Engineering Free Time

Engineering Free Time

What do you do in your free time when not designing that next big thing? Or are you a 24/7 geek and engineer? Do you have a way out to relax? This week I’ll tell you what I like doing; the things that sharpen the axe.

Finding a way to relax is one thing but switching off from engineering is another. The phrase ‘sharpening the axe’ refers to taking time out. The story goes that two wood cutters worked hard each day felling wood but one generated more than the other. He would stop and take time each day to sharpen his axe. The other saw this as wasting time and worked through — with a blunt axe.

During the working day I find the best way is to pop off and make some tea, or walk down to reception and goods in to see if there are any parcels. We also have a nice canteen which has a good view which you can go and ponder. However these are short breaks. For lunch, when weather is good, I go for a 30-min walk around the estate but it’s when you get out of work that you can really explore other things.

I ride a motorbike to work everyday and I find this enjoyable. You can’t be a passenger and just relax. You have to think about what you’re doing and watch others. You can’t think about either work or home life so it’s 40 minutes of switching off from the world and being nothing more than a motorcyclist.

At home like I am now when writing this weeks blog, I tend to start watching my twitter time line. This draws me back into engineering — reading and watching stuff. So to switch off I have two hobbies I like to help me get away from the real world. It’s not that I want to get away from engineering; just sometimes I need stuff that will not need me to think.

Movies are my first choice – I love watching films of just about any type. I like anything from Jackie Brown to Kill Bill, from Bourne to Lord of the Rings, Star Trek to You Got Mail. Films are a way or being part of a different world and following the story of someone else. To that I also enjoy TV programs like The Big Bang Theory, House and the Fringe.

My other escape is computer games. Give me hours of Call Of Duty, or Far Cry any time. I have also found a online game called Battle Star Galactica that gives you hours of just shooting the whatever out of other space ships. However I also enjoy Tennis on the Wii and Sonic Racing. But for the times when I’m sitting out the rain or in a waiting room, then out comes my iTouch and I play Angry Birds.

So there you go, when I’m not tweeting and blogging and want a time-out I’m off doing something else to relax. So this leads to me asking you – what do you do?


*whining alert*
I completely agree about the importance of non-work time. But as someone who has young kids, I find that all the non-work time is easily consumed by childcare and other family duties (e.g. cooking and cleaning). Most of them are enjoyable, but some are quite draining (dishes, laundry). I personally have virtually zero time for hobbies; the time I do have I like to blog-surf, watch movies or TV shows, or honestly just catch up on sleep.

Engineers have free time???

Could have fooled me. 😀 Although you are correct for the little breaks. I find when I’ve been down in the circuit or buried in the code, I have to take a few minutes to walk out to the production floor to have some thinking space. On the weekends, I will sometimes continue on S/W if I’ve spent all week on H/W. When I do catch a lull in the schedule, and I’m not doing projects with my boys, I get a chance to walk out to my garage, and throw some tools at high speed spinning wood. 🙂 Usually I’ll try working on a bowl or pens for people that I think might appreciate them. During the fall I’ll turn back to working on the house project, of replacing all the front railings with hand turned spindles. Far enough away from electronics, but still well into working with my hands and mind. 🙂

I like to take time-outs relaxing with my children, it’s the only thing that can 100% switch my mind off pins RB7, VCC, the code here, the wire there. Holly spaghetti.. Anyways sorry bout that. And also some TV here and there except I never finish watching any show. I think I watched episode 10 of The Big Bang Theory and then jumped to like episode 24. hehehe. My wife hates it. Also I like to take up whole weekends every once in a while and going on a road-trip with my family.

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