Time management: why should I care?

There are times in life when one feels that everybody around is trying to tell you something. There are courses spreading like mushrooms on any of the areas you struggle the most: fitness courses, self-development etc. Although it might be a hunch for myself I find it quite repulsive and interesting at the same time: one of those things that scare you but for some reasons you feel attracted to – typical of any horror movie where instead of running away the unlucky of the minute goes towards their last seconds of life, trying to find out what that weird chainsaw and screams noise was about.
Without getting further into the discussion I’ll get to the subject of this post: why should I care about Time Management?

If you never ever tried to find out more about TM I’m sure you’re cheating or you’re just impressively lucky! Time management is (simply put) a collection of advice, rules, extremely-high-paid courses and so on available on the internet and in most of the UK universities.

Why is it important?  

Efficiency is the key word of this second decade of the 21st century: people has discovered that what we can actually change in employees, students and the alike is their ability to perform more in a shorter amount of time. This, of course, allegedly goes with a better use of resources and – therefore – a reduced amount of money spent to carry out a certain task.

Time is one of the most precious resources we have at hand – although not real – it is something that we cannot buy, exchange or take back: once it’s gone it’s gone. Furthermore, it is not possible to control it: despite 1 second lasts 1 second, 1 minute lasts one minute etc. So what we can do is try do our best with it and use it wisely (meaning for meaningful purposes and generally not waste it).

Is that all? 

What simplistically said so far only refers to the specific context of work and the necessary need to produce with the least use of resources possible. What sometimes is forgotten about is that life, in itself, is not a synonym with work. For how much one could love their job, there are better more things to do than just sitting on a desk or “producing”. I agree with the statement that work is important and “sacred” especially in periods of higher unemployment rates but even with that there are at least 2 things that are missing from the picture: our social life and ourselves.

It might be a problem of only the few who choose an academic career but I reckon this problem might affect those who use to work over-time, to get that piece of work done, because there’s a tight deadline or for some other reasons. When preferring (yes preferring, I’ll tell you soon why) work over social life we are stepping on a problematic path towards a less healthy and rich life. Working might give the possibility to have money available for basic needs, for that car you wanted to buy, or that holiday you’re dreaming of but doing so the everyday is missed and, with this, those persons who are part of it. Learning how to Manage Time means being able to carry out your duties during the working day and allow some time for ourselves but also those who (do or will) matter the most.

There’s no other use to life than living it and Time Management with other self-improvement techniques (or better paths to self-improvement) allow the person to fully develop as a human being, leaving room for an emotional and personal enrichment that make ourselves human beings.

So, why Time Management matters? Because, hopefully later than soon, you’ll realise how much time is important, how it is a limited resource and you won’t have the chance to buy any more. In these moments you might see how these minutes, hours are really important and you would like to spend them in the best way possible. When working till late, when realising how much time we are wasting by not getting things done, to get things done at the last minute, we are choosing to become slaves of our own weaknesses. Improving ourselves, learning how to deal with our own limits and improve on them, is the most enriching experience we can have.

In these days I am preparing a course on Time Management for an Italian website (www.insegnalo.it)  and, browsing around, I came across a video from Randy Pausch: an American professor who passed away in 2008 because of the complications of a pancreatic cancer. This video – although long – is truly an eye-opener on how we should consider the time as something we should make the most of and use it wisely. It also points out, not too implicitly, that getting work done, being ahead of thing is the best gift we can do ourselves as we can enjoy ourselves and, where is the case, our family and people who are around us and surely deserve some of our time. Life is for living!

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