– Bholanath Baranwal
We are very concerned about our assets and preserve it for prestige, comfort and utility. But, the unique asset “time” is disregarded by many of us, which is the only asset that cannot be manufactured, gifted, purchased or earned.
Only thing God has judiciously given equally to every creature on earth is time.
People who understand the value of time are more successful in every aspect. They get enjoyment and satisfaction from life, contrary to people who are stressed and confused, as they fail to organize themselves better.
Every person has various roles to perform, as individual, family, professional and social member. You can achieve more on all these four counts by having better management of time.
The first rule is to make personal commitment to yourself that you will respect your time and time of others.
Lost time is never found again. – Benjamin Franklin
Using digital diary or calendar is as easy as using mobile phone. You can select simple calendar on your mobile phone, or go for more sophisticated version such as:
Google [https://calendar.google.com/calendar/r?tab=rc1] or
All of them offer free trial time.
There are various advantages of using a digital calendar, compared to no diary or printed diary. Noting down your schedule and tasks in the calendar keeps your mind at ease, and you feel in-control. You will not fail to your appointments or targets.
The entries are grouped in phone, tasks or schedules. Some can be of repeat nature, like going to temple at a particular time daily or weekly. Such entries can be made once and set to repeat between date-range of your choice.
Phone calls you may want to make at a particular time today or on future dates. Once you tag the call to a particular person, you can also insert your note about the topic.
Various tasks for today or future dates can be listed and can further be divided in category like most important (red color), important (green color), less important (blue color) etc. You can view them importance-wise, date-wise etc.
You can insert your meetings and other activities like catching the train etc. You can set alarms to remind you of a particular activity at selected time, so that you do not miss it. The calendar is automatically synchronized between your mobile and computer at home or office, when you set it up once. If you make a change at one place, it is also changed in other devices effortlessly. You can view your entries in calendar in different ways, like daily, weekly or monthly basis. You can easily revise the same, in case of changes or cancellations.
You require database of contacts in your mobile and computer. Like “Calendar”, you will find “Contacts” in above three programs of Act!, Google and Outlook. It is possible to link phone, tasks and meetings with one or more contacts by making a single entry. They can be synchronized and altered, as explained in preceding chapter of “Calendar”.
The Contacts can be grouped. For example, you can make group of your “supplier”, “buyer”, “family” or “relative” etc. So, when you want to see all you suppliers together on one sheet, by clicking that group, they are listed together. You can make further sub-groups, with virtually no limit. Suppose few of your suppliers and buyers are member of Bharat Vikas Parishad [BVP Member]. You can tag them like wise. Then, you can search “BVP Member”. They will be listed from the groups of supplier and buyer both.
You can make report of the Contacts database, showing only that information you desire. For example, in one list you want their mobile number, other with full address. All these can easily be customized.
The first-time user can go on YouTube and watch free tutorial provided by these companies how to use various features.
I have been personally using Act! for early thirty years and found it very good. It can be synced with Outlook, Google and mobile phones.
Personal Time Management
There are things done daily, weekly, monthly or annually. You should make a list of these things and note the time required to do it. Check which activity is less important but taking more time, leaving lesser time at your disposal for doing more important things. You can re-plan things and take control, instead of things controlling you.
Doing morning & evening routine activities like exercise, newspaper reading, TV, hobbies, travelling to work place etc.
Going to temple, movie, concert, social meetings, library, hobbies etc.
Festivals, birthdays, anniversaries, upcoming weddings, medical check-up, tours, filing of tax returns etc.
Before start of the year, you should mark all holidays, annual, monthly and weekly schedules for the year. Daily routine, like leaving home at 09.00am to workplace is not required to be marked
in the calendar, as it becomes a habit. If you call a particular client say on every Tuesday at 3pm, mark it in your calendar, so that you do not miss it.
Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
– Carl Sandburg
Family Time Management
Family members and friends are very important.
You are polite to outsiders, but you may not be so to your own family and friends. You should plan time for them also, as you do it for yourselves and your profession. This may include inter-acting daily at least once, eating together, watching TV, going to movie etc. Each family member may have different time-schedule which may result sharing time once a week, instead of daily. You should consider these factors but encourage everyone in family to share quality-time. You will see how good you feel by doing so.
Indian family members traditionally have a “respectful” distance from elders or juniors and avoid speaking on tricky subjects. It is necessary to make appointment among family members, so that participants are prepared for it and their other schedule is not disturbed. There is nothing like a ‘right time’ to address family matters. It should be done whenever need is felt.
Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.
– Bil Keane
General Time Management
URGENT vs IMPORTANT
What is important may not be urgent and vice versa. You should take urgent first, albeit less important. Some tasks may not be important in your view, but it could be so for other person. Accordingly, you should set your priorities in your schedule.
KEEP YOUR COMMITMENT
If you promise to do something for your family, business associate or friend- do it. If you are unable, then you should inform it well in time. However, do not make it a practice; otherwise others will stop trusting you.
We live in imperfect world. Things do not happen as we envisage. Therefore, it becomes even more important to plan our time. If you have planned it well, you can be flexible and accommodate changes. Allow some margin between two activities. The first may exceed the allocated time, so the next should not suffer. Be ready to accommodate cancellations or surprises. Managing it digitally is much easier.
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
– William Penn
Starting and closing a meeting or dinner appointment will ensure the execution of agenda, goals and hospitality of the host gracefully. You should always be on time for meetings or social gathering. It is the respect you show for your time and for others too. In our present lifestyle, you want to accomplish many things within 24-hours. Everyone plans to do several things in the same timespan. If a meeting is held up, because you are late; everyone goes under-stress including yourself provided you realize your responsibility. If meeting is started without you, you miss the proceedings. Other people will not take you seriously.
The excuses like traffic jam should not be used. Inevitable things like this should be factored in travel time if they are frequent. If you go to another city and are unfamiliar about travel-time, ask the right people. Add margin to it, because often local people indicate lesser time than actual and add possible time-loss in finding the right destination.
There could be some situations beyond your control like road accident or vehicle failure. Depending on the nature of meeting, you should call or send text message / WhatsApp about your expected delay. If people are still waiting for you to start the meeting, apologize briefly for being late and go to business points directly. If meeting is already started, just sink in. Apologize for being late during the tea-break or after completion of the meeting.
Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.
– M. Scott Peck
Respect is two-way traffic. You should respect others to be respected. Nobody knows everything. Someone knows something better than you. If the other person has not understood your point, do not say “you don’t understand”. Say, “I could not explain it well. Let me try again.” The other person becomes more receptive with your courtesy. This is not only a good etiquette, but also time-saver.
Avoid unnecessary arguments or repeating same points. In case of descent, it is even more important to remain courteous, especially because you are voicing contrary to popular view.
If you are calling someone for the first time and he is not well known to you or holds a senior position, you should send a brief text message or WhatsApp introducing yourself and asking for his convenient time to call. Otherwise he may not pick up your phone or is irritated while talking to you. This will save your time and you achieve your goal quickly.
You should always keep your mobile on silent mode during a meeting or dinner. Avoid taking less important calls or from unknown numbers. If you feel it is absolutely necessary to take the call; briefly bow your head to the chairman or other person; and move away from the table or house to take the call. Be brief as much as possible and resume. Most mobile phones have sms templates (you can customize it), which can be sent to the caller informing that you are unable to take the call and you will call later. By adopting this simple practice, you can optimize everyone’s time including yours.
Time = Life. Therefore, waste your time and waste of your life, or master your time and master your life.
– Alan Lakein
You should hear patiently and then give your comments only when asked. Once you have given a suggestion or opinion, it is not anymore yours but of the house. Give respect to contradictory views, and tone down provocations. You will see how healthy the atmosphere in the meeting remains, and how much more you can achieve in its objectives in lesser time.
Whenever you find yourself on the other side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect.
– Mark Twain
The person chairing or conducting the meeting should always prepare agenda in advance and send to all participants in time, so that they come prepared. Allocate time for each agenda item. Take light things first to create the mood. Most important things in the middle and then again light things at the end to regain the good mood. If you find any agenda item is dragged in excessive debate, defer it and move to next point. The contentious agenda item may be taken later with time-allocation for healthy debate only, so that objective is fulfilled.
Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.
– Samuel Smiles
I hope you will have more fun and success by following simple tools of time management.