Time is money, as the saying goes. We are expected to utilize our time carefully and prudently. Those who do not take advantage of their time and are not organized, may be wasting it and end up regretting it. The moment that is wasted or gone, it never comes back.
However, there are some people in our society, who have no sense of time. For example,
I had to see a doctor recently. I arrived at the doctor’s office 15 minutes before my appointment. The waiting room as expected was full of patients sneezing and coughing.
To while away the time, I checked the magazines on the coffee table and was amazed to find most magazines were suitable for women and some on parenting, even though the doctor must know fully well that many of his patents are men. We men also have rights you know and would preferred to have non-sexiest magazines, such as Time or Macleans. It probably didn’t dawn on the good doc that rights of both men and women are covered by such magazines.
To add insult to injury, the magazines were last year’s. May be he is not making enough money to subscribe to current magazines. Our good doctor was so busy minting money that he had neglected to subscribe to current editions of the magazine.
I started conversation with the person sitting next to me. To my utter disappointment, I learnt that the poor chap had an appointment an hour ago but still was waiting for his turn. This obviously didn’t give me a good feeling. I could see myself sitting there, probably till 5:00 p.m. and then tackle the rush hour traffic going home. That’s exactly what happened by the time I finished my appointment and began the journey home, needless to say, cursing the damn doctor.
It bugs me when the so-called professional people have no value for time. Do they think all patients are unemployed and therefore have no commitments? Another group of so-called professionals, also used wasting time, are lawyers. They as we all know charge you by the hour and they also include minor things like photocopying, telephone charges etc. I would have preferred if the lawyer increased his bill by an extra $10 an hour but include these incidentals. You know what will happen to suggest to these lawyers that the time a client wastes waiting in the lawyer’s office should be deducted from the bill.
When I owned a weekly newspaper, if those who came for interview in the office had any photocopying to be done were given free of charge in addition to conducting a free interview and publishing the story in the newspaper. And believe me, weekly newspapers do not make money anywhere closer to what a lawyer makes. I wish some of these people would learn from our examples of service.
One thing that all these years in journalism has taught me is to keep time. As a reporter when I went to a meeting, I expect the meeting to start on time. That’s why I enjoyed going to town council, school boards and municipal council meetings because they always started on time. And later, when I became a copy editor, it was always dealing with deadlines and headlines – everything that taught me the value of keeping time and finishing work according to set deadlines.
These time saving habits are now ingrained in me. I make up a list of things to be done one day before and try to divide my time accordingly. Of course sometimes, the timetable is screwed up if have to confront unexpected issues.
The whole process of scheduling and proper use of time is called time management. Wikipedia describes time management as a process of planning and exercising conscious control over the amount of time spent on specific activities, especially to increase effectiveness, efficiency and productivity.
In order to gain maximum benefit from time management, one has to create an environment conducive to effectiveness and setting priorities. Dale Carnegie and some universities and colleges do offer classes on time management. Most of them suggest that it is a good idea to use an electronic or paper-based day planner to organize, prioritize and schedule one’s day.
As a writer, I have to divide my time between writing, appointments and various other activities to be done in a day. It’s important for me to allocate some time to writing, preferably everyday, otherwise you tend to loose your thoughts. I am sure many of you, like me, are in the habit of starting your computer first thing in the morning to check your messages. Not a good idea because one’s you have checked your important and urgent messages, there is a tendency to sit on the computer and open other messages. The result is that you get hooked to it.
Telephone is the other culprit that I find disturbs one’s routine. Some friends believe that since you are not gainfully employed, meaning don’t have a nine-to-five job, they can phone you anytime they want for a friendly or social call. Call displays are important for that and one should practice not answering such calls. I prefer to go to my neighbourhood library with my laptop and I feel the studious atmosphere prompts me to work for several hours continuously. Despite all these precautions, remember that it’s impossible to get everything done but good time management practice will bring maximum results. Time is a new currency; spend it wisely.