I have not attended even a single function at which the Chief Guest was not a very busy person and not in a hurry to leave. So is the case with most of the so-called important persons. They are always busy and have no time even to think as to why they are so busy. One also wonders if most of the important persons of the society are so busy, the shape of things in all the spheres should have been excellent. But is that so? If not, then of what use is their busy-ness?
I have pondered a great deal over this subject and am of the view that most of us waste a lot of time though we always appear to be very busy. I also hold that there is enough time for everything which falls within official or social duty. And I take duty in a much wider sense. It is only a question of making optimum use of our time by planning it well. I will even go to the extent of saying that the day can be of more than twenty-four hours for a well planned person and I mean it. I also believe that a busy man has more time than a free man. So efforts should be made to remain busy but in a productive and healthy manner.
All my above thinking was confirmed by a book on Time Management by M R Pai. I am mentioning about the book because I could go through it on account of my time planning. Once I was returning from Bombay. After reaching the airport I learnt that the flight was late by four hours. (Ultimately it was delayed by ten hours.) I had the option either to go back to the city or to wait at the airport itself. Since there was no worthwhile assignment in mind for the city, I decided to wait at the airport itself and also sent back the manager who had come to see me off. At the airport I visited the bookshop and came across some good books. I bought some including the above mentioned one. Thus I could not only go through the books, but also the waiting became a pleasure, and instead of cursing Indian Airlines, I felt gratified towards it. Since the book was small and reasonably priced, I bought few more copies of it for some of my friends and it was appreciated by all who read it. I, therefore, thought it proper to share the contents (which are confirmed by my own personal experience) with more of my friends.
First of all we must believe in the value of time and consider it as a very important resource. We generally talk of three resources, namely MAN, MONEY and MATERIAL; add the fourth resource to it: MOMENTS. This fourth resource differs from others in a vital respect; once it is lost it cannot be replaced. If money is lost, it can be borrowed; if material is lost, fresh stocks can be built up; if trained staff leave, new staff can be recruited. But if time is lost, it cannot be regained or replaced. For time management, it is essential to develop this consciousness of the value of time as a resource.
The next step is Time-budgeting. More than money, time is to be budgeted properly. First draw up an annual plan with regard to all important business and personal items. Every quarter, draw up a fairly detailed plan for the quarter. Every month end, draw up a plan for the following month and so with the week. Every day, in the morning, plan in detail the day’s activities. Time spent in all this planning will be rewarded in the form of better efficiency. Various models can be drawn up for a daily time budget and one can choose according to one’s convenience.
The approach to time management should be an integrated one. It has to take into account all aspects of your daily life. However, for purpose of discussion, time can be divided into three aspects-Biological Time, Business or Office Time and Social Time. The general principles of these aspects shall be discussed here, in order to make best use of time. (Contd.)
Your body is the instrument of work and should be kept in very good order. Biological needs like sleep, food and recreation should, therefore, be well regulated. Time Management with regard to these biological needs, therefore, assumes great significance. There are four general principles of Biological Time Management:
a) Treat all days alike; Treating some days as holidays and some others as working days upsets the routine. If you get up at the same time and complete ablution and other daily necessities, you will get a complete grip on the activities of the entire day.
b) In all repetitive activities. find out time-saving efficiency techniques. For instance, even if you save five minutes every day in bathing or shaving, you will have saved thirty hours in a year.
c) Regulate your daily activities in a clock-like fashion, It means that, by and large, there should be a fixed time for your biological activities like food, exercise, sleep, etc.
d) It is advisable to develop the habit of getting up early in the morning. It has several advantages. The mind is fresh and powerful. There are no disturbances. The environment is quiet and you can work with tremendous concentration. However, those who cannot get up early should develop the habit of staying awake late at night. But it is certain that two hours of early morning are much more than two hours of late night in terms of efficiency.
Time spent in office or at business place is known as Business Time and is obviously very important. There are some general principles governing Business Time. They are:
a) Feel healthy and cheerful when you are in office or at business place. If you don’t feel so, it may be advisable to stay home and take rest. Your irritation in office may cost very dearly.
b) Reach your workplace well in time and, if possible, little before time. This changes the whole atmosphere of the office and in all likelihood you will be able to leave office in time in the evening also. The day’s output of the whole office will also increase tremendously.
c) Structure your office time suitably depending upon your needs. However, the structure should be able to take care of unforeseen situations. This is necessary to avoid irritation when such situations appear.
d) Make the best use of your support services like telephone, intercom, fax machine, personal staff, etc. Be judicious in deciding the job you should do yourself. Try to delegate as much as possible.
e) Be precise and clear in your communication be it verbal or written. Instructions to your subordinates should be very clear, otherwise at the end of the day everybody’s effort may go waste.
f) Keep your table tidy and encourage everyone to do the same. The papers and files should be well arranged. This saves a lot of time.
g) Be brief and businesslike while meeting visitors. Those who unnecessarily prolong discussion should be firmly told not to do so. Avoid offering tea or coffee to visitors, and if it has to be offered, make sure that it is served in the least possible time.
h) Advise important visitors to seek prior appointment as far as possible. The same practice should be followed when you go to meet others.
i) Plan your tours wisely and try to cover as many assignments as are conveniently possible in one visit. Keep addresses and telephone numbers properly recorded in your diary, and it should be readily available.
j) Attend promptly to small matters like submitting T.A. bills, verifying your GPF account, sending replies to various letters which cannot be passed on to the office, etc. A reminder will only add to your work. You are likely to take more time in recollecting the facts, once reply is delayed.
k) If you attend a meeting, try to find when your presence is required and be present accordingly. In case it is not possible to do so take some paper or file which may be gone through, if your participation in the meeting is not required for some length of time.
1) And lastly, believe that others’ time is as important as that of yours. Never waste others time for lack of planning. Ultimately it is the output of the whole organisation which matters and not merely yours.
These are some of the principles which should be followed in order to make best use of Business Time. The list is not exhaustive and many more points can be added. But the scope of managing Business Time much more efficiently is well established.
Social Time is the time you give to your own development, to your family and friends and for social activities. Many businessmen and executives feel that their business obligations are so heavy that they cannot find sufficient time for their family. Their thinking is totally wrong and counter-productive. Such people end up by paying a heavy price for their so-called busy schedule. Proper management of social time is as important as the other two aspects of time. Some important aspects of Social Time Management are given below :
a) All family members should meet at least once every day and exchange information and views. This promotes close family bonds and lays the foundation for a happy and successful life.
b) At least one morning in a week should also be reserved for the family. And, once or twice a year all should go out of town for a brief holiday.
c) Some people develop a habit of carrying office files to their homes. As far as possible, this should be avoided.
d) Paying social visits and attending parties are unavoidable, but too much of them can destroy your private life. So carefully choose the occasions, which should be attended. You should also develop the art of saying ‘no’ if you find it difficult to attend some occasion. Writing a good letter or giving a courteous phone call is most practical way of doing so.
e) For every visit, lay down an average time-limit. Once people come to know that you do not waste any time, and even when you visit them you spend only half an hour or an hour utmost, they will respect your sense of time.
f) Social visits should be preceded by some intimation. Unscheduled visits always take a longer time than preplanned ones.
g) You must have time everyday for thinking. The greater your responsibility, the more time you need for thinking. Early morning walks can be a good time to think. This time should not at all be wasted in gossiping.
h) Waiting at places like airport, railway or bus station can be used for thinking or reading. Travelling also provides an excellent opportunity for thinking and reading.
i) Reading is an important aspect of social time. If you analyse your reading material you will find that it falls into the following categories:
1. Daily newspapers, magazine or current affairs,
2. Professional magazines,
3. Professional books,
4. General books and,
The first principle is to be selective in your reading; the second is to plan your reading. For instance, do not buy 15 or 20 magazines. Select the essential ones and go through them properly. As regards books, you should make a realistic list of books to be read every year. Such a list should also provide a room for any new book which should be read immediately. Some part of reading time should be reserved for professional magazines and latest books on your subject so that you are always up-to-date in your line of work.
Reading the daily newspaper is not only a habit but also a necessity. However, one should be selective here also. There is no point in going through too many newspapers. The choice should be limited to two or three papers. One should also develop the habit of reading them rapidly and meaningfully.
j) Apart from these personal needs, one should find some time for social activities also. This will depend upon the individual’s liking. But it should be carefully selected and the contribution should be meaningful. It should not merely for the sake of it, otherwise, it may be counter-productive. One can serve the society through such activities and derive satisfaction. A well planned man can easily find time for such activities also.
Thus we have covered all the aspects of Time Management. It may not be possible to follow all of them at once but as one proceeds in this direction, they will automatically be followed. And then you will also end up saying “THERE IS ENOUGH TIME”.
A good secret of how best to use each day’s time is to try to pack it like a suitcase, filling up the small spaces with small things.
As every thread of gold is valuable, so is every moment of time.
Doing the duty of the time is the best way to live.
Everything has its time. The desire to reach things before the right time means overreaching them.
Manage your time as you manage your money.
Short as life is, we make it still shorter by the careless waste of time.
There is enough time. Don’t waste time in thinking that it is not enough.
Time is the same for all of us; the diligent catches hold of it; the foolish lets it pass.
Time misspent is not lived but lost.
Well arranged time is the surest mark of a well arranged mind.
You can work forty-eight hours a day if you plan well.