New Man : New World: [08] Time Management

Published: 17.12.2008
Updated: 17.12.2008

The completion of a task is time-bound. Success eludes the person who is careless about time-management. Even the quality of work suffers in the absence of proper planning of time. Management relates to many areas. Like time management, there is also space management, which too is a pre-condition of full success. Mahavira profoundly investigated every task from four viewpoints:

    • Substance (substratum of attributes and modes)
    • Space
    • Time
    • Mental inclination

Success can be assured only by the combination of all the four. Even if the other three elements are present, in the absence of time management, the desired result cannot be obtained. In fact no task can be conceived outside a time-frame.

The basic Aim

The basic question relates to the aim in view. The very first thing to do is to fix an aim, for aimlessness is subversive of success. While determining the aim, priorities have to be fixed. What is the basic aim? Over a long period of five or ten years, many tasks may have to be achieved. Which of them should be undertaken first? What is to be done this year, this month, this day? It is a matter of settling priorities. The aim as well as the available period of time may be definite. Yet single-minded pursuit of the aim through successive priorities within the given time is essential. Such a commitment and alertness constitute the first step to success.

The Principle of Time Management

One element of Preksha Dhyan is inner disposition. It is an important principle of time-management too. Be completely dedicated to the task in hand. It means living in the present. People visualize the future and set a goal. But while working for it, they have to live in the present. If the future intrudes even while at work, the work will suffer. Being alert about the present implies directing all attention and energy to finishing the work in hand. Even a few seconds delay means missing the bus or the train. It shows lack of time management. Success is assured only by concentrating on the work in hand.

Human Resources

What are the resources necessary for achieving one's aim? In the context of Preksha Dhyan two resources can be pointed out: human resources and material resources. Those engaged in state administration and building industries have to reckon with one more, financial resources. But money cannot be a basic resource if we discuss the matter in the spiritual context. A man with an acutely distracted mind may require a year to control it. If he resolves to achieve his aim within a year, he will have to think of human resources. He will have to look out for a proper coach, capable of helping him achieve his goal. For want of a proper coach many people spend years without achieving concentration and a steady mind. They need a coach who can teach them the right way, help them practise properly and instil confidence in them that it is within their power to reach the goal.

Material Resources

The second requirement is material resources. Things and material are also necessary. In everything some substance or essential material plays its part. It is true of meditation too. Whatever task is undertaken must have a purpose. Material cause is not enough. We live in a dialectical or dualistic world where both the causes are necessary. If we take a partial view and think that the material cause alone can bring about the desired result, we are bound to be disappointed. The purpose of any action cannot be ignored, and for that reason, the usefulness of the material resources cannot be denied.

Make a Choice

We have to opt for an essential task. There is no dearth of things to be done in our life, but we have to choose the most important among them. Let us take the example of meditation. We may set the target to attain the stage of concentration within a year. Then we have to ask what should be done to achieve the target. The practice of deep breathing and Kayotsarg is essential for it. These resources can help us achieve the target.

Some people are fickle-minded. Any novelty attracts them. They give up the old and think the new is a better choice. Soon thereafter a third choice is available and so on. Such people never achieve success, for they are unable to manage time and choose the best. Here it is worthwhile to point out that selection and rejection or acceptance and refusal are two sides of the same coin. Those who cannot refuse or reject cannot manage their time well.

Will the Wait ever end?

Rajaldesar is a small town in the Churu District of Rajasthan. There was an ever-obliging servant there who never refused to do any work. He left home early in the morning daily and on the way, got ready to do as asked by each member of the master's large family, buying vegetables, bringing milk, fetching medicines from a drug store, going out to another town to accompany a young girl, each in succession without bothering to finish the earlier jobs. Those who ordered vegetables, milk and medicines kept waiting. Would their wait ever end? It is anybody's guess.

Learn to refuse

A person who does not know to say “No” can never be good at time-management. For successful time-management, it is essential to have the strength to say “No”. In fact, the power to accept gets weakened in the absence of the power to refuse. Both the extremes govern the direction of our lives. One could go a step further and say that those lacking the capacity to say “No” deceive others as well as themselves so much so that they have often to hear the reproach, "You have wasted my time; it would have been better if you had at the very outset said “No”."

Time Management: Svarodaya

Why are planning and management of time necessary? Simply because everything we do takes place in time, is time-related. The principles of time management enunciated by Western scholars are quite important and not dissimilar to the principle of introspection. As a matter of fact, it looks as though they have equated introspection with time-management. Let us throw a glance at ancient Indian thinking. It propounds a principle called Svarodaya, which was greatly developed in the country. According to me the principle of time management has at the back of it the powerful concept of Svarodaya. The Science of Svarodaya encompassed deliberation on health, success, victory and defeat. When should one talk to which person? When should one meet which person? When to place one's suggestion before the leader to ensure its acceptance? All these questions received profound deliberation under the Science of Svarodaya. In it wherever speech is mentioned, time is mentioned too.

The Cycle of Time: The Cycle of Air breathed through Nostrils

Time and the air breathed through the nostrils (Svara) are mutually related. Svara starts with dawn. It is necessary to know which nostril is working at dawn under which situation. Is it the moon nostril or the sun nostril, which is working? One should know at what time and under which Svara a particular task should be undertaken. Time cycle and Svara cycle go together. By knowing the right time and the right Svara, a task can be successfully accomplished. For this reason, the Science of Svarodaya has an important place in time-management.

Each Activity has its proper Time

Unlike today, in the past, all our daily activities were planned to be undertaken at specific hours. Lord Mahavir gave the following principle which is explained in Sutrakritang thus: Do everything at its proper time; eat, drink, be at home and sleep at their respective times. If we analyse it, we conclude that every activity has its proper time. Specialists have laid down different times for different activities. But let us decide at least about two things:

    • When to go to bed and when to get up
    • When to eat and when to drink water

Even if the timings of these two things are decided, it will result in good time planning.

Why should one get up at Dawn

Indian time experts laid down the small hours of the morning for getting up. To be precise, one should get up at about 4.00 a.m. Why was it prescribed? It was said that one who practises it, spends a fine day and a good life. Today it has been scientifically proved. The chemical Serotonin is responsible for peace and happiness of the mind. Serotonin is secreted at four in the morning. One who is awake at four in the morning, maintains mental equipoise the whole day and carries out his duties efficiently. The flow of Serotonin suffers in the case of those who are in bed at four o'clock. As a result, they suffer from tension, restlessness, irascibility and lethargy. So far as we are concerned, getting up early in the morning is our tradition. During his seventy years of the life of an ascetic, Gurudev Tulsi may perhaps have not got up at four hardly fifteen to twenty times. By following the principle of rising early, Gurudev has preserved the agility of a twenty-year old youth's mind. Let us probe the matter a little more.

The Secret of Speed Walking

There is an incident, which happened in Chhapar, Rajasthan.. A sixty-year old person told Gurudev that at his age, he was unable to walk fast and therefore wondered how the latter, even though seventy, could walk so fast. I asked him if he ate sweets. He said he ate them in plenty. I then told him that this explained the difference. If he left eating sweets, he too would be able to walk fast like Gurudev.

Nothing happens without a reason. Getting up at four, as stated earlier, is of utmost importance. Likewise, going to bed at about nine or ten is also necessary. After the day's hectic activity all our systems cry for rest. If we deny rest and keep awake, internal reactions take place and the time meant for sleeping is transgressed. If food is not taken at a time when the liver is functional, the digestive system gets impaired. If we do not sleep in the time meant for sleeping, sleep will vanish. The only way left then will be to court sleep by gulping sleeping pills.

The Truth of Maxims

There is waking time and there is sleeping time. There is time for eating and time for drinking; there is also time for sitting and resting. Many proverbs stress the point that time once gone is gone forever and no regret or repentance can bring it back. Those who transgress time remain deprived of many achievements.

Listing the daily Tasks is essential

Preparing a schedule of work is also essential for time management. There may be a weekly and a daily schedule. Busy people need to list the things they have to do on a specific day. Jain monks have fixed timings for certain activities. Pratikraman (coming back, receding from sins, repenting), vandana (deferential obeisance) and pravachan (religious discourses) - all these observances go on uninterruptedly and regularly. Meditation calls for some special rules. The incantation of mantras and meditation must be done at the same time daily. It gives continuity. Everything needs to be listed and done at the fixed time to achieve success.

Observing one's Weaknesses

One of the principles of time management is observing one's weakness. What is it that is obstructing meditation? The goal cannot be achieved unless one sets out to discover and pay attention to one's weak points. Human nature is given to hearing only good things about oneself. But the feeling that all is well is often very deceptive. Flatterers and lackeys are sources of deception. Those who are truthful do not hesitate to point out weaknesses. By analysing one's weak points, one can identify the causes of failure. To concentrate on one's weaknesses is an important element of time management.

Principles of Time Management

These days a lot of emphasis is being laid on the fact that time is money. There is a Prakrit formula saying, “Understand time”. One of the immortal lines of revered Gurudev is: Let a new noble trait of character grow giving key importance to time.

In fact, managing time means managing life. On this basis many principles of time management have been put forward:

    • Decide priorities.
    • As far as possible, a piece of work should be entrusted to competent people
    • Everything should be done purposefully and profitably.
    • Duplication and replication of effort should be avoided.
    • One should be prepared to undertake responsibility and take prompt decisions.
    • Learn to say “no”, wherever necessary
    • Having fixed a time frame, it should be adhered to. Time limit should be respected. As needed, all control should be in one's hands.

Failing to manage time amounts to managing failure. The secret of success lies in proper time management. There is a saying: If eight hours are spent on cutting a tree, six hours should be spent on honing the axe. This represents wise time management.

Time and You

Since all human activities take place in time and are thus time-related, they should be properly evaluated. By fixing a period of time with an activity we condition the mind with that time scale, so much so that at the particular time, the mind automatically turns to the related activity. For this to happen, proper feeding of the mind is necessary. Thus an important aspect of the success of a piece of work is proper evaluation and planning of time. Right thing at the right time. Complete cooperation between you and time can prove a boon in achieving success.

Edition 2005
ISBN No. 81-7196-019-7

© Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg,
New Delhi-110 002

Edited by:
Muni Dhananjay Kumar

Translated by:
Prof. R.P. Bhatnagar

Published by:
Kamlesh Chaturvedi
Adarsh Sahitya Sangh,
210 Deendayal Upadhyay Marg
New Delhi

Printed at:

R-Tech Offset Printer Delhi-110032

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Chhapar
  2. Churu
  3. Concentration
  4. Cooperation
  5. Cycle of Time
  6. Dhyan
  7. Gurudev
  8. Kayotsarg
  9. Mahavir
  10. Mahavira
  11. Meditation
  12. Prakrit
  13. Pratikraman
  14. Pravachan
  15. Preksha
  16. Preksha Dhyan
  17. Rajaldesar
  18. Rajasthan
  19. Science
  20. Space
  21. Time Cycle
  22. Tulsi
  23. Vandana
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