Time works wonders. Time is not money- those who think it is don’t know its true value. Priceless things are securely stored, but time is visibly on the shelf of life, so why not waste or else there is a likelihood of it being used productively.
In the following paragraphs I will venture to create importance of time management through a negative lens, which is quite in contrast to this scribe’s perennial habit of viewing the most of the negatives in work-life as great positives.
Since the time of sunset is unknown, why not begin to waste it from sunrise? Some people find the 24 hour cycle too long; so they develop special skills to “kill time”. Some find it too short, so they “use” time.
Perhaps from time immemorial, it is said, time and tide wait for no one, why then waste time waiting for time -you have it now; waste it, now. Why should anybody fight for utilisation of time, effectively and efficiently, in the corporate rat race? Because winning a rat race does not or will not make anyone a lion; one still remains a rat. And, as managers if any does waste time, then anyway that person is a sure rat.
There are numerous ways available to each of us for wasting time. Sleeping marks as the most desirable format for wasting time. With a life expectancy of say 70 years, we have available to us 613,200 hours; of which on average if we sleep seven hours, that takes away 178,850 hours; say almost 29 percent of our life, or 20 years we can waste by sleeping away... what a way to thank divinity for the blessing of a long life!
Sitting before the idiot box is also a good waste of time, since it allows you to relish and enjoy idiocy of the unthinkable limits.
At work place, the most popular format deployed for wasting time is to invest in gossip. It is juicy, it is entertaining, it is fun and serves as a good fodder to our own strange idiosyncrasies of strong likes and dislikes, we harbour for colleagues and other people.
Gossip in the corporate world is always in an overdrive. Hearsay is so interesting to publish across the organisation. This too requires time. Everybody must dedicate some time to this self-injurious and self-hurting activity -it is a pretty good waste of time.
The singular most important method is to hold meetings; especially those that are unnecessary and uncalled for. The agenda is trivial, even if it is profound, it can usually be accomplished in half the allocated time, usually predetermined. The rest of the time has to be wasted. Meetings are prolonged by court jesters, who may add zero value to the quality of the discussion, but cannot rope in their wagging tongues.
They have to speak because nature has blessed them with the ability. Such to the chagrin of others attendees they forget by way of convenience the choice to remain silent is also a divinely gifted option.
In meetings, you suddenly find the chairperson relating stories about his unstoppable travels; how the airport security checked him; how upset he became; how much mouthful he gave (this portion is usually in the domain of creative imagination; every single word or incident that wasn’t uttered or happened, would surely be made to look as reality!). And also, he will also ramble on how triumphantly he emerged from that excessive questioning at the immigration counter. (But those questions could be rightful may be; with a mustache that resembles an overgrown hay stack, that is showing signs of decay or has a mustache that is a replica of Hitler’s flaunt, is obviously a good reason to ask intrusive question, is the silent response of the audience).
Time, however is so humorously wasted. Sometimes the competitive engagement of non-conclusive and non-inclusive to the agenda items, between members, is an excellent time wasting opportunity. The continuous inflow of coffee with cookies is an even good enemy of time. Few colleagues you would find have an extremely liberal use of coffee breaks or coffee wasting times.
Personally, I have found “off-site” an exhilarating format of wasting time. They achieve nothing, absolutely nothing. It is best described in the Persian adage, “Gather, talk, dine, and disperse” (a very loose translation). In fact, meetings are the best waste of time.
Anecdotes are again excellent time consumers. Irrelevant as much those accounts may be to the subject at hand, these must be narrated; and if narrator is a good mimic too, you can add a few more jovial hours, to how time should be wasted.
Time, it is said is inelastic. Is it? How untrue is that principle in our given environment. We can stretch it to any limits, without breaking it into shreds; because it is the abundance of time that provides the creative spirit towards, building ideas each day on how to squander the surplus time. Since it cannot be sold, divided, transferred, or exported, the elasticity of time has to be consumed to its last millisecond.
Another, idealistic way to squander time is to spend (waste) it on preparing schedule of events, meetings, commitments … you can plan with meticulous exactitude, but with full known underlying intentions, on how can I be in violation of the schedule, to impress upon my environment, how busy I am! Try it. I keep making schedules every day, because I keep them revising. ’O’ what fun it is to look at a colorful schedule of meetings planned in the year of the Lord 2025 AD.
Coworkers and you yourself can also waste ‘sufficient time’, on discussing, building and creating strategies for business and then in a very short span of time, do it again, to recreate the strategy.
This takes a major toll on available time. It is another matter, that while strategies are being looked at and relooked, your competition would have by then stormed the market. No harm done to the concept; if you are a late entrant to the market, it will give you more supply of time to waste.
Again, intelligent managers, not the wily ones, all through the day lecture and expound to colleagues the importance of work-life balance; they do so by collecting colleagues away from their desks (work here is the casualty); they implore, plead on the significance of giving attention to family. The poor colleagues, who are victims to this deluge of garbage, go back to their desks to complete the assigned tasks/ targets -they necessarily have to work beyond the delegated office timings -the hustle and bustle that is artificially architectured by the mean boss, makes the environment look like a beehive of super busy executives. The boss and colleagues delay their journey back to the families. Most Pakistani supervisors are more attuned to this culture of North East Asia, where if the breadwinner of a house returns home on time, his spouse and children, look at him/her demeaningly, as being either the unwanted or being the most junior element of the organisation, he/she works for. Delay work ... and go back home late. That’s a very impressive and elegant way to waste time. In complete distortion to my personal belief, I would say for encouraging wastage of time, the history of the past is more entertaining than the foolish dreams of the future. There is a miracle in wastage and pain in utilisation of time. The only thing we have as managers is time, so squander your precious possession, the way you want. Only those managers know the true value of time, who are afflicted with laziness, idleness, and the ability to procrastinate; they are expert in doing tomorrow, what can be done today.
Dear readers, if you reread this piece with a converse meaning, you may also consider what William Penn concluded in 1700 AD: “Time is what we want most, but what, alas! we use worst.” Or else “Tempus fugit” (time flies) … catch it and waste it.
The writer is a freelance contributor