The Technique of TIME MANAGEMENT
A serious problem facing the business executive today is a self-imposed paucity of time. Stemming from a lack of the technique of time management. Stemming from a lack of the technique of time management. A technique which deals with the science of servicing work with available time. But the corporate world complains that it lacks the time, not the technique. This problem has been presented in a day's seminar on time management under three broad topics:
I. Time management is self-management
II Plan and programme your life
III. Impediments to time management
Study these topics carefully. Try to apply these principles through life in your business, at home, everywhere. They should provide you with adequate material to solve this nagging problem. You would no longer be a victim of time and work. And not be harassed by increasing work-load and decreasing time-frame.
Commence your study by detailing your particular problems related to time management. Examine their relevance to the subject presented herein. You would gradually discover that your problems have emerged from an inability to harmonise your work with time. Rather than the actual paucity of time. Towards the end you may review your problem to ensure that the suggested guidelines solve them.
I. TIME MANAGEMENT IS SELF MANAGEMENT
People grumble all through life that they lack time. They try to make up by rushing, hurrying and working into late nights. The pressure mounts. They suffer from mental, agitation, stress. Time management has turned into a menace. Yet, few study the nature of the problem. Get to its real cause.
When you complain of a lack of time, what exactly do you mean? Time is the same for everyone. And he complaint about work-load seems universal. Your problem actually boils down to completing your work in a scheduled time. Balancing the equation between work and time. This is the bane of time management.
It is interesting to note that the same complaint runs through all human echelons: the industrialists, businessman, professional, everybody. The annual turnover of a business could vary from a hundred thousand dollars to a billion. The volume of work could range from a unit to a hundred units. Yet all of them run short of time. Work late hours. Carry work home in their briefcase or head. And spend sleepless nights.
The fundamental principal of time management rests in self-management. Time management means work management. And work management means self-management. Completing work in time needs proper planning and programming. How can that be achieved unless one is perfectly disciplined? Therefore, the exercises of time management traces back to self-management.
WHAT IS SELF-MANAGEMENT?
Self-management is the governance of one's inner self. The inner self is constituted of your mind and intellect. The mind is made up of your feeling and emotion, like and dislike. The intellect is your faculty to think and reason, judge and decide. Self-management is the intellect's command over mind. The intellect's control over the whim and fancy, like and dislike of the mind. The mind has no direction or dimension. It can demand anything. The intellect's role is to direct and guide the demands of the mind. When your intellect maintains a suzerainty over mind you can claim to have self-management. Conversely, when your mind overpowers intellect you fall into a chaotic state. An unattended mind could have a devastating influence on your personality. Yet everybody pampers the mind. Nurtures and nourishes it. Without realising the dreadful consequence.
Action is the insignia of life. Inaction is death. However, the body itself cannot act. Action by the body is propelled by either the mind or intellect or a combination of both. When you do what your mind likes to do, feels like doing it, your action then is said to be impulsive. And when you do what your intellect bids, your action is discriminate. When both the mind and intellect directs an action, your intellect supports what the mind likes to do then your action would still be discriminative.
An impulsive mind which is directly driven by the mind without intervention of the intellect is like a car driven by a drunken driver. Whereas, a discriminative action would be that steered by a sober driver. A car driven by a drunken driver could lead to disaster, even death. So would an impulsive action.
NATURE OF THE MIND
The mind has the following qualities.
Unsteady and restless Asthira and cancala:
There are two types of movements. One is from one place to place. The other is movement within a place. The mind is charcterised by both movements. It runs helter-skelter, keeps ever jumping from one desire to another, one thought to another. Given a subject to think on, it hardly maintains concentration. The mind is inconstant, changing. It cannot remain focused on its own. An unsteady and restless mind causes mental disturbance.
The mind has a tendency to worry over the past, become anxious about the future. It fatigues you. Saps your energy.
Desire Kamah: The mind generates endless desires. The wealthiest thirst for more wealth. The most powerful craves for more power. And so on. Their unfulfilled desires produce stress.
Like and Dislike Ragadvesah:
The mind is replete with likes and dislikes. From an early age you have been collecting likes and dislike. You pick what you like, discard what you dislike. Your friends, relatives also feed your likes, discard your dislikes. Now you have turned into a mere bundle of like and dislike. This bundle determines the course of your life. Since the world cannot always cater to your like and dislike, your whim and fancy it becomes an impediment to your pleasure and joy in life. You become suppressed, repressed, frustrated in life.
The deadliest quality of the mind is attachment. The mind gets attached to objects and beings of the world. Attachment means mental bondage. An emotional hang-up. Thereafter, whatever happens to that object or being happens to you. You lose your freedom, liberty. You remain fettered, bound as long as your attachment lasts.
An unattended mind can turn violent, turbulent. When passion rises higher and higher, the mind could become turbulent. Such a mind can cause heinous crimes. It behaves like turbulent wind which uproots trees, causes shipwrecks etc.
Your personality depends upon your mind. As the mind so the man. Mind can change the personality of an individual. A powerful mind can even change the destiny of a nation.
The mind can be unyielding, obstinate. The desires of the mind are unyielding. They can never be satiated. Their pursuit of the world is relentless. The mind also has a tendency to stubbornly hold on to object, emotion, thought. It has its way unless the intellect governs it.
To manage these qualities of the mind, you need a powerful intellect. You will have to strengthen the intellect. The study of Vedanta and reflection on the subtle concept should help develop your intellect.
II. PLAN AND PROGRAMME YOUR LIFE
The technique of time management lies in planning and programming the entire span of your life. Those complaining from lack of time live from movement to movement, day to day, month to month. They do not design a plan of action for a lifetime. Your first obligation is set your ultimate goal. What is it you want to achieve in life. What is your purpose, mission, ideal. What are you working for. Having set the goal, structure, your course of action. Plan, programme your life to its several facets. a
ASSESS FACTORS RELATED TO WORK UNDERTAKEN
Plan your life's projects and prepare the line of action. Assess the essential factors related to them. The salient factors are:
Basic Nature of the Individual Svadharma
Sva means one's own. Dharma means nature. So svadharma means one's nature. Individual natures are distinct and different. You are constituted of your mental temperament and intellectual calibre. The field of activity must suit your svadharma. A person with engineering tendency does not choose a medical field. Vice versa. A person with business tendency does not take to philosophy. Vice versa. Thus to utilise your lifetime properly, ensure you choose a field of activity most conducive to your mental and intellectual constitution.
Set a Realistic Goal
Following one's svadharma every individual needs to choose his ideal, goal in life. That would give a proper direction to his action. And avoid dissipation of energy and time.
Adhering to this procedure, ensure you choose a realistic goal. Realistic in the sense it is within your capacity to achieve the target in the time-frame available to you. However, many planners err in choosing a target without taking into consideration their capacity and time. They try to make up by working harder and spending longer hours. And their perennial complaint is time management.
Material and Human Resource
You may select the right type of activity. Set a realistic goal. Yet lead yourself into difficulty if you fail to assess the available material and human resources. Your work may involve others' participation and material input. Ensure you are provided with adequate resource essential for completing the work undertaken.
Others' Cooperation / Labour Climate
In assessing the requirement of human resource, numbers are not the only criterion. Their mental cooperation plays a vital role. Hence, ensure you have taken into account the mental climate of those working with you and others who may have an indirect effect on your work.
The above precautionary measures may be within your capacity to appropriate. But an ideal planning should take into consideration force majeure as well. There could be certain unforeseeable course of events impeding your work schedule. A reasonable estimate and allowance for this contingency would help you perfect your planning.
PLAN LIFE'S PROJECTS BACKWARD
The general tendency among planners is to project their work schedules forward in life. What am I to do today. What am I to complete this week, this month, this year, in the next ten years, etc. Rare are those who conceive the entirety of life's mission. And work backwards. By planning backward you create space to fit in all exigency and emergency. You create enough time and to spare. You may have one great project which may need your lifespan to complete. Or have more than one project. Be they one or more, ensure not to venture into impractical projects beyond the scope of your achievement. As you determine the project(s) relate it to your life's expectancy to complete it. A fair reckoning of the years of your life ahead should be linked with the project(s) planned. That gives you a clear idea of what you wish to accomplish in life and the time available for completing it.
To cite an example, you have forty years to complete your cherished project. For accomplishing it, conceive how much of the project has to be completed in next twenty years. If in twenty years a certain quantum of work has to be done, what needs to be accomplished in the next ten years, five years, one year, one month, one week, today. This is backward planning.
Your planning must assess all factors related to your project. Also, your obligation to the society, family, yourself. Even possible physical illness, emotional mood that may have relevance to your work. With these details well taken care of, there would be no reason to scrounge for time.
PROGRAMME LINE OF ACTION
You may have one ore more projects fixed for your life. Also, the breakdown of project(s) for years, month, week, day. Having set this up, fix the priorities for the project and action that go with them. Bear in mind you provide for any exigency and emergency that could upset programming the line of action.
Your plan and programme must foresee and provide for any impediment as well. You then have everything set for your progress towards the goal. Keep to the course of action with steadfastness. Do not yield to any intrusion. Learn to say 'No' to any person or object that interferes with yur programme. A planned, consistent application in one's line of action is called dhirth. And following the line of action with dhirtih is self-management, time management.
RENDER ACTION FORCEFUL
When the goal is firm the direction of your actions is set. A stream of action consistently flowing towards the goal becomes powerful. A common phenomenon in the world. Water flowing in one direction generates hydro electric power. Wind blowing in one direction creates wind power. Light focused to a point turns powerful. Thus do actions directed towards a set goal gather momentum becomes forceful.
TIME, 24 HOURS FOR ALL
Whatever work you launch has the same time, twenty-four hours in a day. If the work is not properly organised as suggested, you could waste a good deal of time. And not be aware of the time lost. Consequently, you face the perennial problem of lacking time.
Besides the quantum, few are aware of the quality of time. The time of the day can be divided into three distinct qualities spread over the twenty-four hours. The prime time, the best quality of time is between 4 a.m. and 6 a.m. It is known as sattvik time. The contemplative people make full use of this time.
The second quality of time is from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Known as rajasika. It goes with action riddled with mental agitation. The third, called tamasika, covers 6 p.m. to 4 a.m. It is spent in lethargy, sleep. This classification has a universal application to all classes of people.
The sattvika time is designed for the introvert to think and contemplate, plan and programme. While rajasika time is meant for extroverted activity. And tamasika time for sensual indulgences and sleep. Since the sattivka time is slept through by most people in the world how can thee be an intelligent planning of life's mission? The best quality of time is hardly known, much less utilised. Hence, the lives of people lack proper direction and control. They lose self-management, work management, time management.
III. IMPEDIMENTS TO TIME MANAGEMENT
The impediments to time management are those that impede one's self-management. Overcoming these impediments you bring yourself under control. And when you excel in self management you have time at your beck and call.
LACK OF OBJECTIVITY
The problem in self-management, time management lies in the lack of objectivity. Objectivity is measured by your intellect's control over mind's activity. The mind is replete with impulse, feeling and emotion, like and dislike. It lacks direction or dimension. Your mind can demand virtually anything in the world. The intellect needs strength to control and direct the demands of the mind. When your intellect loses its suzerainty over the mind you become rudderless. You lack objectivity.
A powerful intellect is to be distinguished from mere intelligence. You gain intelligence by gathering information from external sources. You could be well-informed on one or more subjects. Schools and universities make you intelligent. Whereas, the process of thinking, contemplating on your own with reason and logic develops a strong intellect. You gain the faculty to judge and decide.
A powerful intellect enables you to plan and programme life's activity.
The progress in life's activity is also marked by your spirit of cooperative endeavour. Commonly known as team spirit with colleagues at work. You develop this attitude when you realise the work you do needs others participation. None can claim to do anything all by oneself.
The universe is an extraordinary composition of a variety of talent. An orchestra of many players producing the melody of existence. It is interesting that the ratio of students studying different subjects like economics, science, mathematics and philosophy is virtually the same in any university in the world. Likewise the managerial, supervisory, clerical and labour ratio remains the same anywhere. The proportion of precious, semi-precious and inferior metals does not differ much from country to country. Perceive this phenomenon of the universe. You then become aware of the Conductor orchestrating the magnificent world.
Such an awareness drives humility into you. Renders you a spoke in the wheel of life revolving round the divine hub. Feeling neither important nor unimportant. But a part of the whole. Bereft of this fundamental knowledge, the management feels superior to labour, vice versa. The teacher feels superior to the taught, vice versa. A misunderstanding, which arises from the ego separating you from the rest of the world.
EGO, ACTS THREE WAYS
The ego functions in three ways disturbing, the mind. An agitated mind is a bad tool for planning, programming one's life.
The first of the three expressions is the feeling; I am supreme. An egoist suffers from a superiority complex. Irrespective of his station in life he is self-conceited, arrogant. He feels himself superior to the rest of humanity.
The second expression of ego is his feeling; I alone exist. He places himself on a pedestal. Commanding, demanding from one and all. Believing the world is meant to serve him. He assumes that self-imposed, all-important status.
The third expression is; I am the doer. A notion of agency arrogating everything to his doing. He fails to recognise those in the past and present who have directly or indirectly contributed to his achievement. The designer of a modern aircraft would be the egoistic to believe that he has done it all by himself. Blind to the millions who have made it possible for him to accomplish it.
Egoism causes mental agitation. The mind goes out of control. And leads one to loss of self-management, work management, time management.
MIND OUT OF CONTROL
The mind has a tendency to ramble into the past and future. It hardly remains focused on the present. It carries the worry of the past or projects the anxiety for the future. Consequently, it dissipates your energy. You become fatigued. Stressed. Whereas a child is all energy. It effervesces with action and cheer. An adult is much stronger than the child. Yet, the child is more energetic living in the present free from worry and anxiety. The mind generates endless desires. It develops greed, obsession which destroys its peace. However, a strong intellect directs the desire to a well-planned ambition, aspiration. A change which reduced agitation. Renders the mind peaceful. A relatively peaceful mind with its focus in the present can be directed to achieve one's objective in life.
Another malady of the mind is its weakness to live up to the Joneses. Your mind is concerned about others' opinion. Worried and anxious what the world thinks of you. Rather than what you are. You may be in poor shape. Yet people may rate you high. And you feel flattered!
The world suffers from complexes. Either an inferiority or a superiority complex. Rare is the one who is free of them. Why do you have to place yourself higher or lower than what you are. Learn to be happy as you are. And strive towards greater perfection in life.
Examine the above impediments. Study their impact upon your work and progress. Understand their corrosive effect. Try to get over them. Thus discipline your inner personality. Be self governed. You will then command your work, your time, everything. Conquer your mind, you conquer the world.
Source: An article written by Swamy A. Parthasarathy.