Publication Date: 18 June 2007
"What is time to you?" Indeed, it will be quite an enlightening exercise if you pause to think about this question. To some, time is literally just seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years. For them, time flies. To others, time is a commodity that we use to trade for money, material goods or relationships. For this second group of people, time is never enough. Still others see time as life set in eternity. For them, what they do today has an impact on their tomorrow. How we perceive time and how much we understand its value will greatly impact the way we use time.
Too often we complain that we do not have enough time. "No time, no time" is the refrain that we hear so frequently. Yet if it is something that interests us, we can spend much time on the activity; sometimes even at the expense of doing other things. What is the real issue with time? I have been pondering on this question for a long, long time now – no pun intended! And will we ever have enough of it? I will now address this question in greater depth.
What is the real issue with time?
While we may complain that we do not have enough time, strangely enough, time is the fairest commodity. How much time is there in a day? 24 hours. No more, no less. And you do not have any more time than I have. Neither do I have any less time than you have. We all have 24 hours in a day. Hence, the complaint of "no time" is at best, one of perception. This is what I call the 'Perception' perspective. Yes, it may be true that you feel that you have limited time to do all the things you want to do; but then the issue is not with the lack of time; rather it is one of proper planning and prioritizing. This second issue is what I call the 'Planning' perspective.
Having effective and efficient time management techniques enhance our productive use of time. For example, spending a few minutes to write out the do-list and prioritize the tasks or activities before actually starting to do them is essential. Often, we get an overwhelming self-decapitating feeling of a lot of tasks not yet done but when in effect, we do not know what these tasks are and how much time they each require. Hence, some prior planning can help structure how the tasks ought to be completed. Also know when you perform at peak level and use that period of time for the more important tasks; not necessarily the urgent ones. The routine and mundane tasks can be attended to at your 'off peak-performance' hours. Modern technology such as handphones, SMSes, MSN chats and emails are an aid to planning so long as we are not enslaved to them.
The third issue – and in my mind, this is the REAL issue – is what I call the 'Purpose' perspective. Many people do not know their life purpose; much less being clear about their life vision and goals. We do need to be clear about our life purpose so that we can distinguish and do only those activities that align themselves with our life purpose. In life, let's do the few things to distinguish the ONE thing from the many things. Nowadays, the tendency and the danger is to do far too many things that distract and diffuse us from what God willed for us to do in our lives. Hence, the three issues concerning time management really center on the perspectives of 'Perception', 'Planning' and 'Purpose'.
Let's not be so busy teaching that we forget we have to take time to develop ourselves so that we are good at it!
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