Jan 23

12 Healthy Things To Do While Waiting for Your Big Data Results

Asleep at the computer, photo credit: twaize

Asleep at the computer, photo credit: twaize

Big Data can mean big wait times.  What do you do while waiting for your database or Hadoop query to finish processing?  Here are some ideas of how you can use the time for to take care of your physical, mental, and social health with the one to fifteen minutes of wait time before your analytics query completes.  These ideas can also be used in the few minutes that you have waiting for your Java program to compile or your R script to finish crunching the numbers or your source code to be committed.

  1. Stand up and stretch.
  2. Drink water.
  3. Close your eyes and think of 5 things you are thankful for.
  4. Close your eyes and visualize making progress on this year’s New Year’s Resolutions.
  5. Give your loved ones a hug.  Spouse, children, pets, or any other significant others nearby.
  6. Learn a new foreign language.  Keep vocabulary index cards handy on your desk.  Practice Morse code instead, if that’s what excites you more.
  7. Practice tying knots, like the Boy Scouts, whose motto is “Be Prepared.”  You never know when you’ll need to tie a bowline in an emergency.
  8. Get a few minutes on the exercise bicycle.  Or use jump rope if you have the space.
  9. Use the restroom.  Freshen up.
  10. Snack on a fruit or celery stick.
  11. Look at something far away, such as out the window, instead of staring at the screen straining your eyes.
  12. Pray and meditate. It doesn’t hurt to pray that your query will finish soon without errors.

Whatever you do to fill the time, fight the temptation to check email or surf the web while waiting for your big data process to finish running.  While it may seem like you are productive catching up with your messages in email or social media, multitasking will be a big distraction and may prevent you from effectively doing your main task well.  You want to save your brainpower for the actual programming or analysis work, since they often are needed to solve thorny problems or puzzles.

What other things do you do to fill the time while waiting for the computer process to finish?

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