I am invited to conduct a two-hour Workshop on ‘Time Management’ to a group of youngsters tomorrow. My good friend, Mr. Uday, has organized this Workshop (For MINDFLEX/ MUSIC GURUKUL) and also sent me some material on the subject.
I haven’t seen the material, yet.
These are just youngsters, of 15 to 20 age group. Their world orbits around their Schools and Colleges… their tuition classes, some special classes like Computer, Dance or Drawing, some Entrance-exam classes like CET/CPT/CAT, or even these Self-Growth Workshops. Not to forget their Blackberry and Face book friends… For some, it is TV or sports… or just hanging around, yes, just for the bliss of it. Oh yes, for those who are lucky (or, doomed?), it is their boy friends or girl friends! But, that IS their world… the world around which the lives of these young adults orbit.
I have passed through that world. My 19-year-old son passes through, now.
So, what will I tell these kids, tomorrow? Should I prepare notes from the material sent by Mr. Uday – may be from the famous books - ‘First Things First’ and ‘Seven Habits…’ of Stephen Covey? Should I remind them, “You young ones, remember… Time is very important… Manage it before it manages you.”?
“I know it, dad!” is always my son’s reaction whenever I try to remind him about the above ‘truth’. So, he ‘knows the truth’. If my son already ‘knows’ this truth… these kids of his age must, most certainly, be ‘knowing’ this truth, too.
“Tell me something new, something I do not know… something as exciting as my Blackberry or Face book friends … or my girlfriend?” This has been, always, my challenge while dealing with my own son. This, also, had been the challenge I had posed before my own simple parents, years and years ago… Yes, when I was their young son. “Dad, tell me something new... something as exciting as my Blackberry friends.”
The only difference, I can think of - between these kids and kids my time - is: our blackberries grew in the jungle, ample of them, all free… and, our books were ‘faceless’. There was no difference, however, between the girlfriends!
Well kids, let’s be serious. There may not be anything ‘new’ in what I have to say. For, Life’s joy lies in finding ‘newness’ in the ‘old’… Finding sublime wisdom in what looks like the mundane. To see the beauty of a flower on my wayside, my eyes will not be enough, I need my heart… I need to pause. I need to keep my Blackberry aside, to meet my real friend… I have to come out of the Face book to ‘visit’ my friend.
Time is important… and, it is short. It is only 24 hours for all of us – yes from Obama to Osama… From Bill Gates to the one who sits outside that roadside mandir, with the begging bowl! My heroes - Jesus Christ, Gandhi and Steve Jobs – they all had only so much… And, I can not expect a second more than that. Man went to the Moon or he goes to the asylum… Man made Concordes or he brings down the Twin Towers… all these men, yes all these men, did and do - whatever they did and do - in just twenty-four hours.
My day has just that… Only twenty-four hours! If I don’t manage it well, and wisely, I will be managed by Time… I should be prepared to land at a place… not of my choice.
Yes, there are so many things that come and stare before me every time I decide to complete a task. Yes, so many distractions. Don’t I become aware of this reality? From this awareness, comes my choice to say ‘yes’ to those things that help me complete my task , or say ‘no’ to those things that distract, steer me away form my goal. It is as simple as that. When my exam is tomorrow, my hanging around with my friends can wait. When my mobile-bill due date is tomorrow, shopping for a new jeans can wait. These are priorities in my daily life… and, to set them right, I don't have to be some Rocket Scientist. I must just do now what is important… and what is not important can wait.
Every task can be performed with planning… with least amount of stress and anxiety. When I keep postponing what is 'important but not urgent' at this stage, I must be prepared to face the same tomorrow as a monster called: Crisis. It has, now, become ‘urgent and important.’
So, as Stephen Covey says, so beautifully, the key does lie in recognizing what is ‘important but not urgent’ in our lives… and, keep doing them now… and, do them out of our ‘conscious choice’…. And, joyfully. That’s all.
And, believe me. There is a direct and definite link between doing our daily tasks with such beauty and the quality of our Self-esteem. When we postpone, it creates anxiety… and it eats up our well-being. We feel low. On the other hand, when we do now, what is ‘important but not urgent’, we feel strong, in charge of ourselves… We feel good about ourselves.
We do not like see our lives controlled by our circumstances, our Fate. Yet, we allow ourselves to be in that state by not managing our priorities well, and abusing our limited time.
I would love to tell all you young kids – and my son – hey, enjoy your life. Don’t be too serious as a dead man. Have your Blackberries, your Face book and your G or B friends, too. But, if any of these creates havoc in your life, at your home, then, be sensible. Ask, “What is important?” “Is it worth it?” And, having all those things still makes you feel good about yourself, does not distract you, does not create a hell at home – then, that is perfectly fine. Have the cake and relish, too.
But, my dear young friends, I still repeat this: Just do things the way that would make you feel good about yourself. And, make those who care for you and love you – proud.
In the end, it is all about a healthy Self-esteem. Die to own it in your life… And, I bet, you will not need people like me – or Stephen Covey – to teach you how to manage your time. Or, even Life.
Wishing you well in life…
With my love.