Let’s not defeat time !

Dr. Shahid Amin

The serious issue today that has gripped the society is time mismanagement. There is no denying the fact that there are huge differences in time perceptions of India as compared to advanced nations in the realms of long-term versus short-term orientation, respect for punctuality, commitment and sensitivity of others’ time and reverence of time as a character-building value. Undoubtedly being timely and punctual is a virtue that is held in high regard in our society and being on time is treated a sign of a professional, reliable and a caring person.
We see high lessons being taught in schools, colleges and universities about time management. Alas! But when the preachers themselves are not timely, how come do we expect followers shall follow the rule? It really doesn’t matter how much time we have with us and if we can’t manage it properly – we’ll just spend most of the day running around aimlessly. There are examples how someone’s mismanagement of time is defeating other’s good intentions to be timely.
I remember the scenes when someone invites you to attend a marriage or any other ceremony and that how our lunch turns into a fine dinner. One ends up losing his lunch or is prepared in advance that he has to bear his hunger for a good time. To a greater surprise the invitation cards do also mention that guests are requested to be on time. Ah! Who cares? The same time defeated system is also being witnessed around the country be it events and conferences of repute where we claim to be sound value preachers. There are always exceptions if we are able to start and conclude our events on time.
What is more dismal is that the system is appreciating time mismanagement rather than attempts to counter it in right ways? More pathetic is that the so called good men in the society have the notion that they will lose their grades if they are early/timely to any good occasions. They have to be late to find a warm welcome from those who are timely. The problem lies here where we are attempting to defeat the time. The developed countries have made good inroads into progresses due to good time management. Rather than defeating time, they hold it high and lead by examples.
Time mismanagement has some serious outcomes. When a student is not able to manage time, he suffers badly in his studies. When a job seeker is not timely, he loses a wonderful opportunity in terms of a job and security for future. Being late for employees’ means they have to face the tune of their bosses and more stress for the rest of the day. Our close ones will be unhappy when we attend late to their events. The mounting rise of accidents is a result of human error and credits must be given to time mismanagement. This leads to rash driving and hence world loses some beautiful souls in tragic scenes.
We need to learn how valuable each second of the day is-that there really isn’t any time to waste on activities that didn’t lead us towards our goals. We need to identify what is more important and what is least important in life. Ideally we must plan a day ahead preferably before sleep or at the beginning of the relevant day.
Many time management methods are also available and can help us tremendously e.g. Pareto’s 80-20 Rule says that 20% of our activities will account for 80% of our results. This means that if we have a list of ten items to do, two of those items will turn out to be worth as much or more than the other eight items put together. Other friendly technique is to use: ABC System (A= High priority work, B= Urgent to an extent but not high priority work and C= Neither urgent nor high priority work). Here’s how it works: We have to start with a list of everything we have to do for the coming day. Think on paper. Then we must place an A, B, or C before each item on our list before we begin the first task.
We must also write down our top priorities and break down those large tasks into more reasonable steps. Our goals must be SMART goals and not confusion oriented. SMART here means that our goals must be specific- measurable-achievable-realistic and time bound. Successful people have a purpose, a laser-focused plan of tasks they want to achieve on a particular day. We must also keep margins and breaks and evaluate ourselves. If we want to enter into a truly successful life, we must focus on things that positively inspire our life.
It’s always great to be inspired by what great people have done/are doing. Eminent Academician Prof. Yogesh Upadhyay in Gwalior with high regards for time truly is an inspiration. I remember once clock timings were set as 15 minutes late by the Management thinker and expert. Later it was learnt as a deliberate attempt to start little early to be on time. It is worthy to quote dynamic Chancellor of ITM University Gwalior, Mr. Ramashankar Singh to enforce sharp timings in any of the University events and in no ways bear mismanaging time. Such time value strategies are the need of the time to be more productive and on time.
As responsible teachers we have a greater role in society and set right time management examples rather than teaching worse to the students. As leaders in society we need to lead by exception. We must use both positive and negative tools to deal the issue seriously. The attempts should be to use negative motivational quotes on the invitations and emails for those who don’t value time. We need to develop a culture to be strict with late comers irrespective of their positions and at least at minimum make them realize their fault. Those who are on time we must openly heap praises on them. Children from a tender age must be taught good time management skills by their families and the educational institutions to be the better citizens in future. Employers by rewarding their employees in small ways will greatly inspire them to get the job done efficiently and on time. Every employee likes to be recognized when they do great work and when employers do so by rewarding them for their hard work, they will greatly boost their morale which will improve their quality of work and will also improve on their delivery time. Let’s not defeat time for we never know when time will defeat us.
(The author is Assistant Professor, ITM University Gwalior)