Not keeping time is a sign of backwardness and a breaking of a promise. Whenever a person makes an appointment with another, he/she has at the same time made a promise to do so. Therefore failing to honour the appointment is failing to honour a promise. Excuses by anyone to suggest that we in Africa follow our kind of African time where we are allowed to arrive at places late or do things at our own pace and convenience, is nothing but a sheer backward mentality.
It must always be noted that lack of time management and planning is one of the main causes of under development in Africa and elsewhere in the developing world. Despite the relatively good climate, the topography and rich natural resources, we are absurdly backward for a long time because of doing things haphazardly, without planning, unmindful of the time factor.
As a management tool, Time Management is about applying standard principles, practices and skills, and using certain tools and systems to help a person to get more value of his/her time. It is about budgeting one’s time as he/she should with money.
Therefore not keeping time is a sign of carelessness and irresponsibility. It is also a sign of disrespectfulness of those he/she was supposed to keep time for. On the whole, it makes a person appear uncivilised and indecent. Worst of all, it forces him/her to tell lies, to justify his/her not keeping time. As if that is not enough, such person finds himself/herself in the habit of telling lies in other things as well, to justify his/her failings. Therefore it is risky to trust such person in other things since he/she is likely to be dishonest like he/she has already done with time.
A person who does not keep or manage time also portrays himself/herself as a disorganised character. Because of being disorganised, he disorganises those he/she works with or interacts with as he/she is himself/herself disorganised. Most of the time, such person merely reacts to issues as they arise without previously expecting to do so.
He/she also tends to do things at the last minute as if he/she was not around all the time to plan what he/she wanted to do before doing it. Such behaviour is known as reactive management or ‘management by crisis’. In case such person is a boss of others, everything from him to his/her juniors is urgent.
This is because he/she does not take time to think through things before they happen. As a result, he/she realises suddenly that time for doing such things has arrived when as an individual it is not enough to do and finish them in time. For which reason, he/she resorts asking his/her juniors to stop whatever they are doing and assist him/her to do what is ‘urgent’ in his/her hands!
Owing to lack of planning, such person also tends to appear very busy, moving up and down, always in a hurry, sometimes panting, making many telephone calls in a short time, calling for this and that file or for various figures at various times but without achieving expected results at the end of the day. Such person is unfortunately idly busy.
This is why time management is considered part of a person’s personality since it affects his/her output and image positively or negatively.
Some Time Management Tips
The right way to start an era of keeping time in everything you do is to plan everything you intend doing. In order to plan properly you should begin by determining or setting the objectives you want to achieve on the basis of ensuring that they are SMART(GE). Meaning the objectives should be Specific, Measurable, Agreed and understood by the key people you need to assist (you) achieving them, Realistic (Achievable), Time bound, Gender and Environment sensitive. Then determine the needed activities and time to carry out each objective.
The activities must be arranged in the order of urgency and importance, putting first things first (prioritisation). It is also a moment for budgeting or allocating appropriate time to activities.
Since there is much more to do than anyone can possibly accomplish within a given time, you should delegate to your juniors or negotiate with your equals and seniors what you are unable to do in time. We should keep time, at all costs, without excuse except if accidents or calamities prevent us to do so.