If..Else Log

Time and lack of

Je n'ai pas le temps

Mathematics is littered with tragic stories and the story of Evariste Galois, a precocious talent, is a poignant one. Whilst still in his teens, Galois was able to develop Group theory, laying fundamental foundations for a branch of mathematics known as Galois theory, and fashion a framework for solving the riddle of Quintics. However, it is his death at the tender age of 20 for which he is probably most famous for outside of Mathematics.

Whilst (now recognised as) an undisputed genius, he found himself rejected and falling into dangerous situations, partly as a result of bad luck and partly due to his own character and choices. He eventually found himself involved in a duel with one of the finest shots in France over a woman.

The night before the fateful duel, aware of the impending doom, he spent the whole night penning his thoughts and discoveries to paper. Desperate and fearful that this knowledge may be lost forever, he frantically dashed out his mathematical research so that he could send them on.

What I find particularly memorable however, besides the wealth and treasure trove of knowledge contained within the manuscripts, are his frantic scribblings, sheer exclamations of dispair, which feature alongside his work. In particular, there is the gut-wrenching line “Je n’ai pas le temps”.

“I have not enough time”.

I have not enough time

It is recent events at work which have been responsible for bringing this story to mindDon’t worry. I generally don’t talk about the day job and I’m not really going to break that habit today:). In the last week, I finally left a project which I’d been working on, in various roles, for the last 2 years. Whilst I’d had more time to work with than Galois (and obviously, the work is nothing near the level of his work), there is still a sense that you can always do a little bit more. You feel that there should be something more that you need to handover, some more code to check in, and some more notes to jot down.

The problem is, of course, you’re not really sure of what is necessary until the need crops up. So the best you can do is try to plan for what you expect may crop up and what you foresee may be needed.

Cobwebs on cobwebs

The other side-effect of being busy (both at work and on other little side-diversions) is that updates to this site have been sporadic. But that’s how it’s always been. It’s not because of a lack of things to write about. I’ve got a whole directory full of text files with half-finished drafts and rarely does a day goes by when I don’t feel that I can (or want to) post. Even my shorts section, which show a bit more activity, could see more frequent posts but it all comes down to that same line again. “Je n’ai pas le temps”.

In the short term, things will probably be hectic with the end of the year, new project work and general catching up. Hopefully though, there’ll be a bit more movement on this site. I work on this site because I enjoy doing so; I don’t pump out posts because of obligation, financial gain or for the (frankly ridiculous) need to post for the sheer sake of doing so. But as with many things, that’s a double edged sword.

And an apology

I’m not going to apologise for the lack of updates as I’ve explained this sites raison d’etre. But I will apologise for the few people who have emailed me recently. Though I may not respond immediately, I always check my mails. I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can but feel free to email me again just in case:)Immediately after I posted this, I got a “marketing email”. So in the interest of clarity, I’ll just say that you’re free to email me as long as it’s not to send me spam:)


8 Responses to “Time and lack of”

  1. Gravatar Koray

    What an excellent post. I happen to have far too much time on my hands, but I never know what to do with it.

    As far as the scarcity of your posts, I think the rate at which you publish is fine. Especially when you write so well and obviously thought out. The shorts section is a staple for me, and frankly I am amazed at how frequent you update it.

    And not to be pretentious, but was the paragraph towards the end there a nod at that post of mine a while back? ;)

  2. Gravatar Phu

    There is a bit of a nod to that post of yours and it’ll certainly be a topic that I’ll return to at a later stage. BTW, thanks for the kind words Koray:)

  3. Gravatar Nikhil

    I love your site, Phu, and I visit it everyday, if not for the great posts and shorts, then for the great discussion that takes place, though I don’t participate. The post you made made me realize how much I take the time I have for granted. I have so much time (like Koray), but then it goes in a flash. I guess the above is a lesson to us all to take advantage of the time we have and to live life to the fullest.

    Carpe Diem!

  4. Gravatar fdofdo

    A mon avis la question qui pose la dernière nuit d’Evariste Gallois est celle du caractère personnel du temps: un temps pour chacun, à chacun son temps. Comment, alors, organiser une société avec autant de temporalités différentes ou même, comment organiser un couple, une famille, un groupe avec autant de temporalités distinctes où les notions d’urgence, de patience, de landemain diffèrent?

  5. Gravatar kary

    Its tuff walking away from a job your worked so long on, but it frees up time for other great adventures. Good luck on what ever it is your doing with your time now, which is what?

  6. Gravatar John

    Sadly nobody seems to have time. A great trick is to apply the 80/20 rule and to sort out the stupid, non-effective things. spares time.

  7. Gravatar Khushal

    Time is probably the only thing that every human in this century will dream to have, offcourse everyone makes a new year resolution (i am sure) yet they need to have time management in it. It never gets you alot of spare time, but it does surely gets you some spare time that you can utilize!

  8. Gravatar Khushal

    and i just realized how much time-managment i din took care of while commenting, its a 2 year old post:( Sorry Phu i was lame!