The amazing adventures of Doug Hughes

Todays blog entry is a bit off my typical subjects on this blog. But, as someone who works from home for clients across the US, I often have to figure out what, for example, 9am Eastern Time is in Pacific Time.

As the title suggests, I have a ahem handy way to figure this out. What I do is use my knuckles. Specifically, there are four knuckles on each of your hand (excluding your thumb). There are also four time zones in the US. So, if you need to convert from one time zone or another, you simply choose the knuckle corresponding to the time zone and count up to the right and down to the left. Heres an image that helps demonstrate the concept:

The idea is that if someone asks you to attend a meeting at 3pm Pacific Time and youre in Central Time, you simply start at the Pacific knuckle and count up to Central. Thus, 3pm Pacific is 5pm Central. And, vice versa. If someone in Eastern Time suggests a 3pm meeting and youre in Mountain Time, you start with the right-most knuckle and count down to find out that 3pm Eastern is 1pm Mountain.

For those of you who are naturals at figuring out time zone differences this may be a little less than useful. For everyone else, I hope you enjoy!

And, while Im on it, this idea came to me from a similar trick I use to figure out the number of days in each month.

What you do is start from your left-most knuckle and count months to the right. In this case you count both the knuckles and the space between the knuckles. So the left most knuckle is January, the first space is February, the second knuckle is March, etc. (The last space and knuckle on your right hand isnt used.) Heres an illustration:

Any knuckle-month has 31 days and any space-month has 30 days. The only exception is February, which usually has 28 unless youre in a leap year and it has 29.

What do you think? Do you use any hand-based mnemonics?

Comments on: "A Handy Way To Convert US Time Zones" (9)

  1. Doug,

    This is brilliant. Definitely going in by bag of tricks. I love handy ways to remember things.

    Thanks for sharing.
    Curt Gratz
    Computer Know How


  2. Interesting . . . thanks . . . I’m evernoting this!


  3. Thanks for the cool quick tip; fwiw you can multiple by 9’s using your fingers. You hold your hands with fingers out nails facing you and start left to right e.g. 2×9 = ring finger down you are now left with 1 finger to the left of the ring finger and 8 fingers to the right or thus “18” another example 5 x 9 = left thumb down 4 to the left and 5 on the right = “45”.


  4. @Spills – Wow! That’s cool. I’ve never heard of that tip. Thanks for sharing.


  5. As a side note, you can do the day of month calculations on one hand. You don’t have to worry about which hand, or which side you start on. Just start counting at a knuckle with January and when you get to July on the far side knuckle, REPEAT the knuckle for August.


  6. Think of those quizzes as a kid that had such questions. And all I had to do for the answer was to look at my hands. Of course that’s where all the other kids put their crib notes anyway;)


  7. Doing this once is bad enough, but for those parents and other consumers looking to be unobtrusive, having to constantly get access to the computer being monitored can be very difficult if not impossible.


  8. How funny, I didn’t know about that. It might be more convenient to try another great tool where you can save the link with added cities/zones, and bookmark it or give to your colleague


  9. […] Credits: Lizard: Source Hands: Source Stonehenge: Source Sundial:Source Aztec Calendar:Source Big Ben:Source Share this:Like […]


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