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Utitilizing my free time!

Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
I have got a bad habit and a good habit. The bad habit is I spend my time doing nothing at the office when I don't have work except for browsing a few forums and learning some new languages and technologies (I don't really drill down, I just glance at them and I don't feel like reading at the office). The good habit is I feel bad about this.

Even though I learn new stuffs at my office when I don't have work, I somewhere don't feel satisfied with my reading because I like to read at my home during night times before I go to bed. But ever since I got this inconsistently stupid broadband connection at my home, I lost the habit of reading at my home and I use it only to listen to songs and waste my time chatting with friends on Yahoo and Gmail. So now I am planning to disconnect the broadband connection at my home although I sometimes need it. I hope this will bring me back my reading habit.

But how do I spend my time doing useful stuffs at the office? I am unable to read in the crowd. I appreciate any suggestions or new ideas to spend time usefully.

Thanks,
Srikanth
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
John, Mark, Eric, EFH, DOM, Chetan, Rohit, Ankur, Map? Guys! Please suggest me something.

-- Srikanth
Mark Herschberg
Sheriff

Joined: Dec 04, 2000
Posts: 6037
If you have free time, why not get to know other members of the company and see what you can do to help them on their projects? Learning the industry can be a valuable skill and this helps to expand your network within your company.

--Mark
Betsy Camel
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 02, 2003
Posts: 119
Hi all,
most of us are facing the same problem and are in the same dilemma... like how to utilize the free time in office. just had a question, if this continues.. what will be the future of IT industry ?

can anyone share their ideas !...
Ramna Reddy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 06, 2006
Posts: 96
just had a question, if this continues.. what will be the future of IT industry ?


I too had the same doubt.
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Hmm.. it really depends. The first thing I feel is frustration. So I go to the next cubicle and beg for work I cant stay in the office without work for even an hour. It makes me restless. If I have an hour to kill I can always read one of the books lying on my desk if there is no work available. If I have say 2-3 hours to kill and I feel I cant contribute anywhere I simple leave office. No point hanging around when you cant get any work done or help some one. Helping can also become a problem if you do it too often. When you actually have a lot of work to be done people might bug you to get their job done first. Sometimes they cant understand the word "no" but i try my best

Of course there is java ranch. I spend around 15 minutes here before lunch begins.


SCJP 6 articles - SCJP 5/6 mock exams - More SCJP Mocks
Pradeep bhatt
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 27, 2002
Posts: 8919

I would suggest -Pick up some new technology and gave a presentation to your co-workers.


Groovy
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Originally posted by John Meyers:
If I have say 2-3 hours to kill and I feel I cant contribute anywhere I simple leave office. No point hanging around when you cant get any work done or help some one.


Not everyone can do that, this may raise a few eyebrows of your colleagues. And in some companies, you have to stay till it's time baby. What is your suggestion or what will you do in that case?

-- Srikanth
Rohit Nath
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 16, 2006
Posts: 387
Srikanth,
If possible try to invest this "spare" time by investing it in yourself. Try to do something that is going to add value to your life in the long run. It may not necessarily be something technical. It can be ANYTHING that you think is worth investing in.
Example:

1) If you think learning a foreign language is valuable to you try to read a paragraph of it everyday.

2) If you think getting certified can add value try using this spare time.

3) If you think you need to improve health try do use this time if you have sports facilities in your company. I had arranged (actually baught!) a TT table for our company and kept it in the company basement. Whenever I used to get some free time I would manage to find out a TT partner and have 2-3 games of TT. Helped as excellent stress buster and also helped improve health! Howz that!

4) If you are interested in writing then try writing something everyday. It would improve your written communication as well.

Bottom line is you can use this spare "IDLE" time to pursue anything that may help you in your professional and personal life. But try to be reasonable here.

Moral of the story being use this time to your advantage and try doing things for which you always say "I never get the time to do it!"

Simple rule is to do what you really like to do and that which is "doable" in that spare time. (Dont expect to start gymming in that spare time and come back all sweating and messed up )

Hope this helps in some way.

Thanks!
Cheers!

[ February 23, 2007: Message edited by: Rohit Nath ]

R.N
Dave Lenton
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 20, 2005
Posts: 1241
Originally posted by Srikanth Raghavan:
I have got a bad habit and a good habit. The bad habit is I spend my time doing nothing at the office when I don't have work except for browsing a few forums and learning some new languages and technologies (I don't really drill down, I just glance at them and I don't feel like reading at the office). The good habit is I feel bad about this.

You shouldn't feel too bad about it. Exposing yourself to new technologies, even if only on a superficial level, is a good thing. It will give you a better understanding about what is out there, and perhaps help a future decision on what to learn in greater detail. It may even help improve your ability to do a good job for the company you are working for, so you shouldn't feel guilty about wasting company time... as long as it really is "free" time when you don't have anything really important to do.

I use it only to listen to songs and waste my time chatting with friends on Yahoo and Gmail.
What's wrong with that? If I was to spend my entire life either working or studying for work reasons, I'd be pretty frustrated and lonely. There's more to life then work and learning, and socialising with friends is an important part of being happy. And of course happy people are often better workers anyway!

Some learning at home is a good thing (and very rewarding in itself), but I'd consider spending time with my friends as important if not more so. After all, we've only got so many years on the planet, and it would be a waste not to enjoy them. I guess that depends on if you work to live, or live to work.


There will be glitches in my transition from being a saloon bar sage to a world statesman. - Tony Banks
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Originally posted by Dave Lenton:
I use it only to listen to songs and waste my time chatting with friends on Yahoo and Gmail.

What's wrong with that?


Thanks Dave and thank you all for all the inputs.

The reason why I hate wasting time chatting with my friends is that, I always spend time with them on the weekends. And the chat messages will be like:

Me: Hi
My Friend: Hi
Me: What's up
My Friend: Nothing and what's up with you?
Me: Nothing either
My Friend: and what else?
Me: .....

It just goes on....

Now you see what I mean? It's OK as you said to chat with friends who are distant and to chat with friends once in a while, what I mean is addiction. I thankfully and consciously stayed away from Orkut but I waste a lot of time doing nothing on the internet. I only get 1 to 2 hours to spend at home everyday and I would like to read something useful at that time. Anyways I am NOT renewing my broadband connection this time around so hopefully I will get my reading habit back.

-- Srikanth.
[ February 23, 2007: Message edited by: Srikanth Raghavan ]
Chetan Parekh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2004
Posts: 3636
Well I faced the same issue in past and I came to conclusion that there is no single way / activities to kill/use your free time in office.

(1)Ask my management to give more interviews per day. When I have free time I take 2-4 interviews per day.
(2)Every organization has group who handle extra curricular activities, become active member of any groups and spend your free time.
(3)Decide how you want to be after 1/5/10 years and find out what skills apart from technical skills you will require to reach there and spend some of your free time to improve / get those skills. I feel I am poor at grammars so sometime I read online materials about it.
(4)Take long launch / tea breaks.
(5)It is not possible that you will spend entire free time to learn single new technologies. So generally I plan to learn any new technology over the period of 2 months.
(6)Have a talkative girl friend who can call you every half an hour.


My blood is tested +ve for Java.
Chetan Parekh
Ranch Hand

Joined: Sep 16, 2004
Posts: 3636
Originally posted by Srikanth Raghavan:



Me: Hi
My Friend: Hi
Me: What's up
My Friend: Nothing and what's up with you?
Me: Nothing either
My Friend: and what else?
Me: .....



Well you required different skills to become a friend and to become good IM chatter. So it obvious that chat session with all friends will not be long / interesting. Chat more with people whom you find good to chat with (or try to become good IM chatter so that other will like to chat more with you )
[ February 23, 2007: Message edited by: Chetan Parekh ]
Ragupathi Natarajan
Greenhorn

Joined: Dec 29, 2006
Posts: 4
Its all about attitude.I think everybody knows how to spend the free time usefully.But we need to follow to achieve it.

Its all in our mind.
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
I'm studying for my SCJP, lol.
megha joshi
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 20, 2007
Posts: 206
How do you get the privacy to study SCJP in your cubicle...
Dont your colleagues notice that?
Deepak Bala
Bartender

Joined: Feb 24, 2006
Posts: 6662
    
    5

Originally posted by meg jos:
How do you get the privacy to study SCJP in your cubicle...
Dont your colleagues notice that?


I didnt know that required privacy. I have around 4 - 5 books on my desk all the time so I can choose which one to read when I have free time. The others dont mind me reading and even if they did I wouldnt care
Jay Dilla
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 12, 2004
Posts: 201
How do you get the privacy to study SCJP in your cubicle...
Dont your colleagues notice that?


My boss knows I'm studying. They want me to get my cert.
Richard Parker
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jan 23, 2007
Posts: 70
Ha!

I go on JavaRanch during my free time!



"...it takes all the running you can do to keep in the same place. <br />If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!" <br />~ Through the Looking-Glass
william gates
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 21, 2007
Posts: 112
Learn new things like you are doing... But don't burn yourself out either... If all you do is study, learn new things, and work, but in a few years it really hasn't improved your life all that much, it'll become more frustrating then good.

As far as asking for more work? It's not always a good idea in certain companies because if you do this often enough, eventually it gets back to upper management that you never have any work to do and suddenly, they no longer need you. Or only need you some of the time, which usually means they can outsource what you do or hire a contracter or consultant.

I've been on both fences..

I worked for a company that started to bring in contracters because of too much time in between projects. So management decided that they didn't need programmers, developers, or engineers anymore.. They kept 3-4 people of a 50 person IT depertment and decided if there were work, they'd bring in contractors.

And ever since then, about 6 years, I've been on the other side of the fence.. I've been the consultant, the contractor working on tons of projects where the exact same thing happened.. Tons of layoffs over the years, and when work did come up, that company brought in me and various other contracters... Some companies just outsource things.

So while asking for more work might seem like a great idea, you better make sure you know what kind of company you are working for because if you ask one too many times, soon you'll be looking for a new job or stuck on a job that you hate because everybody was laid off.

Study, learn, but enjoy yourself. If you don't enjoy learning something, you probably won't remember it in the long term anyway.... Yeah not everything is fun or a picnic, but if you try to make it at least somewhat enjoyable, you'll be better off in the long run.
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Thanks William!

You made think a lot and the next time I want to go to my manager to say, "I am free", I will think twice and I'll put it in the right sense or I will just keep quiet if that is the right thing to do.
Ramna Reddy
Ranch Hand

Joined: Aug 06, 2006
Posts: 96
In my free time,I always lookout for posts of Chetan,Srikanth,John,Map,Fred ............
Srikanth Raghavan
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 31, 2005
Posts: 389
Originally posted by Ramna Reddy:
In my free time,I always lookout for posts of Chetan,Srikanth,John,Map,Fred ............


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