NEW DELHI: More and more people in the corporate world are falling prey to burnout, disillusionment, depression and stress. So we often hear the following cries of helplessness and despair:
“I feel trapped” “I feel being controlled” “I am always fire fighting”“I am just managing a series of crisis”“All my relationships have gone for a toss”
Probe them a little and you discover that this helplessness is on account of their wanting to be in control — of their time and life. However, they have perhaps overlooked one small fact — much of our life is spent working and living with people whom we cannot control!
In their quest for achievements, they aim at efficiency — at achieving more in less time. However they forget that efficiency can only be related to work and things, not in relationships. Moreover, sometimes ‘achievements’ and ‘success’ may be at the cost of relationships, since the quest for ‘more’ leaves no time for building new or maintaining existing relationships. And this leads to
a sense of emptiness, detachment, inadequacy and loss.
Much of the stress, as evident above, is related to what is known as ‘perceived value of time’, which is like ‘return on time invested’. Greater the perceived value of one’s time, greater is the mental satisfaction, feeling of happiness and achievement, and lesser the sense of fatigue and stress.
Organising self becomes crucial to any attempts of optimising ‘return’ on time. Self-organisation begins with goals because they give us
a sense of purpose and direction. So having a plan for the day helps. However, the plan should be realistic and achievable. Unreal-
istic goals create pressure and since much of what we set out to do is not completed, it also creates unhappiness.
Listing out and prioritising helps in managing tasks. Also, priorities keep on changing — revisiting and rescheduling them ease out stress. It is also important to prioritise what must be done, rather than what one would like to do.
‘Letting go’ releases us from time spent on things which others can do — too much of centralisation reduces effectiveness. Delegation is the key. Self-mastery is critical —upgrading oneself helps in keeping pace with the changing times. It helps in quick and timely
decisions and actions.
But what about the things beyond our control, such as unscheduled visitors, phone calls, urgent messages and unplanned meetings? It helps to set aside time to entertain visitors as well as catch up with colleagues and juniors. But a ‘quiet hour’ to finish up daily work without any interruption is important. It is the thought of a table loaded with files waiting to be cleared, which makes one snappy and irritable.
Phone calls may be screened and conversations kept short. Important points for meetings may be listed beforehand. A finishing deadline will automatically cut out the irrelevant.
Time is like money — the more we have, the more we spend. A little thought, planning and discipline helps in getting the most out of both.
(The author is a learning and development professional and the chief synergist at Kiai Peoplez Solutions at Delhi. She can be reached at