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PAMHO. AGTSP. AGTSG&SG.
I was asked by many devotees about how we can manage time after we come to Krishna Conciseness (KC). Many think that if they start to chant 16 rounds of Hare Krishna Maha mantra, they will not be able to cope up with their prescribed duty. Be it a student or a working class, all are having this problem of managing the time effectively. Here is an attempt to help every one to improve our time management skills.I will be shearing a few of the tips that I learned during my initial days of KC and also that I have learned at my work place.
Time is very precious, once gone it will never return again. For a devotee, time management is one of the qualities that has to be developed and mastered. Every one has same 24 hours. But we see some do so much of service and some do not. But both class of people have same 24 hours in a day. Actually, nobody takes away our time but, we agree to give them. When I was a student and staying in hostel, I was wasting so much of time every day unknowingly. My friends would walk in and we would just sit and talk all nonsense in the world which has nothing to do with our curriculum nor it did improve our general knowledge nor we gained something out of it. But at the end of semester we would sit and cry how we wasted our precious time.
Before we understand how to manage the time, lets see a demo on that. This is a example most commonly used in any of the time management workshop. Take a wide mouth jar and some big rocks of the size of your fist. start putting the rocks inside the Jar. After placing all the rocks inside the jar (not protruding out), ask the question "Is The Jar Full?"
If your answer is yes then think again. There is still a lot of space left in between those rocks. Now take some small pebbles or gravel and start filling the same jar again. It may look like in below figure.
Now ask the same question again... is the jar full now????... If your answer is Yes... then think again... because there is still some space left in the jar. Take some sand and start pouring in to the jar. After you can put all the sand in jar, it may look like this...
Ask the same question again... is the jar full now??? if your answer is yes... then think again. Take some water and start pouring into the jar!!! It takes in good quantity of water to fill the jar completely. The jar looks like pic below.
Now ask the same question.... is the jar full? and the answer now is YES. You may be thinking, we have filled the jar, what we have to do this with time management? Actually there is a very important lesson to be learned. The jar in this example is our day which is 24 hours. It is same for everyone. Its up to us to decide what to fill in and how? The same rocks, pebbles, sand and water put in different order will result in a different situation all together. Lets say if we put the sand first then the pebbles and then rock and then water... we could not fit all in the same jar.
So, the idea is to put the big rocks first, then pebbles, then sand and lastly water. The big rocks is like the most important and urgent work which we have to do in a day like going to school/college/work etc, our daily sadhana which includes chanting, reading, hearing, temple visit, etc.. and other activities. We have to accommodate the time in the day for these activities on high priority. The pebbles are like secondary activities that are important but not urgent. Like say if I am preparing for GATE/GRE/TOFFEL/CAT/MAT or any other competitive exam, I can not just start preparing at the last moment. We need to put some effort since day one so that we can achieve the target. We can decide based on our time available what time can be spent on such activities. The sand is like the activities that are not important but urgent. some times we may get a call from some friends and we end up talking for over an hour and latter realize how worthless was the call as there was nothing much gained from the discussion. Lastly the water is like the activities that are neither important nor urgent. This can include activiites like spending time on FB etc... BTW.. for some people this may be a big rock also!!!!
If we fail to put all the big rocks first, then the whole planning is doomed and we end up saying "I don't have enough time". There are many ways how we can plan our day based on this four categories. This is also sometimes referred to as four quadrants in time management theory. In this, the X axis represents the urgency and the Y axis represents the importance. See the pic below for details.
Now the point is how to use this 4 Quadrants. You may be knowing about the famous TO-DO lists. For who does not know, TO-DO list is a list of all activities that are to be done in a day and is generally sorted by its priority. The same can now be clubbed with this 4 Q principle to get a hybrid time management planner. We can put in the activities that are required to be performed in the day in different Qs. I have seen some people just taking a piece of paper and folding it to form 4 Qs and use it to schedule their day. If you are a computer guy, and always be with it like I do, you can develop a xl sheet as shown below.
This is slightly complex one that I have there but has a lot of useful information. Since its in a xls sheet, you can put in lot of formula to calculate time available, time to spend on different Qs and also time for adhoc requests. If our day is like the Jar that is filled with rocks, pebbles, sand and water till brim, then its not a good sign of time management. There should be some breathing space. There should be some buffer available for any emergencies.
Ideal splitting of the day should be Q1 25%, Q2 65%, Q3 8% and Q4 2% for a very effective time management. You may slightly adjust the values as per need but it should not be changed too much. Also in the xls sheet we can see there is a column for planned duration and actual duration for all activities. Ideally in the morning we should prepare this, may be in 10-15 min and then keep updating as the day passes and also note down the actual time spent for any activity. End of day, we can do a cross check on how the time has been utilized or wasted. Some activity may just be a couple of minutes job but we may end up spending an hour because we went to do that activity and met with a friend and was talking for a long time.
By the end of day, there should not be any open Q1 or Q2 items. The items in Q2 are potential Q1s so be careful. Going back to our jar example, if we try to put in more rocks/pebbles into the jar, the jar will only break. If we try to plan too many things for a day, then we will end up doing nothing. So plan your work and work your plan should be the driving force in time management.
I hope this information was of some use to all devotees. I can share more in future if required. Any feed back or comment is welcomed.
Thank you once again.