bank (with the much-appreciated help of another longtime firefighter).  It actually went better than I was expected and I’m excited to do it again next year!

PHYSICAL TRAINING.  As much as I want to start working out, I knew it wasn’t going to happen last week.  Even if we didn’t have the prep work for the reverse raffle to finish up, it had snowed and was pretty cold.  The sit-ups and curl-ups…well, have I mentioned I don’t like those?  Next week I’ll start with them.  You can hold me to that!

  • Running:  0 miles
  • Curl-Ups:  0
  • Push-Ups:  0


  • Leadership Training:  I’m 70% complete with Leadership Fundamentals on Lynda.com.
  • Short-fused events.  Sometimes we have events that come up that we need to try and get volunteers for.
  • Supplies.  It’s often hard to get supplies when budgets are tight, especially in the Reserves.  I’ve been trying to figure out what it’ll take to get our unit the supplies we need to we can make sure are training is as realistic and effective as possible.

Bigger Results This Year with a Smaller Focus

Have you ever tried walking up a down escalator?  It may be fun, but it’s not very productive.  That’s what it’s been like for me lately.  I have so much stuff going on, but it doesn’t seem like I’m accomplishing as much as I want.

Family, volunteer fire department, Navy Reserve, homeowner, employee.  All these things take time.  And that doesn’t include anything WordPress-related.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining; I chose everything on that list.  My point is that it’s easy to spread yourself too thin.

There is never a day in my life that I am bored.  Coming up with ideas is the easy part.  I decided I would rather make more progress in fewer areas than a little progress in a lot of different areas.

10 Sites Down to 2

I had 10 domains for various projects I wanted to work on.  You come up with a neat idea and buy a new domain, only to have it sit there unused.  I did a lot of planning for a new family blog.  I bought a domain, had an idea for the logo, created a list of blog ideas, and started registering social media accounts under that name.  Then I realized all the time I was spending on it.  I scrapped the whole thing.

Sure, it’d be fun to have something like that, but think of how much extra work that would be.  I’d have another site, various social media accounts, and more email.  That’s exactly what I don’t need.  Instead, I’m going to cut the number of domains I have down to 2 (plus a third domain for testing).

  1. GeoffreyShilling.com.  Instead of having this simply be my online presence, I’m going to use it as my personal/family blog.  I want to start writing more and figured this was a great place to do it.  As of right now, I’m planning two weekly posts in addition to anything else I have; that stuff will be posted whenever it’s ready.
    • Weekly Update [Monday]:  This is basically going to be my weekly journal to track what I’ve accomplished the previous week and see where I’m spending my time.
    • One More Mug [Wednesday]:  I love everything coffee-related, especially my different coffee mugs.  This is where I’ll share a new coffee mug each week.  I’m going to start keeping track of when and where I get each one in the future and will add that in as well .  Despite my wife claiming I have plenty of mugs already, I only have enough to keep this feature going for a couple years right now.  #OneMoreMug
  2. WPAdventure.com.  I’m jumping in and learning all I can about WordPress.  I already know some, but I want to work towards a very deep understanding.  This site is  going to cover that journey.  Here’s where I’ll share the tips I discover as I learn development, the tools I use, and support-related topics.  Please note that I will not actually be providing support on this site.

My Goals for 2017

While my  daily list of items is great to keep me on track day-to-day, I think I  also need something longer term so I can have clear direction on where  this adventure is going.  For this reason, I set two primary goals for  the rest of this year:

  1. Improve the quality and consistency of support.
    This is tough because I never know what I be doing in a given day.  My goal is to provide at least 30-60 minutes of support each day, even if I have to break this into smaller time frames.  In addition to providing regular support, I want to reduce the number of replies.  It’s not that I don’t want to help people, but generally the few replies you have, the faster their problem was solved.  I’ve also been focusing on WordPress.com, but want to get back into WordPress.org forums as well.
  2. Build a solid foundation of WordPress.
    This may sound like a broad goal, and it is.
    This will include everything from reviewing CSS and HTML, learning PHP  beyond knowing how to hack files to them to behave how I want, and  building a strong understanding of the inner workings of WordPress.

I also have a couple secondary goals I would like to work on.

  1. Be More Social.
    I often hear people talk about how they spend too much time on social media and need to cut back a bit.  I’m the opposite; I want to start using it more.  I share some things on Twitter, but I don’t really interact all that much.  I’m a very quiet person.
  2. Start learning JavaScript.
    This likely won’t happen until next year.  I’m about as basic as you can get.  Sure, I can do basic things using a reference, but I can’t even print “Hello, World” to the screen using JavaScript without looking it up.  Once I feel I have a good [basic] understanding of PHP and WordPress, I intend to start learning JavaScript.

Here’s to a productive year!

Re-Launching GeoffreyShilling.com as a Personal Blog

As I mentioned in my last post, I’d thought about creating a separate family/personal blog and making this my landing page. That complicates things, but I want to keep things simple. Instead, I won’t worry about a landing page and will use GeoffreyShilling.com as my blog. Anything I have to write about WordPress will go over on WP Adventure.

Over the next few weeks, I’ll write another post explaining more about why I chose to do this and what you can expect to see here.

Introducing a New Focus and My WordPress Adventure

TL;DR:  GeoffreyShilling.com is shifting into the role of my general online presence.  I’m starting a new site called WP Adventure that’s focused on WordPress.


We still have over a week left in November, but I’ve already set my New Year’s resolution for 2017.  I’m going to become a WordPress developer.  A real one.  I’m also being impatient and not actually waiting until next year to get started.
This won’t be an easy adventure, and it’s going to take more than a year, but it’s going to be rewarding.  Time is going to be my biggest obstacle as I pursue this goal.  While this is important to me, my family always comes first.  That means I need to work this in without taking too much time away from them.  That might sound easy for some people.
Although life is pretty busy with a wife and two kids, here are some of the other places I also spend my time:
  • Full-time job
  • WordPress support volunteer
  • Volunteer firefighter
  • Leading Petty Officer (LPO) for my Navy Reserve unit
    • Responsible for the success of our enlisted sailors
    • Plan our unit’s training

I have no intention of giving up anything from the list above.

Many people live full lives and it’s tough to squeeze in that extra time.  With so much going on, it’s easy to keep putting things off.  I’m going to be sharing what works and doesn’t work for me.  I’m working on a new schedule to keep things organized and moving forward.


WPAdventure.com.  This is where I’m going to share my journey with all things WordPress.  WP Adventure is launching the same day as WordPress 4.7, currently scheduled for December 6, 2016.  A few things I’ll be sharing here and a few things about the site itself:
  • What I learn as I learn it, including great resources I come across.
  • Schedule/time-management that works best for me.
  • Code snippets.
  • Reviews of products and services.
  • Launching with the Twenty Seventeen theme.
  • Running the nightly builds using the WordPress Beta Tester plugin.


GeoffreyShilling.com.  Rebuilding this site as a hub for my projects.  From here, you’ll be able to see what else I’m working on around the Internet and beyond.


A family blog (I’m still deciding on a name).  I experimented with one of these several years ago, but this was before I understood, or even knew about, a lot of the WordPress best practices.  I modified a lot of the code in the parent theme so now there is no easy way to upgrade everything.  The site has been idle for quite a while, so I want to get it taken down.  It still receives some visitors to a handful of posts, so I will be forwarding those to the new site.  This family blog will feature:
  • Travel: While we don’t travel as much as we’d like, our family does love to go hiking and camping.
  • Cooking:  I love to cook and am always experimenting with new recipes.  I’m lucky that both of my kids enjoy helping me in the kitchen.
  • General household stuff:  Any tips or tricks that make running a household easier.
  • Other miscellaneous stuff:  I’m sure there will be other stuff that gets added as we go.