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Home lessons on time management

Having attended a few motivation classes and having resolved to become a motivation trainer in my own right, I decided to reinforce an area which has always failed me right from my birth — time management, TM for short. I say right from my birth because I was rather in a hurry to make my entry into the world, doing it two months ahead of schedule. This could be the physiological reason for my poor TM.

To come to the point, I decided to attend some crash programmes on time management. In one such session, the trainer, a person of good repute, enlightened us on the five Ps of time management — prioritise, plan, prepare, practise and perform. Everyone looked very impressed. It really amazes me that trainers invariably have a penchant for 3Rs, 4Hs, 5Zs and 6 what not!

He quoted the entire galaxy of time-conscious success gurus, Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard, Tom Peters, Shiv Khera, Norman Vincent Peale and whoever that mattered. Of the three sessions on time management that I attended, the last one I count the most precious. I counted every minute of it (you know even seconds!) because the fee I shelled out made me work out the amount per hour and as it seemed too exorbitant, I split it into minutes to salvage my conscience.

The entire gamut of theories on the topic made me gape in wonder. How much time might have the theorists spent (I mean spent, not wasted as some pessimists may tend to put it!) on all these speculation! How could they manage their time for this enormous exercise away from work if they had any!

One of the participants, the manger of a busy city bank, shared his time-imposed worry about having to attend numerous calls, enquiries that the callers, particularly NRIs, would only take from the manager’s mouth and visits of corporate officials for loans that they didn’t need at all; affix hundreds of mandatory signatures and paper work, do auditing rituals; and balance accounts which at times needed, in his own words, a more balancing act than tightrope walking — all this with just 24 hours available a day! The trainer seemed to offer a ready-made solution and it seemed our young manager was immensely impressed, but as he was getting up from his seat at the end of the session, he looked the very image of Galileo getting up from his knees after a forced confession extracted by the all-knowing Church that his earth-is-round theory was wrong.

Back home from the class, I had a new insight into the whole time management stuff triggered by a cup of coffee offered by my wife. Wife, a cup of coffee and time management. You may wonder what connects them. I sat there pondering how she gets up at the crack of the day, cook breakfast, pack lunches for all four of us, do the laundry, wake up her drone of a husband in three or so attempts in half an hour starting from 6 a.m., iron school uniform, attend to children’s complaints and occasionally mediate their squabbles and scuffles, lay the table for breakfast, clear the table after breakfast, rush to work where a whole lot of responsibilities await her, and back home in the evening, take a short break and then tend the vegetable garden, again cook, clean, entertain guests, help the children with their homework ... all the umpteen responsibilities that we write off as household chores!

Nobody taught her the five Ps of time-management. Yet from the moment she is up, things fall in place in a sharp timeframe. I thought that while I was yawning through my expensive time-management classes, here was my wife living time management of the highest order. What on earth made me spend a few thousand bucks for something that I could have got free of cost, sitting in the comfort of my own home! Then I justified myself: she didn’t know the five Ps, did she?

tujamesjnv@yahoo.com

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 10:05:43 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/home-lessons-on-time-management/article33587808.ece

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