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Make Time Your Ally Not Enemy
by Dr. Anjana Maitra

Introduction

Time is a scarce resource. It is irreplaceable and irreversible. Few things are more important to us than learning how to save time and how to spend it wisely.

This principle applies to us all in most areas of our lives. Though it is generally thought that time management is especially true in the world of work, I would emphatically say that it is very important for students. For them the potential demands and pressures on our time greatly outweigh what is available. We have to choose our ends wisely and manage our time and abilities carefully to achieve them.

Let us study time management, in relation to life generally and to work or studies in particular. Business executives, doctors, engineers, teachers and many others are now aware of the need to manage time better. But there is an understandable skepticism about facile systems which promise complete control over time. There should always be sensitive response to the time needs of others. Over-preoccupation with one’s own time is not an attractive quality. Moreover, the management of time can never be seen in isolation. It is only one of the elements of effective performance.

Paradoxically, to save time you must spend time. Budget some of your time now–perhaps on a forthcoming journey or quietly at home to develop a step by step method towards better time management. Regard it as an investment which will pay rich dividends by helping you to:

  • Develop a new personal sense of time.
  • Think about the future, set goals and develop plans.
  • Analyze where, how and why you are spending your time at present.
  • Reduce time pressures
  • Rid yourself of activities which waste time.
  • Learn how to save time by delegating.
  • Re-allocate your time to produce better results.
  • Learn time saving techniques in reading, correspondence, travel, telephone calls and meeting friends or pursuing hobbies.
  • Use more time to think creatively.
  • Find time to relax and enjoy life.
  • Make time an ally instead of an enemy.

Time Management in Perspective

The nearest we can come to grasping the concept of time is to look upon it as a dimension, like space. It is the dimension in which change happens. The rate of change varies enormously: mountains form and crumble over millions of years while men are born and die over decades. Being human we trend to measure time and change in terms of our life span.

Although we know that each hour actually has minutes and each minute sixty seconds, we experience time in different ways. Sometimes we are not aware of it at all. Sometimes it goes faster and sometimes slower. Time has its own psychology.

Key Points

  • Time is as mysterious as space. It is the dimension in which changes happen, balanced by relative continuities.
  •  Time can be measured with exceptional accuracy by clocks. Mechanical clocks have a profound influence on us. They make us even more time-conscious than our ancestors, although our increased life expectancy may make us less so in other respects.
  • Clocks exert a discipline upon us. The Puritans in particular inculcated in Britain and America a sense of the preciousness of time and the sinfulness of wasting it. Thrift, industry and punctuality go hand-in-hand.
  •  Not everyone operates on the “Times is money’ analogy. Actually time is infinitely more valuable than money. It deserves to be treated with even greater respect.
  •  Only when you have perceived and assigned the right value to your time – more than gold or silver – are you able to benefit from the practical suggestions in the remaining chapter of this book. A fresh realization of the intrinsic worth of your time engenders a burning desire in you to use it well.

Common Time Problems

Procrastination, which comes from the Latin work for ‘tomorrow’ is the world’s number one time-waster. As the proverb says, it is ‘the thief of time’. You must banish it from your life if you want to become a better time manager. Be tough with yourself. Start now by doing something today that you have been putting off. It may be a small or large matter; a meeting with your teacher/counselor/doctor/dentist; or an unpleasant task you know you should tackle. The most difficult job of the day may not turn out as fearsome as you imagined.

Delegation saves your time and develops others. If you are doing a group project, take the initiative and delegate small parts to everyone. Give them responsibility and agree to a time when you will get back together to brainstorm and finalize the presentation.

As students here are a few tips for managing your time:

  • Make a realistic time table for your home study and stick to it.
  • Maintain a Planner or diary to remember your tests, exams, tuition classes, sports classes, Parent-Teacher Meetings, dates of paying school fees, visit to Dentist etc.
  • Keep time for hobbies, socializing, meeting friends, watching TV etc and don’t feel guilty about it.
  • Get enough sleep during exams, your brain doesn’t work if you are sleep-derived.
  • Curtail unnecessary phone chats, internet chats, smsing and TV channel surfing.
  • Spend time with your parents and siblings, specially at meal times.
  • During long journeys keep a book handy or listen to music rather than idling time away 

Image under license with Gettyimages.com

15-Feb-2010
 
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