Big Things In Your Life!

I don’t remember what I was browsing for, probably something related to time management and some related stuff, when found an interesting piece of writing at nwlink(dot)com. This is a classic and must say a logical explanation of time management in our day to day life, helpful not only in personal concerns but professional as well. Here’s the quoted text:

One day an expert in time management was speaking to a group of business students. As he stood in front of the group of high-powered overachievers he said, “Okay, time for a quiz.” He then pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed Mason jar and set it on the table. He produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them one at a time into the jar. When the jar was filled to the top and no more rocks would fit inside, he asked, “Is this jar full?” Everyone in the class said, “Yes.” Then he said, “Really?”

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel. Then he dumped some gravel in and shook the jar causing it to work down into the space between the big rocks. Then he asked the group once more, “Is the jar full?” By this time the class was on to him. “Probably not,” one of them answered. “Good!” he replied.

He reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand and started dumping the sand in the jar until it filled the spaces left between the rocks and the gravel. Once more he asked the question, “Is this jar full?” No!” the class shouted. Once again he said, “Good.”
Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it in until the jar was filled to the brim. Then he looked at the class and asked, “What is the point of this illustration?”
One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is, no matter how full your schedule is, if you try really hard you can always fit some more things in it!” “No,” the speaker replied, “that’s not the point.”

“The truth this illustration teaches us is that if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never get them in at all. What are the ‘big rocks’ in your life? Your children, your loved ones, your education, your dreams, a worthy cause, teaching others, doing things that you love, your health; your mate. Remember to put these BIG ROCKS in first or you’ll never get them in at all. If you sweat about the little stuff then you’ll fill your life with little things and you’ll never have the real quality time you need to spend on the big, important stuff.

So, tonight, or in the morning, when you are reflecting on this short story, ask yourself this question: What are the ‘big rocks’ in my life? Then, put those in your jar first.

Time Management: The Wasters’ And Savers’ Styles

Time is equally important in an organizational set up as it is in day-to-day life. It cannot be retrieved if spent or wasted once, so better is to spend it in more effective way. Whether it’s a professional business or work environment or a casual social or house hold gathering, ensuring things to be done within a particular time frame not only helps to maintain an order but also to get rid of various tensions. It is, however, the concern of prime importance to identify what are the things that actually waste time and what save. Being in the fastest time ever it is a bit difficult to find out all such activities, so in order to stop wasting time let’s start from the general activities of time wasters and savers.

Taking a start from wasters, here are some activities, which almost all of them do:

  • Thinking about something without coming up to a decision.
  • Worrying
  • Implementation without analysis
  • Starting many tasks at the same time without identifying the importance of each
  • Unanticipated interruptions (starting doing something else during an important task).
  • Procrastinating.
  • Unrealistic Time estimates.
  • Poor Crisis management.
  • Poor Planning
  • Poor Organization.
  • Ineffective meetings (lack of effective communication)
  • Doing urgent rather than important tasks.
  • Failing to delegate.
  • Lacking priorities, standards, policies, and procedures.

On the other hand the time savers do all what that wasters do not and they also do not do what wasters do, all they do is:

  • Manage the process of decision-making, not the decisions.
  • Concentrate on doing only one task at a time.
  • Set daily, short-term, mid-term, and long-term priorities.
  • Ensure effective communication.
  • Throwing unneeded things away.
  • Set deadlines and attempt to meet the same.
  • Do not waste others’ time.
  • Ensure the purpose of meetings, projects etc.
  • Maintain calendars and abide by them.
  • Know when to pause and when to restart.
  • Maintain good delegation.
  • Keep simplicity in the processes.
  • Use checklists and To-Do lists.

Oh My Sweet 60s!

It was August 14, 1947 when I took birth; as a third world country at its inception, I grew up with misery of having lack of resources and management, spent my teens struggling for economic, social and political development and ended up my silver jubilee with same tag of third world on my shoulder. Going through 50 golden years and now entering into ‘sweet sixties’ I’m still there with the same tag, though a variety of medals have been rewarded to my armies for being the care takers.

The above Para is not what I want to say but Pakistan! Sixty years of independence mean a lot. Being such a huge time frame, it demands some accountability from all of us to ensure what we’ve done so far and what we ought to do. I’d not mention what my countrymen say about this but my opinion.

To be very clear, I still couldn’t figure out the true essence of ‘freedom’ or independence’. What exactly is the difference between these two terms? Did we get ‘freedom’ or ‘independence’ on August 14, 1947? If it was freedom, are we free? If it was independence, are we independent?

Answering my own questions if it was freedom then we’re not free till yet! The crapy feudal system still exists, we’re still badly involved in ‘caste system’ concepts, and above all a voice attempting to express freedom of thought is still crushed by so called regulators. And if it was independence, we’re still economically dependent on foreign assistance, even being an agricultural country we need to import wheat. We’re also fashion-dependent, so no point for being independent at all!

According to my analysis we’re neither free nor independent, and the day we celebrate is just to fulfill a formality! Probably not everyone will be doing the same but what majority does is the same. I’ve spent six years teaching in some so called elite school systems whereby 14th August used to be celebrated at its best garnished with heart touching national songs and eye catching performances on the same. When I was not a trained teacher, I was never asked by any claimed ‘experienced educator’ to make the young minds pledge on the day to be honest, hardworking and loyal to the homeland, and when I got well trained (having professional education in the field) I was stopped by same experienced ones to do so as it doesn’t look ‘rocking’ on the day! This experience of mine may not be applied everywhere, but you’ll find such practices at a greater extent.

What I want to ask is how many of us pledge to be loyal to the country on this day? I didn’t do it ever! But today, don’t know why I feel I should, so m’ doing it!


Readers are encouraged to pledge!

Technology Per Kilogram

Some days back I encountered a technical problem and needed to replace my computer’s RAM; being new in the city I didn’t know much about the Computer stores, so just asked one of my students if he knows any good hardware store. What he told me in reply was though not new but very interesting! He told me about a market where I could get about 5 RAMs just for Rs.50 (less than 1USD), but with no guarantee.

Later on verifying form other sources I found that the market does exist. Not only this single market, but also same sort of markets exist in almost all big cities of Pakistan where the computer hardware, electronic and miscellaneous mechanical products are sold per kilogram. At this one of the interviews of Head of IT Ministry, Dr. Atta Ur Rehman (published in Dawn Education some one year back) glimpsed in my mind, and I realize why Mr. Atta said that he’s going to produce 1500 PhDs in one year. Just imagine, you’re getting technology per kilograms, i.e. laptop, Rs.2000/kg, Hard Disk Rs.60/kg. Now, who the hell can stop you being the leader of IT industry!

Well, I’m not well aware of the policy of Dr Saheb, since we’ve not been briefed about it anywhere in the past and there are no such chances in future as well. Mr. Atta alone cannot be blamed for the whole situation as all this works in a system. And that system comprises of economic policies and social action programs along with planning in educational concerns.

Being specific where to the computer related parts, which are, being sold per kilogram is something of utmost importance with reference to Economy, IT Sector, and of course the ultimate effect on society as a whole. Though a large number of people who are living below the poverty line are associated with this business and this is their only living, does it make any sense of planning? Is this the way we’ll create 1500 PhDs a year? Will this practice lead towards any economic and social development?

I personally don’t know the answers of the questions above but too keen to know the facts. Having some understanding of Economic and Educational Planning, I know that if the black markets for all IT products are caught and banned not only a lot of Federal Revenues will increase but the doors for the production of all this stuff will also be possible with in the country.

We’re still not able to make a computer chip of our own! And all this is because of smuggling of products and accessories through neighboring countries. Control over smuggling and the better use of grants in IT sector can lead towards the home manufacturing of hardware reducing the cost of production and hence a real decrease in prices is possible.

Coming to the effect of this alarming situation on Education sector, if prices of technology decrease, the widespread of it is possible, with which masses can be benefited from the technology. Not at a great extent but imagine if it helps a public school to have a single computer, many children can be benefited from it. It can also reduce the cost of Education if planned well, encouraging more and more people to educate their children.

My suggestions can be ignored or rejected by any Ministry mentioned above in the same way as Insha Jee’s educational reforms were. He was asked to develop his own curriculum and syllabus and he ended up with “Urdu Ki Akhri Kitab (The Last Book of Urdu)”. But poor me! I don’t want to write “Technology ki Akhri Kitab (The Last Book of Technology”.