Ask anyone today for doing a task and in all probability you are going to hear the banal excuse ” I would love to, but I don’t seem to have time!” Also most of these people do seem excessively busy and driven 24*7 with a sense of urgency – but somehow they also project to you that they are neither at peace with themselves nor happy in doing the large task list. Their expression convinces you that they do really want to trade couple of items on their list to take up your interesting task
On the other hand you are bound to see few happy and “at ease” people (though you need to really search) – who in all likeliness may also refuse to do the task you have indicated. But they would tell you “I don’t think I want to do this task. I am sorry” – And you would promptly get offended by such arrogance. You would wish this person was more like the former – who wanted to actually do your work.
But then the truth is neither of them did your work!! But the second person is more at peace with himself and may spend his time doing things that are worthwhile and productive, while the first one would constantly be frustrated. Now who would you like to be? Very often in the run to be in midst of things, be recognised and also at time to fuel our ego – we say yes to everything that comes to our table – in the chronological order – without thinking of their relevance to our personal/professional goals, our preference and most importantly the value one attached to one’s own time.
Last week as I threw myself into a particular work that demanded lot of solitude and extensive study – I found myself spending 3 days without getting onto Facebook, Twitter, Calls or emails. And when I emerged from my this short sojourn I was happy to have completed a very important task well but was also equally surprised that life still went on. Everything was the same. There were these “URGENT” work that became “LET ME WAIT” activities and still justice was done to them. There were these “Meetings at office”, “Now or never decisions” that all arranged themselves neatly to accommodate my time. Infact people around me also got more organized and were prepared when we met for decisions. The meeting that could have taken normally 45 mins got done in less than half the time – with better.
I realised in the three days – I had got more efficient by not doing a horde of things. I had got more efficient by saying “No” to activities that appeared on my horizon based on what was really important and valuable for me and my organization. I had learnt to manage time not by over optimizing i;e by trying to do 10 things where I could have done 8 – but by actually doing only 5 important and needed things when I could have done 5 important and 3 non-value add activities.
By doing less I was infact doing more!! And my value of time actually increased from both my perspective and the system’s perspective.
I realised through this process why people are unable to teach one value of time. It is because you will know the value of time only when you have it. And it takes a lot of courage to have it – because it means saying “No”