Monday, June 02, 2008

How to avoid time-wasting with computers

Does it happen to you to sit in front of the computer without knowing what particularly you are intending to do and spoil your time for hours without doing something special?
Whether you are a computer geek or a user who just use the computer for work or leisure for a limited time, it’s a matter of fact that this damned invention of human has an unlimited potential of temptation in a way that it amuse you for long times and you don’t feel how the time passes. I used the word “damned invention” because it can be as destructive as it can be useful – like TV that raises couch potatoes (!), computers raise Mouse Potatoes.

The amount of time people waste along with computers every day, vary from less than an hour to all their available time. Maybe you could measure these times using the technique that I’m going to show you now as well as you defeating them. But before that, let’s have a look at the booster factors of time wasting with computers to have a better understanding on how computers waste your time.
The first thing that considers important is the difference between when you are online and offline. Your computer when it’s offline always have a limited factors of time wasting or at least you think that it doesn’t have something new; this is important because all of us tend to look for something new to fulfill ourselves when we feel tired or not enough busy. There may be some computer games, a bunch of unread articles you’ve saved, some movies and video clips and pieces of your favorite music along with some computer programs you like or want to test on your local computer; usually there aren’t much more than these stuff to spend time with but on the contrary when you are online there is a vast opportunity of time wasting. Thousand of websites to surf, Instant messaging programs (IM’s), emails, social networks and let’s say that the opened Google’s homepage would be enough to start a whole day gazing at the computer screen.
As you noticed there is a significant difference between an online computer with an offline one regarding to potential of time wasting. So as an important matter, if this is your case please really consider limiting your online activities. If you really do not need your internet connection at times, so disable your connection or at least you can disable the online programs that may take your time. Close your mail client if you are not waiting for an important email and alternatively close the IM, VOIP programs when you are not using them and avoid staying online unless you have a reason to do that.
The technique I’m going to show you now is really simple but so efficient. It’s just a simple rule that you need to bear in mind whenever you go toward a computer: “write up the exact time of when you start using the computer doing something unimportant on a place that you see it.”
That’s it, no need to pain, obligations and promises to manage your time. Just use this rule and you will be astonished on how efficient this simple rule could be to minimize time wasting with the computers. I use the border of front side of my monitor to write up the starting time of an unimportant activity because I found there the best place where catch sight while working with the computer. I use a whiteboard marker so that it can be easily cleaned or replaced with another time mark. I recommend using different large shapes and styles each time you write the time in order to prevent the time mark become something ordinary that you do not notice.
After you wrote the starting time, whenever you notice the time mark, you will then involuntarily look at your clock and ask yourself “how much time am I spending on this activity?” and then you surely quit the activity after a few times you observed the time mark. This is exactly like to hire someone that always pops up on you whenever you do something unimportant and tells you “How much time are spending on this? You have more important things to do”.
Just test it and see how efficient it can be on time saving, there is no cost and you only need to let it always remind you how much time you are spending on certain activities. After you’re quitted that activity you may calculate how much time did it take to cope that activity and for your personal records you may write it on a piece of paper or better enter it in a program like Excel which lets you make diagrams of your improvement over days.
Before applying this technique I used to spend more than 3 hours every day just reviewing my “Google Reader” page. I call applications like “Google Reader” seductive dangerous spots because they are the collection and center of someone’s favorite stuff from around the net and they always have something new to spend time with. But how seductive these spots are, this technique is enough powerful for me to close “Google Reader” window whenever it tells me “Come on, How much time are you spending on this?”

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The Folk Story: "Shangool & Mangool"

The story called “Shangool, Mangool and Habbe-ye angoor” is a popular folk story told to the children in Iran. It’s the story of a wolf that wants to enter to the home of a goat, which has three lambs, Shangool, Mangool and Habbe-ye angoor. The lambs are so delicious to the wolf, and once he tries to cheat the lambs to open the door while the absence of their mother. He knocks on their door and while imitating their mothers voice, he says, open the door, I’m your mother. He even makes his skin white, and show it from behind the door to cheat them.
The story is so popular in Iran and almost all the people have heard it once in their childhood. Many of today’s parents still keep telling this story to their children and because of the nature of folk stories there are many versions of it with minor or sometimes major changes in it. But all of them explain the one story, “Shangoul o Mangoulo o habeAngour”.


Looks like stupid lambs - you know, children today are different from us when we were child -- because of todays mass media, TV, Internet, children's magazine, they now so much about everything, maybe when they hear this story, they would say: "What stupid lambs, I would call police if I was in their shoes"!!!

Image is originally taken from a cartoon, exposed in a police exhibition in Iran.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Am I Little Joe? (Revision 2)

With special thanks to Wes who helped me edit this story.
This is the revision 2 of the story, with the kind helps of Wes, I’ve corrected more than 25 language usage mistakes appeared in first edition so far and the story is now greatly improved; But I’m sure that it’s still different from one if a native English speaker wanted to write this story instead of me. I’d really love to see how it would be…
Thanks again Wes.

Joe was so tired, he just came back from the magazine office after several hours of hard work. It was the fifth day that he was coming back home like this; so tired, without smiling at his wife like he usually did. That’s why his wife popped in on him and asked “What’s wrong with you Joe? It's been days since you've been your normal self”. Joe said: “Everything is OK honey, don’t be worried about that, everything will be good as it used to be soon.”
They were living in Pandora, a very beautiful town in northern Canbera. The town had very beautiful natural scenes and panoramas. Joe was brought up in a big house in the suburb beside a lake that was adjacent to a forest. When he was a child he always had a habit of going to the lake, every afternoon, usually with his bicycle, holding his diary notebook and sitting there and writing a diary. He always wanted to become a big writer and author of the most fascinating books in the world and that was why he was always starting his diary with the words “Joe is sitting beside the lake and is writing another diary.” With the feeling of a big, famous Joe that is writing.
Several days passed and Joe was still coming home sad. One day he came back soon and went to the room slapping the door back without noticing his wife. After a few minutes he went out, looking happy with a sports cloth, like the days when he was a child. He went to his wife and said loudly: “We are so prosperous. We can travel all over the world visiting fabulous spots of the world, go on safaris and explore… because I don’t have a job anymore.” and went out with his bicycle.
His wife knew where he was going, because he still had the habit of going to his childhood spot beside the lake whenever he was sad and sometimes he even liked to write the articles for the magazine there. So she changed clothes and got on her bicycle drove to the lake. She noticed him from the back sitting at his place and thinking. She parked her bike next to his and sat close to him and asked: “Honey, are you thinking about the office?” He said nothing and they were quiet for several minutes. She tried again to open a conversation and said: “don’t worry, you can find another job, maybe you find the job that you always had dreamed of soon.” Joe said: “Yes, I’m so hopeful. Now that I think about it, the loss of my job was a gift to me. They never honored me, understood my abilities. I’m now happy that I don’t spend my time there anymore. I think it’s the time to start writing the story that I always wanted to write, the story that the little Joe wished to write, the story that the busy Joe never had time to put on it. Yes, this is where Joe always starts. I’m sure that my story will begin to sell Millions of copies worldwide as soon as I publish it. Big Joe is sitting beside the lake and …”
Joe is now finished his story and he is going to make a contract with a well-known publisher. He said to the publication manager to keep his first royalty payment check because he wants to buy their publication for 20% more than it’s worth. Will he successful? Can he sell millions of copies and reach his goals?