"Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land. So the little minutes, humble though they be make the mighty ages of eternity."
We humans have a tendency to neglect small things. However an accumulation of these things over a period narrates another story altogether. Many of us pass through decades little realising that time is an invaluable commodity. How well we spend it remains to be answered through personal analysis.
Let us not make the miserable mistake the young man made who took his school days in a lazy stride and dropped out; the college student who attended to his fancies rather than his studies and the old man who felt empty of honour and promotion that could have been his had he put a little more effort and planned his time. Time halts for no one. If you fail to endeavor or accomplish your goals in the springtime of life you will have nothing but a bagful of sorrow and resentment in your autumn years.
Are you in charge of your time? Don't allow yourself to be vulnerable to another's agenda or follow blindly to another's expectation. To avoid this you must learn to be the master of your life - which means taking charge of your time. You will have to challenge old habits that waste your time.
Here are some ways to cut down, on, time-wasters.
We sometimes spend hours shopping. Often, we stretch a job requiring only five minutes to fifty. A half hour lecture extends into an hour. This tendency of abusing time has become a sorry part of ourselves. Remember, we earn our dividends not merely by effort only but also by measure of our precious time. We generally, however, fail to grasp the importance of time because it is shrouded by our satisfaction. All thoughts of the unnecessary time wasted surface when we fail to get satisfactory results. "Oh what a waste of time" has been commonly mouthed during unsuccessful moments. Slip into the habit of not abusing time.
Not saying No
"I can never say no for an answer" Sometimes our problems mushroom from here. In spite of a heavy schedule we make promises and then spend days getting out of the task we shouldn't have accepted in the first place. We become nervous and high - strung. Our pattern of efficiency becomes disturbed, rippling through all compartments of our business and social structure.
A helpful way to avoid this crumbling situation is to be aware of never making decisions too abruptly. It takes a little time to say, "I'll think about it and let you know." But not nearly as much as muddling through a job we don't have the time to handle.
You've opened a letter, read it, and then decided to answer it later. A week later you'd have to read it again before you pick your pen. If only you'd answered it earlier you wouldn't have had to take the time to read it once again. And one who has a pileful of letters everyday can never afford to postpone his replies for tomorrows.
Sometimes leaving something unsolved or unattended allows it to grow till it demands your urgent time and attention. You'd have to cancel all your commitments and answer your immediate emergency. Fixing that leaking faucet will take far less time than ripping out the wall of dry rot years down the road.
Caring for your teeth will save you hours at the dentist's office and regular checkups will save you hours and money at the same time. Don't ignore your problems. Solve them as early as possible
Have your ever been strapped tight to a talker who has been entertaining you for hours, knowing all the while you are getting late for an appointment? You may find it difficult but interrupt without being rude.
All you need to say is, "Pardon me sir, I must really go." It's certainly better than listening impatiently, angrily and without devoting your slightest attention to what he is saying.
Watching television can widen your horizon. We generally slip into a mindless watching of anything that comes on the screen. Carefully choose a limited number of programes and spend the rest of your time in a more rewarding way.
Rober Macneil (Who co-anchors the Mac Neil/Leher Newshour on the Public Broadcasting Services, U.S.A) says by the age of twenty you'd have been exposed to 20,000 hours of television. He was told that a typical undergraduate spends 5000 hours on a bachelor's degree. In 10,000 hours you could have learned enough to become an astronomer or engineer.
Don't waste your time watching T.V. for hours on ends. You could well begin a part-time study course or give scope to hidden talents that are locked within you.
Lack of Planning
Robs you of time and balance. You rush into many appealing projects at the same time. What happens? You are neither here nor there.
Say your main preoccupation is studying. Besides aspiring for an Honours , you'd like to be the star sportsman at college, you'd like to spend an hour each evening helping the old and you'd also want to take the lead in arranging a drama show each month at the college. Now tell me the state of this young bubbling college student. When you try to do too many things of which you have very little time you end up aggravated and unsatisfied. Plan your life. Pick out your priority, remain moored to it, and then fit things in according to your time and energy. Planning is the key that will save you much time and aggravation and merit you with rich dividends.
Looking for your car keys for an hour is absolute agony. Whether you live in a large mansion or a small flat, you lose a lot of time finding misplaced things. Fearful of losing your valuables you place them in a vault, but rarely do you think about losing precious time while finding something you've misplaced.
Misplacing things reflect upon the measure of order you have in your life. Make a habit of putting things where they should be, thus saving not only your time but that of others as well.
Much of life is spent idly. We wait idly at bus stops, sit waiting for hours in the doctor's waiting room, kill time window - shopping during lunch hours or doze off when we have no work at the office.
If Mahatma Gandhi could memorise the Bhagvad Gita while brushing his teeth each day and Longfellow, over several years, could translate a book called 'Inferno' whilst brewing his coffee, I'm sure we could at least persuade ourself like Gladstone to read an inspiring book during our empty moments.
Slipping into the Future
Our minds often take wings into the immediate or far future. It handicaps us from exercising an unwavering concentration during a lecture or the work we are engaged in. This leaves us with unfinished or inefficient work. Try to learn and live in the present, appreciate it and crown every moment with all your talent and heart. I'm not saying don't plan for your future. By all means do so, but not at the cost of your present duties.
If you master the art of taking charge of your time, you'll not only be a successful man but a more orderly person. And this order will reflect upon not only your physical or mental self but also on your spiritual self.