You have probably heard people saying: “I have no time,” several times a day. People always seem to be in a hurry and short timed, unable to complete their work in time. The day has only 24 hours and it always seems too short and time insufficient. Why does this happen? Why are we always strapped for time? Why aren’t we able to complete our work in time? Or why don’t we find time for leisure?
It is something to think about because if we solve this riddle we will be able to complete our tasks in good time and have sufficient leeway to relax and recuperate. Finding enough time almost seems impossible even for those people who may not be very busy. So the answer does not lie in how much you have to do, but in how you do it. Realising the paucity of time is important because it has two dimensions: One is the day to day schedule which has to be worked out in such a way that there is sufficient time to complete all tasks. The second is the greater dimension of completing all that one desires with regard to one’s lifetime. Let us consider both these dimensions one by one.
Taking the second dimension first, let us look at life as a whole unit. We of course don’t know how long we will live but given the fact that our active lives maybe of 70 or 80 years we need to use time effectively to complete all that is important in that span. It may seem like a lot of time and many years but I have come across many persons who were unable to complete all that they wanted in their lifespans. This is due to the fact that most people feel that they have a lot of time and allow it to slip out of their hands. When they are in their thirties and forties they are so tied up with their work that they hardly have any time to pursue their interests or hobbies or spend sufficient time with loved ones. These pursuits are relegated to be discovered in ‘old age’ but this may prove to be erroneous. The mistake is that many pursuits may not be possible in old age. If you think you could begin to ski or go rock climbing after retiring obviously you are making a mistake. The trick is to decide all that you need to accomplish in life and finding time for it when the time is right. Weekends can be planned to pursue one’s hobbies earlier in life, especially those pursuits which are strenuous and demanding.
Similarly, just as it is important to pursue physically difficult hobbies at a younger age it maybe conducive to relegate some pleasant and mentally active hobbies for a more advanced age. Research has revealed that the brain gets more active and creative as we age and thus it maybe feasible to explore activities like painting or music as one gets on in years. Planning activities for different phases of our life may be more in keeping with getting certain accomplishments done with relative ease.
Now for planning your daytime and pursuits on a day to day basis so that you can finish everything smoothly. Firstly it maybe a good idea to be aware of just how much time one has in a week.If the work week is five or six days and one has a one or two day break at the end of the week, it means that much work has to be accomplished during those five days so that the weekends could be completely given over to leisure pursuits. The work day could begin early trying to get in a couple of hours in the refreshing morning hours for exercise and meditation. This will be possible only if the earlier night has been really early. Hitting the bed on time is as important and even possible at all, as waking up early. Breakfast could be followed by making a rough outline of all that is to be accomplished during the day. It may help to maintain jottings to enable all tasks without forgetting anything important. Keeping a small jot down diary can help tremendously at all times though using an electronic device could be also equally feasible.
Secondly, priorities need to be allotted for tasks as well. What needs to be definitely done on that day and what could be postponed for another day can be underlined in the to-do list in different coloured pencils or ink. This could ease spotting what is to be done straight away and what could possibly be postponed to the end of the day or the next day.
It’s also important to relegate tasks. No one is a superhero and using one’s staff and juniors for doing some tasks may help to accomplish much more in the day. It would also be a learning ground for juniors who could become an asset for the company or organisation in the long run and who may complete the task by themselves effectively on subsequent occasions. Training is a hands on experience and this is possible if opportunities are given to juniors.
Finding chunks of time between tasks and using them effectively can be fruitful. Giving 15 minutes to make important jottings while waiting in a queue or travelling in a car or bus can help save time. Reading the newspaper or making calls while travelling is another way of saving time. Lunch breaks could be used for making calls as well or taking a walk if the weather is conducive to meet one’s exercise goals. Emails which are not a priority can be tackled at the end of the day when most important work has already been done and a person is relatively tired.
Multitasking is a two edged sword. Many people are used to multitask-king and in fact relish it. Housewives are known to be wizards at this. But some people find it extremely tiring and onerous. It can fatigue one if done too often or done constantly. It can however be done judiciously when the time is right.Thus, planning, jotting, deciding one’s priorities and using slivers of time effectively are some ways of saving time.
A positive mind set and calm demeanour are also very important for effective usage of time. A harried hurried man will end up making costly mistakes and waste even more time. It may just help to do short bursts of deep breathing or pranayam at times to keep calm and collected, specially if the day is full of numerous activities. Stress is today’s greatest enemy of good health and overcoming stress by organising one’s time is a very positive step towards being calm and collected. Much can be done in a peaceful manner and keeping oneself paced and cool can help towards completing tasks in time as well as doing them efficiently. It may actually be productive to take a short nap after lunch or close one’s eyes for 10 or fifteen minutes in the afternoon during lull time to end up doing what one wants more efficiently.
Remember that it is not only important to plan one’s work day, it is equally important to plan one’s leisure time. Hectic weekends may or may not be the right choice to relax so choose your leisure activities judiciously and plan them carefully giving yourself sometime “me-time” as well as sufficient time to family and friends. Here again planning and outlining could help in the long run. Remember time is short so use it effectively and you could be a productive and happy person who has made it possible to accomplish goals.