Today, I went into my usual class that I support some students in to find that the student I support was running late. And as always it made me think of the idea of punctuality and how it is important in our day and age to always be aware of the time. Why are people so infatuated with time? Why is it so significant in our lives? Why can't we just live and not worry about keeping time? Does it always have to do with organization and the idea that it improves our day to day lives?
A bit of History:
My thoughts trailed to ancient civilizations that were always interested in time; dividing up the years into months and then into days and then into hours and so on. I wanted to find out when the idea of time actually made center stage. The Egyptians were the first to divide the day into 24 hours even though the way they divided it was different than nowadays; the night was divided into 12 hours, the day into 10 and they had the extra 2 hours for the time before dawn and dusk. They used a shadow clock to keep track of time while the Babylonians, Greeks, Chinese and Romans used a sundial. OK... so they were able to tell time during the day... but what about their nights?
There were so many different ways of measuring time and many civilizations had different clocks such as water, candle and incense clocks. All sorts of clocks were built with many different shapes and sizes but the most famous ones were built by an Iraqi scholar, inventor and mechanical engineer, Al Jazari who lived during the Islamic Golden Age. The first mechanical clocks were invented in the 13 Century but unfortunately none survived.
BUT WHY? Why are people so obsessed with time? We have to keep our appointments, get to meetings on time or maybe even 5-10 minutes earlier... but is life like that? I mean, we decide the time of everything on this earth such as when we would like to get married, have a baby, set an appointment with a doctor, take a course... I understand that other people control OUR time as well but the only thing NO ONE has any control over is when death comes knocking on our door. I do not want to sound morbid or anything... it is just the truth of things. .
Time is an essential part of our lives even though we do not actively think about it much. It is a reference point by which we organize ourselves and live our day to day lives. We cannot really tamper with it because it moves forwards, never stops or slows down. Therefore, even though we sometimes do not understand why we should be looking at the time all of the time, the only thing to do is use it wisely and be able to work with it.... manage it... if we manage time we can manage our lives…
I am considered to be a very organized person who keeps appointments, is very punctual and does not usually procrastinate… I wasn’t always like that believe me… but I learned that from my mother who taught me how to appreciate time which helped me get through university using the tips that she provided me with. Here are a few:
1. Write your to-do list and prioritize them according to what is the most important tasks to do to the least important. In other words, the first ‘item’ on the list should be the project that you need to finish first.
2. Tackle difficult projects at a time when you need to be fresh and alert not when you are sleepy and ready to go to bed.
3. Plan your day based on where you would like to go or the meetings you have around town. For example: if you needed to do your grocery shopping, have a check up and then meet a friend. Check out the location you need to be for each of those and plan which one you need to do or go to first…Do you need to head out half an hour earlier? Are there any grocery stores close to where you are meeting your friend or have your doctor’s check up? So in a way you are planning your route but also trying to cut down on the amount of time you need to accomplish these tasks.
4. Be punctual to all your meetings and appointments as it would be a sign of respect to whomever you are meeting with. If you want people to be punctual to your meetings/appointments then you gotta do the same.
5. Make time for yourself and the people in your life. If you find that you do not have enough time in the day, then maybe waking up half an hour earlier each day would provide you with that time… remember though, if you wake up half an hour earlier it might be a good idea to go to bed half an hour earlier as well.
6. If you feel that you have many chores on your list then delegate… ask your partner to do the shopping or the cleaning, ask your children to be responsible for some chores at home such as tidying up their beds or taking out the trash, ask your subordinate or group member to be in charge of one task at work or with group projects.
7. If you had a task that you really did not want to do... just remember that it won’t go away and you will have to face the fact that you need to tackle it sooner or later. Therefore, the best advice I can give you is to do it NOW… the longer you take to deal with it, the more stressful it becomes and the more you think of it. Do it NOW and you can relax and forget about it. You will feel good. You need to motivate yourself with a promise of a reward when the task is done!
8. If you felt that you had too much on your plate for you to handle then say NO. If the demands on your time are unessential, then why take them on? If you are taking tasks that you struggle to juggle then you are being taken advantage of. Learn to say No in a professional and polite way. Know your limits… everyone has some. Do not think that it is the only way to prove yourself and your worth…. You can show your worth by saying NO!
9. Do not be a perfectionist…. Believe me… I try to be that and I am finding that it is a waste of my time… I could be spending that time with the special people in my life. I am not saying that you should do things haphazardly… no! Do your tasks/job/children’s birthdays/papers well but there is no need to go over things a gazillion times to make sure that everything is just perfect.
JUST LEARN TO ENJOY YOUR TIME WHILE DOING EVERYTHING!
Here are some website that can help manage your time and provide you with more information on this topic: