Thursday, January 8, 2009

Is It Time To Manage My Time?

I am sleepy even as I am blogging this article.

I have been having very little sleep in the past weeks but not because I am insomniac. I am proud to say that I have the ability to switch to sleep mode the moment my head hits the pillow.

So what could be the problem?

The truth is that I have been greedily extending my waking hours by eating into my snooze zone because there are so many things I want to do. The emphasis here is that 'I want to' rather than 'I must'. I am fully aware that it is a choice that I have made.

If there is anything that is perfectly fair for everyone, it has to be the 24 hours per day that we all have everyday, except may be, on the first and last day of our tenure on Earth. If that is the case, why is everyone around me screaming 'no time' all the time?

'Time Management' immediately creeps into my head at this juncture. For a long time since I learnt the term, I have blamed my 'no time' problem on my lack of time management skills and I have constantly battled to answer the question "How can I improve it?".

People around me (the helpful ones) suggested that I should try some courses or read some books. The rest just shrugged and said that the problem is perennial. I dismissed the latter and tried courses and books.

I must say that I was initially rather impressed with what I could take away from those aids. I often harvested useful techniques and tips on how I could have managed my time better. It was fairly exciting and each time I could not wait to apply what I have learnt.

So, am I better after several courses and books? Nay!

I have come to a point and realized that time management is neither a set of hard skills nor soft skills. Rather, it is mostly about a set of disciplines. With hindsight, what the course trainers and book authors attempted to share was merely the same set of common sense put across in different ways.

Most of the time, the ideas shared seemed so convincing that there was little or no emphasis on the very important prerequisite of successful time management, i.e. discipline.

I feel rather duped.

I look around. We have impressive time-saving technologies that claim that we can do more with less time. I have calendaring tools to replace my leather-bound filofax. I have email applications which promise to shoot mails without the help of a postman. I can carry my mobile phone around and lose no time in getting in touch with another. My bills are paid without me having to lift my fingers as the banks have advanced machines which can just suck out my money for my creditors. I can rattle on but I believe you get the point.

Ironically, we seem to lead a busier lifestyle today even though we are surrounded by more time-saving devices.

I think the answer is not in 'time management'. The real recipe to solve the 'no time' problem is quite simple actually: get a handful of common sense and stirred into a generous amount of discipline. That is it.

Now, my common sense tells me that it is time to catch some sleep.

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