Effective time management tips

Time management has become absolute necessity in todays world. Its well know now that we are probably busier than we ever have been. We have started using lot of time saving devices from vacuum cleaners to microwave ovens to computers. But what technology gives also takes away.  As we have increased the numbers of time saving devices and products to make our lives easier we have found ways to fill the time.

And a chronic lack of time leads to stress.

There are ways to mange your times effectively. Some of the time management tips to manage time effectively are listed below.

Make a time diary

This is very simple. Note down time spent each day in a week. Be honest and note each any every time. If you are watching 10 hours TV in a week mention it. Try to detail out each activity of the day like gym time, driving/commuting time, eating time, meeting time etc. Most of the time you will find out where you are spending more time. Next action will be strike off those activities where you should stop spending time. For example you may be spending 2-3 hours daily chatting with others.

Learn to say “NO”

When someone asks you to do something that you really don’t have time to do, say so, politely, but firmly. And don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. One reason we are feeling so busy all the time is that we are worse at setting personal boundaries around what we’ll say ‘no’ to. You should focus on your goals. Your time diary can help in this regard. Once you’ve blocked time for important, but often not scheduled activities, sign on for only those things that are important, family, friends and health. Once you know exactly what you have time to do, turning down things that don’t fit into your priorities is easier.

Time based to-do list

Create a to-do list that includes how much time you will spend on each item on the list. Lists are very helpful and helps prioritize on how you should go about the tasks. When you prioritize tasks you naturally focus on those that you can do immediately.


We all combine several activities into one all the time. Some multitasking is dangerous. Talk on the phone while driving and your chances of being involved in traffic accident is high. But there are lots of activities that can be effectively combined Listen to books while commuting, paying bills when watching television.

Don not be a perfectionist

There is nothing wrong with being ordinary. Perfectionism, otherwise known as paying excessive attention to every detail, important or not, is a kind of procrastination. Set rational goals for yourself. It is a fine thing to strive to be your best. It is  counter productive to try to be the very best. Setting unattainable expectations of yourself just adds stress to your life.

Reward yourself

Finally do not let any progress however small go unrewarded.

In nutshell  – Use your time diary to make decisions about how you want to organize your time better. As you make progress in prioritizing and saying ‘no,’ let yourself enjoy that. It does not have to be a big reward, maybe it can be as simple as spending some time by yourself or getting a massage. It is important to acknowledge and enjoy your success.


Microphone pre amplifier using LM358

Pre amplifier using LM358

microphone pre amplifier using LM358


  1. LM358
  2. R1 – 10k
  3. R2 – 47k
  4. R3 – 10k
  5. R4 – 10k
  6. 1M POT
  7. C1 -4.7 μf
  8. C2 – 10 μf

This is a simple mic pre amplifier using LM358. The circuit is self explanatory and is based on LM358 op-amp.

The main function of a pre amplifier is to amplify small and weak signals. The pre amplifier amplifies signal with very high gain but does not have the drive current or current gain to drive the output. hence the boasted signal from pre amplifier is given to power amplifier where the current is amplified. You can connect to amplifier using LM386 described in my previous post or any other amplifier that you have.


Simple 2 minute Timer Circuit for your DIY

In this post, a simple timer circuit switch for light is designed that will turn on a high power LED for a particular duration.

Timer is a switch that is operated by a timer system. The switch is turned on or off by the timer only after the preset time. One of the best examples of a timer switch is the sleep mode in televisions and computers. If no key is pressed for a particular duration, the television or computer will automatically go to sleep mode where the device enters a low power consumption mode or may even be switched off.

Circuit Idea

timer circuit

Components Required

  1. T1 – BC337
  2. T2 – BC547
  3. D1 – 1N4007
  4. LED
  5. R1-270 Ω
  6. R2 -12 k
  7. R3 -10k
  8. R4 -220Ω
  9. R5 -1k
  10. VR1 -100k pot
  11. C1 -1000 μf
  12. Push switch

Circuit Design

It’s a transistor based electronic timer. The design of the timer switch is very simple. A push switch  triggers the light. The timer is based on the charging and discharging of the capacitor in the RC network. The circuit is very simple and self-explanatory.

How it works

When the switch is closed, the transistor BC547 is turned on. The 1000µF capacitor will charge at the same time through 220Ω resistor.

As BC547 is turned on and its emitter is connected to the base of BC337 through 12K resistor, it will trigger BC337 and it starts conducting.

As the LED is connected to collector of BC337, it is turned on. R1 acts as the current limiting resistor for the LED. When the switch is opened or button is released, BC547 will stay turned on due to the charge from the capacitor. The time of discharge of capacitor through 10KΩ resistor and 100KΩ POT can be set by adjusting the variable resistor.

A 1KΩ resistor acts as a protection resistor when the resistance of variable resistor is completely reduced.

The timer switch in this project will keep the LED turned on for a maximum of approximately 2 minutes.

Testers – what value add we provide?

As a tester what value add we provide? To answer this we need to answer few questions like
What is a business value of testing?
What is cost of quality?

Running tests by itself has no value add. Testing has value when it connects with some other goals or objective of the organization.
Some of the goals are listed below:

  1. Finding must-fix defects before release. This will reduce long term defect related cost.
  2. Finding less critical defects which have workaround. These workaround can be documented and reduce tech support and helpdesk cost.
  3. Reduce risk by running tests and giving confidence to delivery manager in releasing it to customer. This will give an assurance that the software will also pass the test on customer environments and probability of failure is less.

To measure the quantitative value add and efficiency of testing we need to look into Cost of Quality.

Cost of quality can be understood as cost of poor quality. Cost of quality shows that cost of poor quality is more and that good quality saves money. Cost of quality can be classified as

  1. Cost of prevention – Cost incurred to prevent bugs from happening. Example: training to development team.
  2. Cost of detection – Expense incurred in finding bugs and would include even if we do not find bugs. Examples: Test planning, design and execution etc.
  3. Cost of internal defects/failures – Expense incurred in re-work / bug fixing and expense of re-testing.
  4. Cost of external failures – Expenses we incurred because we did not found and removed all defects before release and there are defect leakages.

Spending effort on external failures are less if we spend more effort in defect prevention, detection and internal failures. It increases confidence that probability of external failures is less.

So it’s very clear that cost of quality is high if there is no internal testing. To phrase it correctly, no proper internal testing as you may argue that developers do testing. By Proper I mean complete end to end testing and not just unit level testing.

We clearly see that there is a need of testers and some value that testers can provide.
Also as a testers we should move out of our comfort zone and think ourselves as an independent advisor to customer and provide trusted advice to customer in terms of quality and quality improvement process.
Feel free to provide your thoughts on this.


How to connect 16*2 LCD display Arduino UNO

To Connect 16*2 LCD Display Arduino Uno we will use the previous project to capture temperature and display on console.

Parts required for the project:

  1. Arduino IDE to program the code and upload
  2. OneWire and DallasTemperatre library for the Arduino and DS18B20
  3. One DS18B20 digital temperature sensor
  4. Arduino UNO R3
  5. 16*2 LCD display
  6. Jumper wires
  7. Breadboard/PC/General purpose board
  8. Arduino UNO cable
  9. wires

Steps 1: Wiring Arduino and DS18B20

  • The wiring, of a 1-wire interface, is super simple.
  • The GND pin of the DS18B20 goes to GND on the Arduino. [black]
  • The Vdd pin of the DS18B20 goes to +5V on the Arduino. [red]
  • The Data pin of the DS18B20 goes to a (digital) pin of your choice on the Arduino, in this example I used Pin 7
  • Add a pull-up resistor of 4.7 KΩ. as shown in the schematic diagram. One end of resistor connecting Vdd and another end connecting data pin.

Step 2: Connecting the LCD display

  • VSS –> GND Arduino
  • VDP –> 5V Arduino
  • VO –> output potentiometer (potentiometer VCC -> 5V Arduino, potentiometer GND -> Arduino GND).
  • RS –> pin 12 Arduino
  • RW –> GND Arduino
  • E –> pin 11 Arduino
  • D4 –> pin 5 Arduino
  • D5 –> pin 4 Arduino
  • D6 –> pin 3 Arduino
  • D7 –> pin 2 Arduino
  • A –> 5V Arduino with 1.2 k resistor
  • K –> GND Arduino

 LCD display Arduino UNO breadboard diagram


Machine generated alternative text: fritzing


// Data wire is plugged into digital pin2
#define ONE_WIRE_BUS 7
OneWire oneWire(ONE_WIRE_BUS);
DallasTemperature sensors(&oneWire);
//LCD display pins
LiquidCrystal lcd(12, 11, 5, 4, 3, 2);
double temperature;
void setup(void)
 //Serial.println("Temperature Demo");
 lcd.begin(16, 2);
 lcd.print("hello, WORLD");

void loop()
 sensors.requestTemperatures(); // send command to get temperatures
 temperature= sensors.getTempCByIndex(0);
 lcd.setCursor(0, 1);
 lcd.print("Temp: ");
 lcd.setCursor(7, 1);
 lcd.print(" C");

LCD display Arduino UNO Schematic

Screenshot of the Project output

LCD display Arduino UNO project screenshot

How to Measure temperature with Arduino and DS18B20 sensor?

In this example project we will be combining an Arduino and DS18B20 sensor. The DS18B20 is also called 1-wire digital temperature sensor

Arduino and DS18B20 Temperature Sensor The DS18B20 comes in different forms and shapes, so you have plenty of choice when deciding which one works best for you. There are 3 variations available: 8-Pin SO (150 mils), 8-Pin µSOP, and 3-Pin TO-92.

I have used waterproof version as shown below.


Note: DS18B20 is quite versatile. It can be powered through the data line (so called “parasite” mode, which requires only 2 wires versus 3 in normal mode), it operates in a 3.0V to 5.5V range, measures Temperatures from -55°C to +125°C (-67°F to +257°F) with and ±0.5°C Accuracy (from -10°C to +85°C). It converts a temperature in 750ms or less to a up to 12 bits value. Another cool feature is that you can connect up to 127 of these sensors in parallel, and read each individual temperature.

Things you need to get Arduino and DS18B20 sensor work:

  1. Arduino IDE to program the code and upload
  2. OneWire and DallasTemperatre library for the Arduino and DS18B20
  3. One DS18B20 digital temperature sensor
  4. Arduino UNO R3
  5. Jumper wires
  6. Breadboard/PC/General purpose board
  7. Arduino UNO cable

Below is the schematic diagram for the same.




Step 2: Installing and loading OneWire and DallasTemperature Library

Unzip the downloaded zip file. Make sure that folder name is OneWire, which contains the library. Drag it into the Library folder of Arduino IDE. Alternatively you can use Sketch-> Import Library -> Add Library option of Arduino IDE and select the Zip file.

Step3: Writing code and uploading


// Data wire is plugged into digital pin2
#define ONE_WIRE_BUS 2

OneWire oneWire(ONE_WIRE_BUS);

DallasTemperature sensors(&oneWire);
void setup(void)
 Serial.println("Temperature Demo");

void loop()
 Serial.print(" Fetching temperature...");
 sensors.requestTemperatures(); // send command to get temperatures
 Serial.println("Temperature is ");

Output will be shown as follows:

Arduino DS18b20 - Output

Screenshot of the above example:

Arduino and a DS18B20 sensor 1

We can modify this to display it in LCD display. For details on how to display the temperature on LCD display visit my post How to connect 16*2 LCD display Arduino UNO

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