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Better time management for happiness and success

Thus to create better and well-balanced citizens we need to inculcate in our children the power of concentration and make them focus on the work at hand. They will then have all the time in the world to do great and wonderful things.

Anil K. Rajvanshi Nov 15, 2022
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Where is the time? This is the general refrain that one regularly hears from a modern-day harried person. Everybody is pressed for time. Has the time really shrunk?  Physical time is going at its regular pace since eternity, but it is our perception of time that seems to have shrunk. 

Part of the reason is our insecurity which gives us the feeling that we are not achieving enough and results in a time-shrinkage perception. This in turn leads to anxiety and unhappiness. We sometimes seem to be following the maxim “we are running all the time but going nowhere”.  And in these times of uncertainties like pandemic, wars, etc. that insecurity has further increased. 

Even without pandemic, time management was always a problem and a challenging task for most people. Increased choices have further exacerbated this problem since it increases the insecurity of missing out. With a lack of wisdom in prioritizing what is important and what is not, time management has become worse. 

One of the outcomes of this insecurity is the multitasking behavior that lots of people exhibit. Due to the fear of losing out, they would like to do many things at the same time with the result that nothing is done properly. This insecurity results in a feeling of emptiness since we always feel that we could have achieved more. Thus anxiety and worry are a sign of our perception that there is not enough time.       

How to better manage time

powerful brain gives us the wisdom to evaluate all the choices and can give us peace of mind by enabling us to do better time management. Such a brain is developed through 'sanyam' which Sage Patanjali defines as a combination of concentration, contemplation, and meditation on a single thought. 

All great people manage their time well. In fact, I feel that the greatness of a person is exhibited by how well he or she manages their time. Endowed with a powerful mind they do their work by being totally immersed in it. They do not fret or worry about what could or should have been. With the passage of time, their body of work adds up to a considerable amount and shows up as a part of their achievements. 

These people also achieve better time management by an efficient delegation of work. I feel the hallmark of greatness is proper delegation of work. However for that one has to be very secure and not threatened by the thought that those who have been delegated the task will become powerful and more important than them. 

The general tendency that we see today the world over, is the centralization of power. This is a sign of insecurity in top leaders. Mahatma Gandhi said he took whatever workers God sent him, delegated work to them, and hoped that they will learn and improve. And when he got talented people, he liberally delegated important work to them. 

Internal security is also needed so that we do not keep on worrying about whether that person is doing the work properly. Otherwise, the whole basis of delegation is defeated. 

Examples of time management

Gandhi was a great manager of his time. To him every small thing had value and hence he devoted all his attention and energies to the work at hand. Whether it was working on the charkha (spinning wheel), or launching a major national movement, all things were equally important to him, endowed with a powerful mind he focused on them one at a time with tremendous concentration. 

There is an anecdote about Gandhi’s time management. A person was given an appointment with him for two minutes. People were curious as to what that person will be able to discuss in two minutes with Gandhi let alone get a solution to his problem.  So after his appointment was over his friends asked him about the outcome of his meeting. He told them that Gandhi gave 150 per cent of his attention to him during those two minutes and he felt that he got the solution to his problem! 

Similarly Albert Einstein, the high priest of time, was neither flustered nor did he ever complain about time wastage. Once a famous European scientist came by train to meet Einstein, which was quite late.  The scientist apologized profusely to Einstein for making him wait for him at the station.  Einstein calmly replied that it was no problem since he used the opportunity to think about a physics problem he was working on. 

Einstein once jokingly explained the relativistic nature of time: “If you are with a beautiful girl in a park the hours appear to be minutes, while if you are sitting on a hot plate then even a minute is like an hour”!

Power of concentration

Thus when we enjoy our work then the sense of time simply vanishes, and we are completely immersed in the work. All of us have experienced this feeling some time in our lives. That enjoyable feeling comes from the power of concentration and internal security. 

Somehow, we do not teach or inculcate this habit in our children. Presently children right from childhood are bombarded with innumerable choices which create attention-deficit behavior and does not help them improve their concentration. 

The increasing power of concentration also gives us a perspective in life since it allows us to evaluate a large number of choices. This helps us to differentiate between the important and the trivial issues, allowing us to focus on the important ones which give us the luxury of doing things at a leisurely pace without hurry. Besides it also makes us reduce our greed and helps us live sustainably.             

Thus to create better and well-balanced citizens we need to inculcate in our children the power of concentration and make them focus on the work at hand. They will then have all the time in the world to do great and wonderful things.

(The writer, an IIT and US-educated Indian engineer,  a 2022 Padma Shri award winner, is the Director, of Nimbkar Agricultural Research Institute, Phaltan, Maharashtra. Views are personal. He can be reached at anilrajvanshi@gmail.com)

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Tue, 11/15/2022 - 16:55
Time management, as the author points out, is crucial to leading a fulfilling life. For time is something that can never be turned back -- at least, as far as we know!
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Tue, 11/15/2022 - 19:11
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