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Time Management

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Speaking Tree
10th July, 2020 16:04 IST

Total summation of time available to a person is equal to the life of that person, writes PAWAN KUMAR SINGH

We are often told that money is a liquid asset. But money is liquid only until authority continues to uphold it as a promissory note and the taker agrees to accept it. Therefore, liquidity of a currency is vulnerable; it can be curbed any time. Time is also liquid and it has eight main characteristics:

1 Time is considered a liquid asset. One can use or misuse the given time, choosing from hundreds of options available.

2 Time has two dimensions, horizontal and vertical. The horizontal dimension of time is quantitative in nature and vertical dimension is qualitative. To measure time’s horizontal dimension, we have invented devices like watches and calendars. They measure the length of time. But we haven’t been able to invent ways to measure the vertical, qualitative dimension of time. One might have spent years with a neighbour, without even a single quality interaction. Whereas one may have met someone for a few minutes only, yet those moments have become memorable, forever. When we spend time with love, commitment and awareness, the vertical dimension of time becomes functional.

3 Time has three facets — past, present and future. The present is the only reality because past is the ‘then’ present and future is the deferred present. Therefore, there is nothing except present.

4 Time is ephemeral; it is always slipping out because there is no moment of pause. Those who are at a mature age, realise that their thirties slipped out faster than their twenties and the forties ran out faster than the thirties and so on.

5 The nature of time keeps changing. Good times do not last, and turbulent times, too, do not continue with the same intensity. Sometimes the transition between these two types of time is sudden and we need to address such transitions with maturity.

6 Though time is neither our friend nor foe, however, a particular time may be favourable, neutral or unfavourable for us. Favourable time gives yield at an increasing rate of return. Unfavourable time gives proportionately less yields compared to efforts undertaken.

7 Time is priceless. It is said that proper utilisation of time is profit, and missing out on it is a loss. Procrastination has been equated with death. Adhyatma Upanishad declares: Pramaado Mrityuh. Adi Shankaracharya states in the Vivekachudamani: Pramaado mohah tato aham dheeh tato bandhah tato vyathaa — ‘Procrastination leads to infatuation, infatuation leads to misplaced ego, egoistic tendencies lead to bondage, and bondage leads to pain.’ Shankara warns that a person dominated by procrastinating habits keeps falling at a faster pace, just like a ball released on top of the stairs keeps gaining momentum in the process of falling.

8 Time is representative of life because total summation of time available to a person is equal to the life of that person. Therefore, time management at its highest order is life management. Valmiki suggests in the Ramayana that a person with the right perspective of life needs to allocate time for different portfolios like, artha, kama, and dharma. And moksha, attaining understanding of the Truth.

The epic Mahabharata suggests that in certain cases, procrastination is desirable. It states: Raage darpe cha maane cha, drohe paape cha karmani, apriye chaiva kartavye chrakaari prashasyate — ‘One is praised if one procrastinates in having attachment, having egoistic attitude, having desire for superiority, having hate towards someone, indulging in sinful acts, and having tendency for distasteful actions.’ ■\

The author is director, Management Development Institute, Gurugram

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