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Don't Manage Time, Enjoy It
by Ramendra Kumar

When my son Aniket was in class one I would go to his school to drop him every morning. I would enter his class and play a game of chutki with his classmates. While he would watch proudly from the sidelines his friends crowding me I would shake hands with each of them and snap my fingers around their thumb. This game of chutki was very popular and I would be mobbed every day like some kind of Indian idol or cricket star.

One day as I was coming back after completing a successful round of chutki I found Rohan, Aniket’s best friend rushing in my direction from the school gates. As I extended my hand for a chutki he brushed past me with the terse words, “No time, Uncle, no time!”

I found this both funny as well as thought provoking. When I asked Aniket he replied, “Papa Rohan regularly comes late. Sometimes he is made to stand out side the class, sometimes on the bench but still he comes late.”

I knew Rohan’s father and so I rang him up and spoke to him.

“I too am rather ashamed Mr. Kumar that Rohan is never punctual. But believe me it is not due to lack of effort on our part. Whatever we do, whenever we wake him up he forgets something or the other at the last minute and ends up late. Due this habit there is a lot of tension at home. Rohan is an intelligent child, good in academics as well as sports but he somehow can never do things on time.”

Now let me take the case of Sanjay and Seema. They are twins studying in class nine. While Sanjay is very sharp his planning is pathetic. Seema on the other hand appears a bit slow on the up take but is very methodical. One day I went to their place. In the living room Seema was watching an India Pakistan cricket match.

“Where is Sanjay?” I asked surprised. Sanjay was crazy about cricket and should have been glued to the idiot box.
“We are having social studies exam tomorrow. He is mugging for it,” Seema replied.
“What about you?”
“I have already finished two revisions.”

And it so happened that like in every exam Seema beat Sanjay by a handsome margin to top the class. Sanjay, in spite of his brains and smartness failed to impress.

Secrets of Time Enjoyment

Can you guess why I have taken these two case studies? Is it to talk about time management? No, it is to talk about Time Enjoyment. You must have heard your principal, your teachers, your parents lecture you on the art and science of Time Management, I am not going to do that. I am going to share with you the secrets of Time Enjoyment. To live life to the fullest and enjoy each and every second.

But first let us understand the importance of time in today’s context.

If you stand at the cross roads of any metropolis and watch the scenario for a few moments I am sure you’ll find it immensely entertaining or irritating depending on whether you are a clown like me or a modern philosopher. People rushing in and out of buildings, pedestrians literally jogging on the pavement, vehicles weaving through traffic, screeching of breaks, honking of horns, trading of glares, exchange of abuses and lots more.

All this for saving three hundred seconds of a commodity which today is even more scarce than Saurav Ganguly’s smile. Yes TIME is the scarcest of all human resources and easily the most misused and abused one. Time has been called a monster, an ogre and enemy of man. But with common sense and discipline it can become a true friend, an ally who can lead you to greater success and yes greater enjoyment.

How does one learn to enjoy time? By taking correspondence courses, going for tuitions, attending extra classes? No. Time enjoyment is an attitude which has to be learnt NOW. It is never too early to learn and never too late.

Goal Setting

I firmly believe that if you want to enjoy anything you need some amount of planning. For instance if you want to see your favourite movie in your favourite theatre you may have to complete your home work, seek your mum’s permission, probably run an errand or so for your mum, ring up a few friends to see if they are available organise the tickets and then go and enjoy the movie. Similarly if you want to enjoy life you will have to do some planning (in consultation with your parents and teachers of course).

Let us begin with goal setting. Goals are long term, medium term and short term. For example my daughter Ankita is in class ten her long term goals may be as follows:

• To become a TV journalist and anchor and host her own show
• To pursue singing as a hobby and cut her own album
• To choose a life partner
• To take care of parents in old age.

Once the long term goals are ready they can be broken into short term and medium goals. For instance for Ankita the short term goal would be to get good marks in her class ten. Her medium term goal would be to complete her graduation and post graduation in mass communications from a good institute.

As far as her hobby is concerned her short term goal could be to practice singing regularly, her medium term goal could be to compete in the various singing competitions that take place on TV.

You must be thinking all this planning and goal setting will stifle enjoyment and make life a virtual time table. Well you are mistaken. Planning doesn’t throttle enjoyment. It enhances it. Goal setting and working towards it helps you choose a career you’ll love. And when you do something you love you obviously enjoy. Someone once said, “Take up an occupation you love, that way you’ll never have to work at all.”

Many times children are forced or misled, or misguided either due to peer pressure or parental effort into taking up careers which they are not interested in. When we were young we hardly had any choices. It was either engineering, medicine or CA. But look at you guys. For you sky is the limit. So when deciding on your long term career goal keep your aptitude and interest in mind. As far as Ankita is concerned she loathes math, is scared of science, loves languages and has a way with words. Her obvious choice is a career that offers her enough scope to write and speak and indulge her love for words!

Prioritizing

According to Robin Sharma the author of the best seller The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari, “The secret of getting things done is knowing what to leave undone.”

Most of the time we are caught up doing activities, which can be avoided. Either because we are unable to say no, or that we don’t realize the activity will not add any value or simply because of a kind of inertia.

One of the top time scavengers of today are TV, internet, video games and the phone.
I am not saying these are bad per se. But most often they become an addiction. How many times have you not just sat in front of the idiot box indulging in your favorite sport channel surfing? Seconds, minutes and even hours fly by and your stuck there, because often just getting up and moving out from the sphere of the influence of this monster takes too much effort. Chatting on the net, gaming and phoning are other activities, which grow on you, and before you realize they have you hooked.

And even after you disentangle yourself from the clutches of these sorcerers I am sure you have somewhere deep down the feeling of emptiness, of having wasted your time. Let me repeat that watching TV, gaming, chatting or phoning your friends are bad. But they should be done within limits.

Let me give you another example of misplaced priorities.

My niece who stays in Nagpur decided to take Sanskrit as her third language because it is scoring. I asked her to take Marathi, since she would be learning a local language that is in use today. She didn’t agree. She had to work twice as hard in Sanskrit, got average marks and ended up learning nothing because of the way Sanskrit was taught.

You should keep in mind what the Management Guru Peter Drucker had to say about prioritizing, “There is nothing as useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”

Liming

I came across an interesting concept in the book the Power of 5 written by Bloomfield and Cooper which I would like to share with you. It is called Liming.

Liming is the Caribbean art of “doing nothing guilt free.” That is doing something for enjoyment not achievement. If for example you are playing a game of TT, play for the joy of playing not for winning or even improving. The basic idea with liming is to shift yourself – as completely and deeply as you can – out of the rat race for at least 5 minutes, allowing your body to release tension and your mind to relax.

I am listing some of the activities at random. You may select the ones you like:

• Listening to music
• Singing, even if is tuneless and off key.
• Reading a book/story
• Playing an instrument
• Playing with your kid brother or sister
• Spending time with elderly people in the house or neighborhood.
• Gardening
• Walking

Live in the Present

Our mind is always vacillating between the past and the future. We are either crying over spilt milk or trying to cross the bridge before we come to it. One of the best ways of time enjoyment is to accept that the present is inevitable. We have to live in the present moment to the fullest and give our hundred percent to whatever we are doing.
Little kids do it all the time - they are forever living in the moment. Just watch your kid brother or sister playing with a paper boat or a ball. How absorbed he or she is and most important how much fun he/she is having. You too as children did the same. However, over the years, in the process of maturing, you stifled the child within. We adults too do the same. What we have to do now is to reawaken the little one in each of us and allow it to blossom in all its innocence and purity. The rest will follow.

Conclusion

I somehow can’t resist sharing with you these simple, yet powerful, words of Bill Keane, ‘Yesterday is the past, tomorrow is the future, but today is a GIFT. That is why it is called the present.”

The choice then is clearly ours – you can abuse and misuse time to fritter away your lives or use it effectively to achieve joy, happiness and glory.    

1-Jan-2006
 
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