Time management is indeed vital in our fast-speed world. Time doesn’t spare anyone, be it a king or a beggar. The real wealthy person is the one who has free time but also knows how to use it wisely. The question is only how to utilize the time in a world full of distractions. Let me share my experience with you.
Important update! This comes from my post Be Successful! 10 Hacks for Boosting your Well-Being and Productivity, you can read the full article here
Understand and implement the rule of 80/20.
I first came across this rule in one of
Now, how can we benefit from this rule?
Discover when your most productive time is and schedule your workday so that you’ll be able to get 80% of your work done exactly then. This is how we can have a daily job, a part-time job and run a venture business on the side. You don’t have to spend 18 hours per day on a specific project; you’ll discover that your most productive hours are just a few.
I find that people usually divide into two groups: one that feels comfortable working very early in the morning and the other one that performs very well late in the night. It doesn’t matter which group you fall into – you just have to find those few productive hours and then schedule your time management accordingly.
I used to have plenty of time. I used to wonder what to do with it. I used to be so afraid of life that I was praying to God to help me channel all my time and energy for a better, unselfish purpose. Then I went to India to an ashram where every minute matters and the daily duties must be accomplished in a result-oriented way. At the ashram, for the first time, I understood the importance of time and proper time management. Before that, time was only a waste. Another minute, another hour, then a day… So what? I didn’t value it.
My duty while in the ashram was in the accommodation team. This means I was responsible for preparing the buildings to accommodate all the people coming to the ashram. This includes cleaning the rooms, baths, washing the bed sheets, etc. It’s really heavy work. In an ashram there are no holidays, nor vacations. Sometimes on Sunday after lunch a break is given but not every week. You work hard all day and sometimes until late at night. “Ashram” literary means “to labor”. And even though one can work hard and a lot, still the work may not be done in time or not in the wanted manner. I have seen this quite a lot happening in the ashram.
One day, we, the accommodation team, were in a VIP building (a building where the big sponsors of the ashram are usually accommodated) and we had to clean a few rooms and the hallways too. Though the work wasn’t huge and we had time from lunch until dinner we didn’t manage to finish it. Why? The answer is very simple: bad time management. Our accommodation in-charge went furious. She was really angry with us. She started shouting how we could have cleaned the whole building for such long time because we were a lot of people (3 or 4 persons). Instead, even the small amount of work wasn’t accomplished properly. In the ashram it often happens to be scolded. It happens actually quite a lot. The attachments are fewer so are the inhibitions. The sannyasins and residents are focused on the work and its execution. Because, like most people, I didn’t like to be scolded, I decided, I had to learn how to utilize my time.
Here are the 3 things I learned in general from my in-charge and the other residents about proper time management:
Make a detailed plan of the task which needs to be done. Draw the goals, the amount of the work and the time it is supposed to take you. You will find out that as time goes by you will need less time for the things you most regularly because you will be getting better at them. Eventually you will have more time for other things. Another useful advice is to pay special attention to important deadlines and make your plan accordingly. My accommodation in-charge always writes down her day-to-day tasks. The mind loves to see the big picture not just bits and pieces of work.
- Discriminate clearly what is compulsory and what’s not so urgent to be done. In the best case we’ll have plenty of time and some extra things could be done. But until then, the most mandatory work needs to be accomplished. For example, if you spend your time only cleaning the mirrors, window grilles and carpets in a room, that’s great. But if you lack time for cleaning the floor, dressing the beds, etc. the whole room will look untidy, despite your good will for the details. Transferred to our mundane, not ashram life, if you are an entrepreneur or an artist and you use social media but get distracted by them, that’s also a sign of lack of discrimination and distraction. On the other hand in an ashram there are no distractions or fashion. Ashram life really teaches one to observe one’s approach and management to work, be it accommodation or kitchen duties which are relatively simple.
- Don’t be attached to the type of work. Maybe you‘ll like doing something more than something else but when it comes to time and management one has to let go of attachments and preferences. What I’m trying to say is, don’t be focused only to the things you prefer. In an ashram it’s very easy to see your own flaws because you work with lots of people quite often from different countries and societies.
Whatever one learns and applies from one’s ashram experience, it becomes a valuable treasure in the outside life. Staying in an ashram is beneficial not only for sannyasins or renunciates. In my opinion, ashram life is a must even for every householder.
I will end by quoting my Guru. One afternoon, there was a satsang (literally “in the presence of truth”) Q&A sessions. She was answering a person’s question when she said the following:
‘… time doesn’t spare anyone. Even the greatest emperors, like Alexander the Great, are subject to time. … If one wants to use their time wisely, one has to come for a while in an ashram. Here, we don’t waste time.“