How time is managed globally
"I would I could stand on a busy corner, hat in hand, and beg people to throw me all their wasted hours." Bernard Berenson
Many people have access to resources which can help them manage their time more productively. Bookstores often have entire sections dedicated to self-help, with shelves of books from the For Dummies series—a collection of books meant to help anyone who is inept at almost anything. “…For Dummies books are the perfect survival guide for anyone who finds themselves in difficult situations” (“References”). There is even a Time Management for Dummies book in this series. A quote from the introduction of the book gives a general idea of the kind of advice it provides:
To succeed in the 21st century, you’ve got to do more than just get organized. You have to do a better job of staying on top of all your unfinished work, tasks, and projects, and you accomplish this goal by improving your follow-up systems. With an efficient and effective follow-up system, you can convert the time that’s being wasted during a normal business day into time that can be used more efficiently, effectively, and profitably (Mayer).
Still, the self-help industry extends far beyond books. There are television programs such as Dr. Phil, which features a prominent modern American psychiatrist who introduces people around the world to the problems of others, and demonstrates how people can apply the solutions of these problems to their own lives. In addition to the self-help books and television programs, there are self-improvement seminars offered in cities around the world where people listen to lectures given by intelligent, well organized, time-management experts for advice. Time management plays a pivotal role in all of these resources. The popularity of time-management training continues to increase in popularity over time.
As the pace of life quickens and time becomes scarce, there is often no patience for those who lose or squander it. So what do we do? There are several obvious solutions to an overcrowded schedule and the resulting lack of free time: one could participate in fewer activities, forego working overtime, avoid procrastination, or work faster or more efficiently. These are but a few of the basic time-honored, time management principles people subscribe to (McNamara).
There are also options other than books, seminars, and television for those around the world to become better time managers. We can learn by examining the time-use behavior of other cultures. In an online interview, professor Geoffrey Godbey, author of Time for Life, stated his belief that there is much to be learned from the time-use habits of other cultures:
I think we need to understand how time is used in a variety of cultures. In particular, we need to understand the ways of life in Europe, Scandinavia, China and South America, for very different reasons. The Brazilians are capable of leisure—walking in the plaza, talking with friends, lying on the beach. The Scandinavians have figured out how to use time in ways that allow families to prosper, the Chinese have three weeks of holidays—at least in the cities—and the Europeans know how to live . . . So, it can easily be said that when we list those skills that we are most in need of improving, time management finds itself high on the list.
Although the time management resources we mentioned above are available to many people throughout the world, they are not available to all. In developing countries, access to time management seminars, media, and self-help literature is scarce. “In contrast to the situation in the developed world, where transport and communications infrastructures for delivery of both physical goods and information services are well established, the alternatives available within developing countries are generally slow, expensive, or nonexistent” (Sadowsky). According to Sadowski, in his article “The Internet Society and Developing Counties,” Africa is the continent found to be the most lacking.
Of all developing regions, Africa stands out as the least networked of all. Progress has been slow for a number of reasons. A history of colonialism until recent times, poor physical and human infrastructures, patterns of communication tied to colonial powers rather than being intra-African, large distances, and absence of a tradition of stable government all have conspired to retard both development in the region and the introduction of the Internet there.
As time moves on, this will hopefully change, and everyone will have easy access to information which can assist them in effectively managing their day to day lives.
- Godbey, Geoffrey. On-line interview. 13 December, 2006.
- "Mayer, Jeffrey J." Time Management for Dummies. 2nd ed. Foster City, IDG Books Worldwide, 1999.
- "McNamara, Carter, MBA, PhD." “Basics of Time and Stress Management.” Managementhelp.com. 31 Dec. 2006.
- “References for the Rest of Us! ™.” Dummies.com. About Dummies site. 3 Dec. 2006.
- "Sadowsky, George." “The Internet Society and Developing Countries.” OnTheInternet. Nov./Dec. 1996. 7 Jan. 2007.