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1.  Why do you keep an hourly diary?  Who would ever want to read it?
Actually, I keep a half-hourly diary; and I have been keeping one since 1987.  It was in different paper forms until 1999 when I switched over to an electronic version.

As to why I keep one, there are many reasons as I will come to.  It started off from the Iranian New Year tradition of reviewing the major events of the year at the new year celebration table.  For example, any trips, achievements, friendships, births, deaths, marriage, relocations, university and so on.  I was never good at this because I could not remember a lot of things, so I decided to solve this problem in a fundamental way.  At the same time, I needed to answer certain questions of myself, like 'when did I receive that faulty item I want to return?', or 'am I spending enough time studying?', or 'how long has it been since I last saw/called that friend?'.

I realised from the start, if I wanted to obtain the statistics I wanted, I would have to categorise my time.  That is, I would have a category for "Food Break" to include breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Certain categories like "Keeping Informed" occur each year, whereas other project-categories like researching satellite reception have a start/end period.  So the number of categories varies each year as I start some projects and finish others. for 2004 I had 108 categories and sub-categories which enables me to do a detailed time analysis.

So as you can see, the half-hourly diary is not intended for casual reading (at least not in my lifetime), but it's more for reference and a powerful analytical tool I can use for the following:

  • To prove to myself I have not wasted any valuable time

  • To check that I have used my time well and where it was needed

  • To remind myself of events

  • To enjoy remembering exactly what I was doing this time last week, last month, last year, 5 years ago, ...

  • To fill the gap for my children, that I felt as I wanted to know how my father lived and what he did

Writing this kind of time-sheet diary takes a lot of effort and commitment, but I think it is well worth doing and I enjoy the daily review of my time.  I use MS Outlook to record my diary.



1.  Why did you return to Iran in 2004?
I first went to Iran after my PhD in 1991, and since then I have been there many times and spent many years there.

Most people who settle in another country have many commitments which prevent them from returning to their country of birth for more than a holiday.  Commitments like their intensive job, mortgage, pension, life insurance and so on.  Others reject their own culture because they think they have found a better one.

I think I am privileged  or stupid not to have those commitments, and I have been lucky enough to marry someone who has made the rich Iranian culture known to me.  We would like our children to have a dual culture so that they can choose the best points of each.




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