Time management#HRLADYSHIP Heather Gupta • September 23, 2015
We all know those people. The ones who come running in late to a meeting, hair flying, clothes askew, bag spilling tissues and papers and half eaten chocolate bars, mumbling about “traffic” under their breath . Maybe we are one of those people, perpetually late, eternally in a rush, unable to get anywhere on time.
And then there are those people who are always punctual, who show up to the same meetings (in the same traffic) at least 10 minutes early so that they can organise themselves and prepare for the meeting, calm, smiling and exuding zen vibes. They are cool, composed and always on top of things.
The irony is, that both types of people have the exact same 24 hours in a day.
So why do so many of us find it so difficult to manage our time well?
For a start, India’s cities are perpetually in a hurry, everyone is always rushing from place to place, and yet very few people really have respect for others’ time. Its almost as though everyone is so engrossed in their own issues and lives, that being on time is either too taxing or just plain unnecessary. Attitudes to timeliness (or even turning up at all) are pretty lax – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve invited people to a party and despite “firm” confirmations, they haven’t turned up. No call, no excuse, no apology.
Mumbai, the city in India which I know best, is slow to start in the morning. The concept of a 10am office start time is almost unthinkable, let alone a meeting. Its impossible to get a cappuccino before 11am – most coffee shops open late, which is baffling to early risers. And equally, the concept of leaving the office, along with the rest of the world, at 5pm, is also unthinkable. We’ve reached the office after 11, had a few chai breaks, a late lunch, and we’re just warming up by 5pm! The real work starts after 6pm, and often goes late into the night.
Despite these cultural quirks, many Mumbaikars do manage to get to the office early (even when they’ve left late) and they are always on time for business meetings and social events alike.
The reasons are simple.
Firstly, they respect others’ time. Being late for a pre arranged meeting, whether in the office or in a bar, is plain disrespectful. Not turning up at all is ridiculously rude. Time, after all, in precious, and in many cases, time is money.
Secondly, they manage their time brilliantly. They plan those 24 hours, making sure they get the most out of them. Simple tricks like a quick review of the day in the evening, proactively making time for friends and family as well as work (that elusive “work life balance” we always hear people talk about), and writing manageable to do lists.
Finally, they don’t try and do everything at once. They take one task at a time, focusing on getting the big, onerous, scary ones out of the way, breaking them down into manageable chunks and pushing ahead even when the going gets tough.
Remember, we all have the same 24 hours in any one day.
Some of us will change the world, others will dream … and dream … and dream. What would you rather do?