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Time management is the key for one’s well-being
Having time might not mean the same thing as making the most of it. People who took that time to work on themselves, to tap their creative outpourings and accomplish transformation thrived. Therefore, the need for time management does not just respond to a paucity of time. At its heart, it is driven by an attitude of optimising the time we have by making the most of our lives.
Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can’t afford to lose -Thomas Edison
We always seem to be running out of time in today’s world. There are too many commitments, too much pressure and too little space to breathe. Widespread mental health problems have erupted in this era where we have no time to attend to our well-being. However, when our well-being is compromised, our endeavours are diluted, the fulfillment aspect is eroded and life begins to empty out of its very meaning. Since the world and its pressures will not change overnight, all that we have in our hands is to deal our time better. The oft-repeated phrase, ‘Time Management’, thus has deeper implications than it ordinarily appears, for it goes a long way to secure our very existence.
It is usually decried that we have no time for healing in today’s world and yet, having time might not mean the same thing as making the most of it. Consider the Covid-19 pandemic when lockdowns took over and restricted us to our homes, leaving us with compulsory ‘extra’ time with ourselves. This did not instantly elevate the overall mental well-being of people, who sustained themselves through the pandemic. Those who thrived were people who took that time to work on themselves, to tap their creative outpourings and accomplish transformation. Therefore, the need for time management does not just respond to a paucity of time. At its heart, it is driven by an attitude of optimizing the time we have by making the most of our lives.
Research immediately backs the presence of a direct link between time management and good mental health.
Tonya Russell, writing for Very Well Mind quotes a study to this effect. For the aforementioned study, researchers analyzed various databases for the keywords “time management.” They analyzed 158 studies from around the world with over 50,000 participants and the results showed that time management benefited work productivity and empowered those with work autonomy. It also showed benefits in academic environments. Even more than productivity, time management impacted one’s well-being; the study results showed that it had a 72% stronger impact on life satisfaction than job satisfaction.
Therefore, managing time is indeed significant to keeping ourselves afloat and thriving. However, what exactly constitutes the process in the circumstances of today? We are coming off a pandemic when all notions of time management and scheduling were redefined, the pressures of today are mounting like never before and with hybrid regimes of working and education in place, it is hard to paint a coherent picture of managing time.
The answer to this conundrum, however, is both simple and complicated.
From the uncomplicated perspective, there is the no ‘one size fits all’ solution and a drive towards managing time everyday as per changing circumstances can make all the difference. Since every new day brings a new mix of challenges, it is audacious to assume that everything can be predetermined, planned and scheduled. Instead, a commitment towards making the most of a day can help us be dynamic in adapting to contexts and managing our time accordingly.
This attitude, however, has to be pragmatic and backed with action. There are strategies which can certainly
help in this regard and can be applied as per the circumstances. One step of consequence in this direction is to have compulsory time in the day to take a step back and assess ourselves and our mental state. This could be a few hours on a relaxed day or 15 minutes on a tight schedule but having a time for reflection and self-assessment can work wonders in preventing burnout and mindless harm while engaged in everyday situations. The other strategy relies on planning and scheduling, involving a clear and detailed charting out of goals. While everything cannot be scheduled, this can help set smart goals at work, at an educational setting or for something as everyday like fitness and physical health. Once these schedulable aspects of our lives are taken care of through deft management of time, we are left with more space to work on the more intimate aspects of life.
On the whole, time is a constant presence in our lives and one which cannot be overlooked when we think of our well-being. Our lives are made of the days, months and years we spend. To give ourselves the mental health that we deserve, it is pertinent that we must render justice to all the time that we have.
(The author is Founder & CEO Upsurge Global and Adjunct Professor and Advisor EThames College)