четверг, 2 апреля 2015 г.

What happened this day in your own life?

Tridi, Morille (Round Morel), Germinal

As I have promised, once a decade (just a reminder: note that by saying "decade" I mean ten days but not ten years) I write about... just about something that, I hope, will interest you and will put some thought into your mind.

But before that I would like to thank two of you who read the previous text very attentively and after that pointed some of my mistakes out to me providing their messages with detailed explanations of what I said not in good English and examples of how to express the same idea better. To both of you: please, continue in the same way if it is not boring! To all of the others: feel free to join in! Of course, that refers to commenting the content of the post as well.

Well, it is time to switch to the main subject.

For about a year ago I read a book full of various ideas. Some of them seem absolutely intuitive (after you have already encountered them), though one should not forget that it is a common situation for a lot of really valuable concepts.

The book I am talking about is "Time-Drive" written by Gleb Arkhangelsky. One may recall that is is not the first time I mention it. And I think, not the last time. That book for me is among those bundles of ideas which cannot be thumbed through once and forgotten immediately after that.

And the idea to which I devote that post is about how to determine the most important fields of activity for yourself (believe me, there is nothing strange when you cannot simply answer that question for sure if you are limited to the number of subitems you give). The plan offered by Arkhangelsky is pretty simple: just write down the most valuable event for you each day and also mark off to which field of activity it refers. Each week choose "the event of the week". Once a month pick out "the event of the month". The representation of each sphere of activity will hint you at the desired conclusion.

From the previous spring I have tried to follow the suggested method. I should admit that some days I forgot about new routine duty to write down the "event of the day", but that fact does not matter much because the statistics cover more than 90% of the considered period (and even knowledge of a person who gave up a course in statistics not long ago is enough to understand that I have quite good data sample). Yesterday I summarized my notes and obtained the following distribution:
  1. Programming (excl. hometasks in CSC and in the university) - 20%
  2. Emotions - 12.3%
  3. Chess - 10.8%
  4. Time Management - 10.5%
  5. CSC - 9.8%
  6. French - 8%
  7. Day regimen + Physical Activity - 7.1%
  8. University (excl. English) - 6.8%
  9. English - 4%
  10. Bioinformatics - 3.7%
All of the other fields of activities haven't overpassed 3% barrier and thus were not elected into Duma included into that list.

I suppose that the above data needs some clarifications. To make things clear I should explain that

  • "Programming" includes various competitions, work for Codefights and some other things like Kivy App contest or working upon the implementation of my own ideas.
  • "Emotions" are those events which cannot be referred to any of the other categories but nevertheless were imprinted on my mind more than any other activity that day. These are meetings with my dearest friends whom I don't see often; no matter positive or negative but very important news; some completely new experience, etc. Of course, that doesn't imply that chess, competetive programming, studying languages or something else is devoid of emotions for me if it doesn't fit for that category.
  • "Time Management" consists of well-timed sheduling, dealing with any possible issues beforehand, as well as of addition of some planning techniques to the daily routine.

And here are the conclusions which I can make basing on my year-long experience:

  • The idea proved itself to be very cool! It doesn't take much time but it helps to recall easily "how it was". Just yesterday while reviewing my year-long notes I felt that it was a great year, that I had time to do many different things (and I haven't encoutered any remindings of unachieved goals which is essential if you seek for a source of inspiration but not of distress. The fact that actually there were a lot of unachieved goals does not matter in that case). 
  • It's worth to determine the "event of the day" not before going to bed that specific day and even not the next morning but to wait for a week or so. That will help your mind to filter the tremendous flow of impressions and will leave only the most essential ones. Thus your choice will be more fair than the decision made out of hand. Here more general fact is deserving mention: from time to time let your mind to perform its work out of your control for some time, i.e. just give your mind some knowledge not just before it needs to be applied but in advance. Afterwards, you will perform better than if you don't allow your mind to "digest the food". Actually, you will profit from the most essential part of obtained knowledge but won't be perplexed by tons of unstructured information.   
  • I tried to mark out "events of the week" and "events of the month" but couldn't find out how to make these characteristics meaningful.
  • Maybe, the division of activities into fields should have been better. For instance, it's worh consideration to separate studies using the criterion "what" instead of "where", i.e. to join programming in CSC and in the university but to separate maths in the university from programming in the same place. 
  • Maybe, I shouldn't have allowed myself to include emotions into the list. Now I suppose that I've come up with a better solution. The new concept is to maintain two lists: activity of the day and impression of the day. The first one will answer what is the most important for me or to which field I should turn to because I don't give it enough attention while I am sure that I should do so. The second list will be a shortened version of a personal diary. Here I should stop as I don't want to deepen into the reasoning why it's important to keep your own diary. I just think so.
  • I should repeat the same thing as a year ago: I definitely need some stunning activity somehow connected with English! There were some during the year but they were not enough. Low ranking of that field is caused not by doing almost nothing (it is simply otherwise) but by doing almost nothing exciting. I am sure that efficient language studies should be connected with impressions. That will add some extra ties in your mind which will help you to memorize words, expressions and useful patterns. One should understand that when I have to look for the suitable word in the dictionary again and again while writing that post, although I'm completely sure that I know what it is and just cannot remember it, I don't get the impressions which I want to be accompanied on my way of perfecting.

By the way, this time I looked into the dictionary 19 times to make sure that I'm right and 35 times in the cases when I couldn't come up with the appropriate word. For the whole post I spent 4h15. And the post itself is definitely smaller than the previous one, which is the only good detail. So, no visible progress with writing for now but, of course, one cannot expect it so soon (and cannot expect to notice visible progress at all). For now it means that I should keep practicing only. 

4 комментария:

  1. This comment is about English.

    > For about a year ago I read a book full of various ideas
    It's not clear for me what do you mean here. I guess it's either of these:
    1. About a year ago I have read a book which is full of various ideas. That is: you have done it in the past, it happened approximately year ago.
    2. I have been reading a book for about a year now, it's full of various ideas.

    > And I think, not the last time
    I think you need a verb here: "And I think it's not the last time either".

    > Each week choose
    Weeks cannot choose anything :)
    I'd suggest "Each week you choose ..."
    May be there is a good way to express that in English without annoying repeating of 'you' in each sentence.
    I think there should be.

    > From the previous spring I have tried to follow the suggested method.
    Since. Not 'from'. Link

    > Day regimen
    Such a fancy word (link).
    But I think it is not used in conjunction with 'day' (at least, I was unable to find such expression).
    You can either stick to 'regimen' (one word) or 'dayily routine' or 'daily schedule'. Whatever you like more.

    > It's worth to determine
    I have heard "It's worth to note that blah-blah", but I have never heard "It's worth to swim".
    I would say "Swimming worth it" or "It's a good idea to swim".

    > The first one
    > The second list
    I like 'the former is ..., the latter is ...'

    1. Once again many thanks for such a detailed comment concerning my English!

      As usual, I'd like to reply to some of the points.

      1) My original idea matches first of your suggestions. I often doubt about what tence to choose if an alternative consists of Present Perfect and Past Simple. Things become even worse if you take into consideration that in French there is another principle of choosing between Perfect and Imperfect when talking about an action in the past (so the same problems arise for me in French as well). Returning to that single sentence, please explain why it doesn't correspond to the case "Completed Action in the Past" (which is the one where Indefinite tence should be used)?

      3) Although I agree that there should be better ways to express my idea, I think there is neither ambiguity nor mistake here. If a "week" is the subject of the sentence, I would use "Each week chooses", so it is not the case here. And the construction I wished to express by saying like I did is just imperative. Isn't the sentence grammatically correct in such context?

      5) Oh, I didn't manage to avoid word-by-word translation once again (last time from French, this time from Russian).

  2. This comment is about writing.

    It's natural for me that you want to spent less time on writing, so I suggest to improve your efficiency by throwing out most of details and getting into the matter quickly.

    Some examples:
    > I write about... just about something
    No, please, use 'I write something' or don't use this at all. When you write, it's always about something.

    >I hope, will interest you and will put some thought into your mind.
    To me, this phrase (or the whole paragraph) doesn't deserve to stay in the beginning - it's better to end with it, like 'I hope this was interesting for you, and I'll write the next post in 10 days. Stay tuned.'

    >That book for me is among those bundles of ideas
    If you're writing the post about one idea - to write down 'event of the day' (am I right?), please, turn to it immediately in the beginning. Instead, you repeat the magical phrase 'full of ideas' - sounds useless until you prove these words.

    >here are the conclusions which I can make basing on my year-long experience
    Here I would like to stop reading and ask 'what year-long experience' you meant, then go back for two paragraphs, then find out 'From the previous spring' and say 'ah, I got it' - but I admit that nor I neither you have time to go through all the details and references. Please, write 'here are my conclusions' and save our time.

    >with a better solution. The new concept is to maintain
    You substitute 'solution' with 'concept', and this connection between sentences doesn't seem natural to me. I'd like to write 'with a better solution. Now I maintain...'

    > I should stop
    >I should repeat
    No one is judging or controlling you, so 'I stop' and 'I repeat' sounds better to me.

    >One should understand that
    I doubt if 'One' is a good addressing to your readers. 'Please note that' is much shorter.

    >you will profit
    >your choice will be more fair
    If you like to give more emotions to your readers, put them in the context of 'here and now'. 'Will' is redundant.

    >Here more general fact is deserving mention
    I see that you like introducing. Is it really needed? Let your readers decide by themselves, if this fact does deserve mention or not - give the fact only.

    I hope to economy your time by this advice, though I feel sorry for criticism.
    If you like it, you might want to consult William Zinsser's book 'On Writing Well' before the next posts.

    Anyway, I'm glad to write here and train my English. Thank you for the place :)

    1. Waiting for somebody's "This comment is about the content of the post" ;)

      It's a bit surprising for me, but being only partly agree with you while discussing choice of vocabulary, grammar structures, etc. used in my last posts in Russian, here, replying to quite similar comment, I should say that I completely share your point of view :)

      Maybe this is because I believe that my Russian-language posts admit such heavy sentences due to the vocabulary used there, which is rich enough, I hope. But here poor vocabulary make such constructions almost inadmissible, and I need something to make the sentences looking more graceful.

      So, thank you very much for your recommendations, I will try to follow them in the next posts. Also thanks for the mentioning of the book, I definitely will look into it.

      And no need for apologies! Writing these posts in foreign language on equivocal subjects I definitely seek not for admiration but for criticism! What else can be better assistance in improving than reasoned remarks like yours? I will be glad to see your opinion here again and again. I guarantee you will have the place for it regularly ;)