I. BACKGROUND READING (to be given
out 2 days before)
Key word and key terms
Islamic concepts of time
- European concepts of time
Time perspective of events
- Time: planning & prioritizing
Methods of prioritization
- Scheduling: calendar/diary
ˇ Transition time
ˇ Discretionary, and linkages
- Scheduling the day
- Balance in time management
- Problems in time management
Poor time planning
Habits and routines
Time Perspective of Events
- TIME: PLANNING & PRIORITIZING
Methods of Prioritization
Scheduling Time using a Calendar/Diary
ˇ Transition, Discretionary, and Linkages
Scheduling the Day
- BALANCE IN TIME MANAGEMENT
Self Versus Work
Self Versus Family
Self Versus Community
Imbalance Among Acts of Ibadat
- PROBLEMS IN TIME MANAGEMENT
Poor Time Planning
Habits and Routines
Good Reasons for Calling Meetings
When not to Call Meetings
Success of Meetings
Decisions at Meetings.
Concepts of time
underlying concepts influence the efficiency of time use. In pre-Islamic Arabia time was looked at as a dangerous destructive phenomenon, dahr. Islam considers
time important, finite, and fleeting. Time is a resource and an opportunity at the disposal of humans. Some time periods and
days are of higher quality than others. Human perception of time has innate limitations; humans cannot perceive very quick
or very slow events. The modern European concept of time is that of a valuable commodity used for material gain whether at
work or at play. Time can be bought or sold like any other commodity.
planning & prioritizing
Good time management assures success. Events can
be classified into 4 categories depending on their importance and urgency. Urgent and important, urgent and not important,
not urgent but important, and not urgent and not important. Some activities like salat are time-sensitive and must be put
on the schedule at the right time. Important things even if not the most urgent should be given most priority. Priority is
given to essential needs rather than wants. Ibadat has the first priority. Next are biological needs such as sleep and food.
Time must be allocated for the family, rest, recreation, and earning livelihood. Prioritization decisions should be maximizing
gains and minimizing losses. Stakeholders must be given priority in time allocation decisions. All time prioritization decisions
must be by conscious choice and not passive following of others. A diary or calendar should be used to schedule the day’s
activities. Proper scheduling requires attention to transitional time, discretionary time, and functional linkages.
Balance in time management
The following balances must be observed in time management: self and family,
self and community. Imbalance among various acts of ‘ibadat should be avoided.
Problems in time management
Manifestations of poor time planning are: poor scheduling, poor prioritizing, lack of contingency plans,
trying to do everything and not delegating, poorly kept diary that is incomplete and with conflicts, overwhelming work, changing
priorities, and too many meetings. Managers get overwhelmed with too much work to be done in a short time. Meetings waste
time and achieve little if they have no objective, no agenda, no time limits, and late coming. Many mistakes in time planning arise out of failure to anticipate events such that emergencies get out of control and
deadlines are missed. Other problems in time management are: procrastinations, inflexible routines and habits, reactive and
not pro-active behavior, punctuality, and interruptions (visitors, lengthy conversations, and the telephone.
Good reasons for calling meetings are: goal clarification, information,
decision-making, introducing new ideas, conflict resolution, and resolving implementation bottle-necks. Meetings should not
be called for the following: an alternative to a meeting is available, not enough time to prepare, key players not available,
and for personal/sensitive matters. Success of meetings depends on: calling meetings
only when actually necessary, having a clear agenda, maintaining focus on the agenda, and listening to others. Meetings are
the commonest time-waster in organizations. It is more important to do something about problems than to talk about them. Meetings
that waste your time have the following characteristics: no objective, no agenda, no time limits, and participants come late.
You have several alternatives of dealing with such meetings. If you have a good excuse do not attend. Finish your priority
work and be late. Arrive on time and leave early. Bring work to do during boring meeting sessions. Excuse yourself for 15-20
minutes to do priority work. Things that wreck meetings are: invite as many people as possible, invite anyone, cover as many
topics as possible, discuss important issues last, and spend most of the time on unimportant issues. Decisions taken at group
or team meetings must be binding. If they are not there is no purpose in holding the meeting. If the meeting is meeting in
a role other than decision-making, it is fair to inform the participants of that.
II. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (to be given
out at group discussion. Choose items to discuss in view of time)
- Think of a particular community that you know well or have lived in and describe the general concepts about time that
- What differences in concepts about time do you identify between your community and other communities you have known
- Explain how concepts about time are influenced by the underlying cultural values and norms
Importance of time
- Explain in your own words what you understand by the statement that time
is a resource
- Think of your community or any other society that you know and describe the attitude to time and its importance. What
are the practical consequences of such attitudes?
- Explain how the attitude to importance of time determines differences in achievement among individuals, communities
and even nations?
Quality of time
- Explain in your own words why some hours, days, or months are better than others?
- Why is Friday better than other days of the week from a community or societal point of view
9. Explain how understanding of the differences between the different values of times can influence
decisions about what tasks to undertake at particular times
Measurement of time
- Give an example of human failure to perceive correctly very rapid events
- Give an example of human failure to perceive correctly very slow events
- Explain what type of calendar (Islamic or Gregorian) is used in your community.
- How good are you in estimating time periods without using a watch? Can you suggest an experiment to compare estimation
ability among various members of the workshop?
14. Give examples of the following criteria of prioritization:
(a) first come first served (b) start with easy things (c) start with the most difficult (d) start with the most urgent though
not most important (e) start with the most important, though not most urgent
- Give examples of conflict between wants and needs
- Give examples of conflict between wants and musts
- Describe the use of a calendar or of a ‘to-do’ list in your community
- How well do people in your community keep appointments: turning up or turning up on time
- What are the possible causes of schedule conflict?
- Describe the attitude to and practice of late-coming in your community?
- What sanctions, if any, does your community impose on late-comers
- What are the usual excuses for late-coming
- How can you tell a genuine from a non-genuine excuse?
- Give examples from your community of imbalance in time allocation
- What are the social consequences for the family of time allocation imbalance
- What are the health consequences of imbalance in time allocation
- Give examples from your experience of time wasting because of the following: (a) drop-in visitors (b) telephones (c)
- What are the polite ways in your community of getting rid of an unwelcome visitor
- How can you politely cut off a rambling useless conversation
30. Give examples from your experience when schedule conflicts
occurred. Why was the cause and what was the cause and what were the consequences?
31. Explain in your own words what contingency planning
means. Give an examples
32. Explain how changing priorities in the middle of an
activity causes scheduling problems
Habits and routines
- What in your experience are the commonest causes of procrastination?
- How can a person be actually busy while not being productive
- Why do people feel comfortable with routine even if it is unproductive and inefficient
- Why in your opinion many people tend to be reactive and not pro-active
Describe meetings in your
experience that failed and the reasons for the failure
- What is the most common reason for calling meetings in your organization
- Describe meetings in your experience that were successful and the reasons for the success