Let’s Manage Our Time More Effectively

S. M. Rayhanul Islam..

Perhaps we are aware of the saying: “What is the longest, yet the shortest; the swiftest, yet the slowest; all of us neglect it, and then we all regret it? Nothing can be done without it, it swallows up all that is small and it builds up all that is great?”

It is TIME.
Time to many people is simply a measure or yardstick of seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks and years. When they think of time, they see either a clock or a calendar; it has only one dimension- duration. This is the shallowest concept of time. No great masterpieces were created by those who gave importance to this concept. The tragedy of this concept of time is it destroys initiatives, discourages creative impulses, and leaves nothing to fill the time allotted to it. But we have those individuals who give real meaning to life by giving the great quality of depth to time. To those people, time is no longer imprisoned by the clock or shackled by the calendar. Their accomplishments are government by a spirit of dedication and enthusiasm, not by ours or weeks. They have committed their hearts to a task they love and their work is a mission blazing with purpose.
So time is the most important resource we have. We believe that time is more than money; it is our life. The proper management of time is certainly one of the first items on any formula for success. Our beloved Prophet (pbuh) said that: “Not a single dawn breaks out without two angels calling out: Oh! Son of Adam, I am a new day and I witness your actions, so make the best out of me because I will never comeback till the Day of Judgment.” Killing time is not just a crime, it’s a murder!
Whenever we say, “We don’t have time”, all we are saying is, there are other things more important to us. Here are some practical GUIDELINES to help in planning our TIME:
1.    Keep a task list within your time management system. When a new task comes up, write it and the proposed finish date down on the time management sheet.
2.    Always have a pen and paper or a small notebook in your pocket so that you can jot down plans and ideas during spare time.
3.    Routine is a way of making life easier. A task like opening the mail could be handled first thing in the morning- this could be part of your daily routine.
4.    Develop routines for your daily and weekly planning. For example, you could do the next day’s planning in the last 15 minutes before you go to bed or the next week’s planning last thing on a Friday.
5.    Don’t postpone today’s work till tomorrow. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring. It is a great relief if you start the day with no work left over from yesterday.
6.    Include unscheduled time as part of time management. This will allow time to cope with emergencies, attend to friends or relatives- and also give you some opportunity to think.
7.    Always try harder! Since duties are always more than the time available, this habit can make us more productive and beneficial.
Everyone wastes time to some extent. Our aim should be to minimize time-wasting — both for ourselves and our family. Here is a list of common time-wasters and suggestions on how to solve some time-wasting problems:

Time-waster: Not devoting the greatest amount of your time to your key result areas. You can waste a lot of time on activities that are not productive or efficient.
Possible solution: Use an effective time management system to eliminate this problem.

Time-waster: Phone calls during your most productive time. These break your concentration and line of thought.
Possible solution: Don’t hesitate to tell the people when you do not want to take calls.

Time-waster: Disorganized paperwork.
Possible Solution: Handle each piece of paper only once and file regularly.

Time-waster: Over-Commitment.
Possible Solution: Don’t take on too many tasks- learn to say ‘No’.

Time-waster: Uninformed visit to a friend.
Possible solution: Never visit a friend without informing or calling him/her by phone.

Time-waster: Traveling and Waiting time.
Possible solution: Use the time for reading and catching up with paperwork.

Time-waster: Poor communication.
Possible solution: Make sure that you know the WHEN, WHERE, WHAT and WHY of the task.

Time-waster: Rest times.
Possible solution: Plan rest times and try to match them with prayer times.

Time-waster: Spare time.
Possible solution: Utilize spare time by reading, memorizing or doing something constuctive.

Time-waster: Bad time keeping.
Possible solution: Late starts, early finishes and prolonged breaks should be strictly controlled.

Time-waster: Thoughtless people.
Possible solution: Avoid people who are thoughtless and selfish enough to steal your time.

Time-waster: Lack of energy.
Possible Solution: You should determine the time of day or week when your energy levels are high and schedule demanding tasks for this time.

Time-waster: Poor health and lack of fitness.
Possible solution: Do physically and mentally stimulating exercise to keep in shape. Include sufficient time for family, friends, relatives and other interests.

Important things to remember about TIME:
l    Take time to think, it is the source of power;
l    Take time to play, it is the cistern of perpetual youth;
l    Take time to read, it is the foundation of wisdom;
l    Take time to pray, it is the greatest power on earth;
l    Take time to be friendly, it is the road to happiness;
l    Take time to laugh, it is the best lubricant;
l    Take time to give, life is too short to be selfish;
l    Take time to work, it is the price of success; and
l    Take time for MEDITATION, it is the science of living.
As we can see, there are many practical ways we can manage our time more effectively. We should not forget to try them out in our work and study. We must remember that there is no instant recipe for a time management system – we should develop one according to our own needs.

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