Introduction The late former Chief Minister of T. Nadu, Dr. M. Karunanidhi, was a brilliant orator in Tamil literature and also a superb author, who wrote so many books and articles. When quizzed about how he found so much time to do what he did, pat came the reply: am awake very early in the morning. Do this regularly and you will realize that you also have time on your hands!! Pearls of Wisdom from one who lived for 95 years and did so much for the cause of Tamil. Even doctorates in Tamil literature would take lessons from him. That he was not even a matriculate was never an issue.
Well, Time Management of Dr. Kalaignar, as he was very affectionately called by millions was just what he did. There are many other things he did in his lifetime. In this article we will focus on a) The Art of doing more than normal in a day b) Doing the simple things at work and also at home c) The "not for tomorrow" principle d) Getting subordinates to do more through delegation d) Reviewing the progress of all tasks and e) Taking corrective action as appropriate.
The Art of Doing more than normal in a day This is very important. It can be easily done if you follow very simple rules. They are a) Arise early b) Concentrate on "Urgent and Important" tasks only c) Cut down on cell phone conversations d) Keep emails very simple and e) Never get entangled on emotional issues. The first demands commitment and consistency. It is something like what the late Dr. Kalaignar did for all his life. The second requires a ten minutes review the previous night and small notes in pocket-sized notepads. And during travel time if you would take the Metro to work, you could easily go through notes to just get prepared. This is exactly how even Senior executives in Bangalore have started getting things done. The metro travel gives them the breathing space to be mentally focused on urgent and unimportant tasks. Let us take one example of an urgent but so no urgent task. Your daughter has secured 99% in core subjects. She will get an engineering seat for sure. You are confused between two possible very good colleges in Chennai and Coimbatore. The discussion regarding this can even happen with career counselors after 6 pm. Such appointments are common. Keeping your mind calm and focused on organizational tasks is a very big imperative. This author had seen the ultimate. A very senior executive had learned that his mother, living in Mumbai was no more. The cremation would take another 24 hours as his elder brother had to come from the USA. He quietly booked a ticket by the late evening flight and attended the vital meeting, during which he made very constructive suggestions for getting reducing cost. This was very much appreciated. After the meeting was over, he broke the news to the CEO, who was furious that he was not told before. He questioned the Senior executive as to why he did not tell him before. When the senior executive told him the 24 hours delay for the funeral, the CEO not only praised him but gave his personal car and asked his driver to ensure that he boarded the flight. The personal care was touching. Yet, the Senior Executive had done so much during the day, by not confusing the personal issues with organizational tasks.
Doing the simple things at work and also at home None of us live in isolated islands. To need to do the most simple things to create good atmospheres at home. A single nasty incident can completely spoil your moods and the entire day. For example, you cannot neglect the task of a small conversation with your seven-year-old daughter. You must find some time to do it. If your wife is also employed, no matter how busy you are, you need to chip in with whatever help you can. Doing household work is not a crime. You are no way inferior by doing it. You must remember that all modern women want their space. There is none who is ready to sacrifice their personal space today. They need caring and sharing. You need to remember all these things. And at work, you cannot afford not to respond to pleasantries. A smile and acknowledgment can go a long way. Only motivated subordinates can work and give their total voluntary cooperation. This should be carefully noted and take appropriate action.
Making the "not for tomorrow" principle work every day This is exactly what happens with highly successful people. Look at how the senior executive reacted even after he knew his mother was no more. This is the only way in which every single thing in life should be done. Opening a SIP deposit, right today with a leading Mutual Fund. Reminding a relative on something he had to do. Appreciating your wife for something excellent she had done earlier in the day. These are small things but go a long way only when they are done. Talking about doing it tomorrow is absolutely useless and does not add value to you at all. In fact, you will get into what is called a vicious circle of inaction. We need to make "will-do-it-right-now" attitude a habit and when this works, we can easily observe the difference it makes to our lives at all times.
Getting subordinates to do more through delegation If you would immerse yourself in doing everything, nothing can be done. You will end up spending sixteen hours per day and yet find that your day is rather incomplete. This happens only because you have not been able to understand the vital difference of what delegation can do to your life. Even if you have just four subordinates, getting them to do part of your jobs, by training and hand-holding them and also giving them the authority is the wisest thing to do. You will discover that you have more time to do different things and when this happens, your day will be very usefully spent. This author had seen this work so beautifully at L&T, one of the finest engineering companies in the world. This is exactly how the most effective executives get things done. We should learn from such people.
Reviewing the progress of all tasks In many TVS group companies, the daily works meeting takes place and during this meeting, the most urgent and technical tasks are discussed. The Director of Operations or head of the plant, as he is called, would call for progress every one hour. This is exactly what should happen. Since the data comes through SAP, he can easily see what is going wrong and then take all action to ensure that the mistake does not happen again. The task of getting things done is never complete without a review of all tasks. This applies to our personal tasks too.
Taking corrective action as appropriate In L&T, the corrective actions are always immediately taken. Every single event is recorded and the learning from mistakes is complete. When the corrective action is being taken, everyone gets involved. There are five-minute discussions to ensure that everything is okay. The fire-fighting comes down when the tasks get completed through collective action. The more this is done, the more effective the day becomes for everyone. One can always a great deal from such environments. Even otherwise, simple observations of successful people will teach us many a good lesson in completing all tasks on time, during one single day.
Conclusion Based on real life experiences and some common sense rules, the aforesaid discussion has focused on what it takes to get the best of every single day. Doing this religiously can make a vital difference to our lives at all times.