Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Manage Your Time, all the Time

Time Management

What is Time Management? Why we should spend our time and energy on Time Management? What are the objectives of Time Management? Why it is important to us?

One of the popular misconceptions is that Time Management is to improve your productivity and profits at the work place. Nothing can be far removed from the reality, though it is partially true. But if you concentrate on this aspect alone, you are sure to fail.

For Time Management is essential as much at the Work place as at your home. Time Management is essentially to improve your standard of living, which includes your Business as well as your family. Without a family, there is no use for your earnings, and without earnings, there cannot be a happy family. The time you spend on your business should be spent wisely so that it maximizes your profits which increases the living standards of your family and keep it happy, at the same time allowing quality time with your family to enjoy the fruits of your success.

With this in mind, I shall proceed further.

Time Management is a part of Management Sciences. But it vastly differs from others types like Business Management, Human Resources Management, Financial Management and the like.

In Business Management, you have various strategies to increase your sales and profits. According to the sales, you can either increase or decrease your production; employ various schemes to increase your sales to boost your profits. In Financial Management, you have the liberty to borrow from outside sources or generate internal revenues, increase or decrease the investment according to the production demands. In Human Resources Management, you can afford to Hire or Fire employees according to the needs of the organization.

But in the case of Time Management, your resources are fixed and restricted; fixed in the sense you have got only 24 hrs to manage and restricted in the sense that you cannot extend your working hours beyond a certain limit. So Time Management is basically a tool to manage the limited resource for optimum utilization.

The Normal tips for Time Management are as below:

1. Time is the same 24 Hrs for everybody.
2. Time cannot be saved as in the case of money.
3. Planning your day, scheduling helps improve your efficiency.
4. Prioritizing yours tasks in the descending orders helps.
5. Time and tide waits for None.

First we will shatter all these myths, which in a way makes us fear the Time Devil.

Time is the same 24 Hrs for everybody.

Nothing can be far from the truth. For instance, 1 Hr in USA is not equivalent to 1 Hr in India, like 1 $ is not equivalent to 1 Re. Surprised? I will explain.

1 Hr in USA is equivalent to at least 150 Kms of travel whereas in India it is maximum of 70 Kms of travel. Let us take the example within a country. From Tambaram to Chennai Egmore, to cover a distance of 25 Kms, it takes around 90 Min. whereas to cover the same distance from Puducherry  to Cuddalore, it takes only 45 Min.

To have a Dosa and Coffee in a Star Hotel, it takes around 2 Hrs, while in an ordinary Hotel, it takes around 45 Min. and in a road-side café (Kaiyendhi Bavan) it takes hardly 15 Min.

The time taken for Shaving for Mr.A may be 20 Min. while for Mr.B it may be 10 Min. (For Vijaya T.Rajender it is 0 Min)

So the value of time differs from place to place, from person to person. Therefore, when someone says that Time is the same 24 Hrs. for everybody, please do not believe this.

Time cannot be saved as in the case of Money. Says who?

I will prove that you Can.

Let us take the following illustration.

You get a Telephone Bill, the due date being 25th. Today it is only 5th. Whenever you are having some free time, why not pay the bill in advance so that you can save that time on the 25th? Not only that, you may have to spend some 15 Min. for paying the Bill on the 5th while you may have to stand in the Queue for more than 1 Hr on the 25th. So the surplus time you have invested is repaid with interest. Thus it is clear that Time can also be invested as money and the rate of interest is much higher.

Planning and Scheduling.

Planning your day improves your efficiency, right? Nope, you are wrong. Rather, it increases your Blood Pressure levels and makes you less productive.

The Schedules and Appointments of Big Guys are sacrosanct and there will not be any deviation. But to follow the same practice is a sure way for failure. With Indians well known for their punctuality, we may not be able to stick to our plan, thereby resulting in tension and higher BP levels.

Prioritizing in Descending order.

This means giving Most Important tasks the first place and the More Important the next place and so on.

Well, you have got an appointment with MrA at 10 AM which is categorized as Most Important. And another appointment with MrB at 11 AM which has been categorized as More Important. What if MrA delays your appointment and drags the meeting for more than an hour?

You will start getting tense, what with MrB calling you on your mobile every now and then, apologizing to MrB and making MrA anger with repeated interruptions.

Time & Tide waits for None.

Let me ask you something. Will a Town Bus wait for anyone? Nowadays even a lover does not wait for more than 10 Mins. If you are late by 15 Min. you get a SMS saying “YOU ARE LATE DEAR. I AM GOING WITH X. C U LATER”.

So what is so special about Time?

It is only to imbibe a sense of importance to Time. But it creates an undesirable side-effect. That is a fear-psychosis as far as punctuality and Time are concerned.

Thus far we have seen the common Myths about Time Management. I may seem to be just a critic, who can only criticize but cannot give anything concrete and useful.

Please wait Gentlemen.

I have shown you that the value of Time differs from time to time. So to best utilize the time difference, buy time where it is cheap and save more. Unable to understand?

Let us say at Post Office A, it takes around 30 Min. to send a Registered Letter. Somewhere else, there will a small branch where there will be very less crown and where you can finish the job within minutes. That is your place. Instead of buying High-Value time, buy Low-Value time and save your energy and resources.

Whenever you have free-time between your appointments or as a result of any cancellation or being held-up at a place for any reason, instead of fuming over the delay, try to use it in a beneficial manner. Utilize the time thereby investing this time to be reaped later.

Do Plan your day. But instead of fixed schedule, make it highly flexible. This is to be combined with the next step. Keep a To-Do list. Carry forward all your unfinished tasks at the end of the day to the Next day. Write down all your tasks one-by-one, even if it is far advance. Strike out all the finished tasks.

When you are giving or getting appointments, remember the Murphy’s Law: If something can go wrong, it Will go wrong. So DO NOT put two important tasks consecutively. Keep a Buffer Zone. Between two important tasks, keep one least important task, so that even if there is some time over-run in either of them, you can be comfortable and tense-free. Now did you get the magic solution?

Combining Things:

Always remember to combine things. When you are going to someplace, try to finish certain tasks which you can do at nearby places. Thereby you are cutting down on the transport time to reach that place at some other time.

In essence, Time Management is essentially a very easy task, which requires some ingenuity and interest. There is no Universal solution for Time Management; only customized individual solutions. There is no one better qualified to manage your time than yourself. You have to utilize your time in an optimum way, without wasting anything.

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