Sunday, December 12, 2010

Business Ethics Lecture Series - Part 23 - The Essence of Time Management

A Mulla Nasrudin Story
Here is a teaching story which encapsulates the essence of time management:
Mulla Nasruddin was asked to give a talk on time management and how to fit spiritual practice into a busy life schedule. 

“Dear Friends, instead of giving a sermon I will demonstrate the art of time management, so let us conduct an experiment,” Mulla Nasrudin said.

Nasrudin began by reaching under the table and pulling out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed glass jar. 

He placed the jar on a table in front of him.

Then Mulla Nasrudin produced about a dozen big fist-sized stones and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

As usual, people began to whisper and wonder why the Mulla was doing something strange, as they had come to expect of him, instead of giving a talk like normal spiritual gurus and teachers did.

When the jar was filled to the top and no more stones would fit inside, Mulla Nasrudin asked the audience, “Tell me, is this jar full...?”

The crowd in unison said, “Yes, the jar is full.”

“Really...?” snarled Nasrudin. 

He reached under the table and pulled out a bucket of gravel, small pebbles. 

Then he poured some gravel in and shook the jar, causing pieces of gravel to work themselves down into the spaces between the big rocks, and kept filling the jar with gravel till it reached the brim.

Mulla Nasrudin then asked the audience once more, “Tell me, is the jar full now...?”

By this time the class was wizening up to him, suspicious of his intentions, so one person from the audience cautiously answered, “Probably not.”

“Good...! Now you are begining to learn...” replied Mulla Nasrudin.  

Now Mulla Nasrudin reached under the table and brought out a bucket of sand.

He started carefully pouring the sand into the jar till the sand filled up the spaces between the stones and the gravel.

Once more he asked the question, “Is the jar full now...?”

“No...!” the crowd shouted in unison.

“Excellent...!” Mulla Nasrudin said, full of praise for the intelligent audience.

Then he grabbed a pitcher of water and began to pour it into the jar of stones, gravel and sand until the jar was filled to the brim, absolutely full.

Then he looked up at the audience and asked, “Now tell me, what is the point of this illustration, what have you deduced from this experiment...?"

One eager beaver raised his hand and said, “The point is that all things, even though they seem full, are inherently empty of self.”

“No...!” snarled Nasruddin. “This is a Mulla Nasrudin story, not a Zen story...! Anyone else want to try...?”

Another eager beaver raised her hand and suggested, “I presume that the inference is that no matter how busy your schedule is, if you try really hard, use your intelligence, you can always fit some more tasks into your schedule and make maximum use of your time.”

“No...” Mulla Nasrudin replied, “That's not the point either. The great truth this experiment teaches us is that if we don't get our values straight and attend to the biggest things of value in life first, we will never be able to fit them in at all.”

In other words, the essence of time management, or even life management, is PRIORITIZATIONPrioritization in accordance with your Values.

So, Dear Reader, in a nutshell here is the essence of time management:

1. First make room for what is most important to you, things that you value the most. Those are your stones. 

2. Other things, in descending order of value or importance, like the gravel, sand and water, can then be fitted around the stones.

Think, reflect, introspect…what are the “Large Stones” in your Life…?

What are your Cardinal Values … things most important to you … things that really matter ...? 

Once you identify them, be sure to put them first in your “Jar of Life”

So set your priorities and take care of your “large stones”. 

Remember, everything else is like the small pebbles, gravel, sand and water. If you put all these into the jar first, there will be no room left for the large stones.

The same goes for your life. 

If you spend all your energy and time on the small stuff, you will never have room for things that are truly most important.

You must pay attention to the things that are critical in your life. 

Sometimes the less important things in life can distract us, filling up our time and keeping us away from what really matters ... such trivial things waste our time and sap our spirit and dissipate our energy.

Dear Reader, please close your eyes and think about your “jar of life”…  

Tell me, Dear Reader ... Is your jar of life full of sand and gravel or is it filled with “large stones”...?

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2010
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
VIKRAM KARVE educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU and The Lawrence School Lovedale, is an Electronics and Communications Engineer by profession, a Human Resource Manager and Trainer by occupation, a Teacher by vocation, a Creative Writer by inclination and a Foodie by passion. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. His delicious foodie blogs have been compiled in a book "Appetite for a Stroll". Vikram lives in Pune with his family and pet Doberman girl Sherry, with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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