TRAVELER DIGITAL CAMERAHuman beings have always been obsessed with the concept of time and have devised ways of keeping track of it. Sundials were the earliest clocks.

Later came water clocks, mechanical ones, then quartz clocks. Clocks are now correct to the very second.

Not all clocks are man-made, however.

There are also Biological Clocks.  Our bodies work differently during the day and at night. This explains why people experience jet lag – the time difference disturbs their biological clocks.

Then there are Social Clocks. Grandmothers are prone to remind their granddaughters about them!

There are set ideas in the society we live in, about the right time to do certain things. There is a right time to marry and a right time to have children.

There is a right time to achieve success in your profession and there is also a right time to stop taking risks!

‘The butterfly counts not months but moments,
and has time enough-‘

wrote Rabindranath Tagore.

We humans are very different from butterflies,  though. We do not have “time enough”.

So we have come up with the concept of Quality Time.

Quality time is time spent with our families, our friends, or our colleagues-  giving them our undivided attention.

Time Management skills are very important for today’s professionals ‘to get more out of their time’. Multitasking enables a person to perform more than one tasks simultaneously, and save time.

There is a saying that we should ‘stop and smell the flowers’.

In our haste to rush through each day we forget to enjoy the day, or the hour, or even the minute! It would not hurt to pause a bit and enjoy the present moment.

One is thankful that Isaac Newton did not forget this. If he he had not been ‘whiling away time’ under the apple tree watching an apple fall to the ground, perhaps he would not have formulated the Law of Gravity!

That does not mean that we should waste time on unimportant things, though!  Cyril Northcote Parkinson states in his famous Law, that-

‘work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion’..

Parkinson gives an interesting example.-

An elderly aunt, writing a letter to her nephew, may spend an hour searching for a postcard, and another hour finding the address. Some more time may be spent deciding when to go to the Post office. Thus it takes her hours to complete a task that would take a busy person only minutes!

A wise person knows what is important, and what is not. What to disregard, and what to interrupt your daily routine for.

As the poet, Robert Frost says, there is a time to work and-

A Time to Talk

‘When a friend calls to me from the road
And slows his horse to a meaning walk,
I don’t stand still and look around
On all the hills I haven’t hoed,
And shout from where I am, ‘What is it?’
No, not as there is a time talk.
I thrust my hoe in the mellow ground,
Blade-end up and five feet tall,
And plod: I go up to the stone wall
For a friendly visit.’

-Robert Frost



  1. Very interesting Manju. It never fails to amaze me, how man managed to measure time so well.. Starting from the sundial to the modern day, correct to the very second clocks!

    'A wise person knows what is important, and what is not. What to disregard, and what to interrupt your daily routine for.' – That I guess is the key..


  2. Very interesting thoughts. A butterfly has time enough, and we don't!I think that is because a butterfly, like most other creatures, except man, moves as per a pre-programmed clock; it has little else that it can do, except to survive through its allotted moments.

    Man wants to take more out of time than has been left to him by his ancestors; that is why the hurry, the worry, the neurosis, the breakdowns and the achievements too!

    We have to learn to draw the balance that Robert Frost did. We also have to keep our minds ticking even when doing 'nothing' like Newton did. Tough ask that, if you ask me!


  3. Hobo– Well, yes!

    Smitha– Yes, reading about the sundials, etc. is interesting.We went to Jaipur a few years ago, and I was fascinated by the devices to measure the time of day, etc.We don't have anything like that here.

    Vinodji– That's true about the butterfly- it has little else that it can do…

    And yes, we need to draw a balance. Unfortunately we find it difficult in the case of time, as we do in most other respects!


  4. I think it is time that we took the time to take it easy! To stop and stare. To look at the blooming of a flower. And the flowering thats there in every bloom!

    its time we stopped to ask ourselves the essence of all that we do. And the time that we spend on managing time !

    Its time we let time be ! And ourselves too. Be !


  5. Manju, I simply loved this post. Time management by various living things esp. us humans. It is so different. Everyone in this world only has 24 hrs a day so How come one achieves better than another. That is because one manages times better than another. The right balance and little schedules actually makes life easier.


  6. Manju Ji such a peritnent issue. Time….we are sorely short of it in kalyug…consuming it for all the wrong reasons….depsite being busy all the time we have not utilized or underutilized our potential as humans.

    Very intelligent was the person who coined the term 'rat race'…for all this hankering for more time for inconsequential things is truly a waste of the human life that we have been given.


  7. This post makes one think about balance. Balance in one's life.

    Long before watches came on the scene, and people wrote tomes on spending "quality" time, the happiest and most successful folks were those that had a profession (no matter how "insignificant" ), but also gave a lot of time to family and other community pursuits. A lot of our Indian cultural customs were designed for this.

    Today we parody them, have a one-track/money/success/prestige mind, and then we write about "quality time". Time to smell the flowers and the coffee ?


  8. Times have changed.Now we time time, but don't respect time,we value time because we are running against time.

    Yes,I must tell you,body clock has a significance. After heart surgery,the body clock takes a long time to come back to it's normal time cycle….this is my experience in my family.


  9. Kavi– I wonder how much it will add up to- if we did count all the time we spend in managing time? 🙂

    Solilo– Yes, everyone manages the time available in a different way- according to their priorities, probably.

    Kanagu– Well, Time was here before Man, so maybe Man did not invent Time- but he certainly invented Time management!


  10. Chrysalis– True- a 'rat race' it often is, more so in the larger cities.

    Ugich Konitari– Very true- much of Indian customs are social in nature- activities traditionally involved an individual's family, extended family, and community, too.

    Chowlaji– Yes, the body clock also has a significance.


  11. I had seen the Sun Dial in Konarak Temple. The shadow falls on the sun-dial on a particular side and the time is calculated according to that, it seems.

    The biological clock is really amazing.

    'A wise person knows what is important, and what is not. What to disregard, and what to interrupt your daily routine for.' – Best quote!


  12. I felt very sad when I saw Konark and Hampi. They are near ruins, now. We can see a glimpse of the old glory of our people there.

    Have you visited Hampi, Manju?


  13. For somebody as time-challenged as I am at present, this was an eye-opening post.

    Wish I had time like Frost's farmer, to sit upon a sunlit wall and pass the time chatting to a dear friend.


  14. Sunder– People just say that when they don't want to do something!I don't think you can edit comments. They can only be deleted.Anyway, everyone makes typos. 🙂

    Sucharita– You have plenty of reason to be time-challenged right now! I hope things slow down soon…


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