“Now go on and enjoy yourself, dance to your heart’s content and win the Prince’s heart. But remember, you have to be back before the clock strikes twelve at midnight.”
We all are familiar with the words of the Fairy God Mother in the evergreen fairy tale ‘Cinderella’. It’s these words that probably made us aware-for the first time in our lives-of the value of time. We all sympathized with Cinderella when all her splendid gown and other finery turned to rags at the stroke of midnight. Our first acquaintance with the villainous Time! But then, is time such a villain, who should always be painted in black? We have heard the proverb that says “there are no wounds that time cannot heal.”
Here of course we get the image of a wizened old woman who comes hobbling up to us with a pitcher full of balm and gentle fingers that soothe away all our pains and sorrows. But that’s enough! This post was not written to eulogize time. There is no need of the romance of Cinderella or the soothing finger of an old lady when we are talking about time. And do you know why? It’s because we do not have the time for it. We are going to try and understand time in its many faces.
No, I was not referring to the faces of watches or clocks. I was referring to the many meanings that time has. Oh yes it does! You thought that time meant the same to everyone. Well think again; or maybe you could try to explain the logic behind the following cases.
Picture a farmer who plants a sapling of a tree that would probably take ten to twelve years to reach the stage when it would start to bear fruit, by then the farmer would in likelihood be under the soil himself. Picture a jailbird in bird counting on the bars of his cell waiting for the seconds, minutes, and hours, days, weeks, months and years to go by before he can be free again.
Now picture a young couple madly in love with each other cherishing the few minutes they get to spend with each other every day, cursing time because it flies so fast when they are together and never the other way round. So what does time mean to you? When was the last time that you realized the value of time? The answer is probably the last time you watched one of those Hollywood thrillers in which the hero is driving a car in which a time-bomb has been planted and the hero is unaware of this. But we being the getting-to-see-it-all audience watch with bated breath as the tiny needle of the timer ticks towards the point at which the explosion is sure to occur.
But just before that, the hero hits the brakes screeches to a halt to avoid hitting that old lady crossing the road. And when he jumps out to help her cross the road the needle reaches the point and the bomb is exploded. And our hero is safe. It’s funny how the hero always escapes without a scratch in these movies. But I expect that’s why they call them heroes.
Now we are really transgressing aren’t we? So back to our subject that is Time Management. Do you know what is interesting about the concept of Time? It is absolutely uncontrollable. Personally I believe that there is something very humbling about this concept. Just imagine, man with all his power is just like a helpless babe before time. There it is Time stands tall and strong before man and man remains vulnerable and weak before it. Man, the big strong man who tamed rivers and seas, who reached out to the skies and beyond, who harnessed wind and water and dug up the bowels of the earth is but a worm before Time.
The best he can do to win the battle against time is die is hair and use some anti-wrinkle cream on his face. In fact, the closest that man has got towards conquering time is those many history books that have been penned; they are of course chronicles of events that happened long ago and that is certainly not much to boast about.
And so now we come to our subject that is time management because after all the illustrations given above, I hope that I have made one point clear, that is that Time cannot be controlled, it can only be managed. And that is what we are going to do. We are going to learn the art of time management. I don’t want you to have an air of helplessness. You might begin to feel that if the battle cannot be won, then what is point in putting up a struggle? Ah, but there you are missing out on a very important point. In all the illustrations that I used above, I was referring to man in general and not to one particular Tom, Dick or Harry.
So you can see that this aspect of time is applicable to every human being and there is no running away from it. Every person has only twenty four hours in a day and no force on earth can alter that. So in order to get the cutting edge what you have to do is to be able to manage your time in the most effective way possible.
And that is what Time management is all about. It’s about managing your time effectively and if I may I would like to add the word efficiently too.
Now, when we talk about our resources, every one knows that we are referring to the resources like fossil fuels, forests, mineral wealth, and water bodies and so on. But surprisingly time is never included in this list. When we talk about non-renewable resources, fossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas top the list. But what about time? A point that most people tend to forget is that time is the most valuable resource that we have, and time once lost, is lost for ever. We can think about alternate sources of energy for fossil fuels like electricity, fuel cells, solar energy and the research goes on. But is there any alternative for time that is lost.
Again I stress on the point that time once lost, is lost forever. And hence we have the proverb, “time and tide waits for no man.”