40.1 TIME MANAGEMENT, idaarat al waqt

By Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr.


The 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.



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.



The following balances must be observed in time management: self and family, self and community. Imbalance among various acts of ibadat should be avoided.



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 in the following circumstances: availability of alternatives to a meeting, not enough time to prepare, key players not available, and for personal/sensitive matters. Success of meetings depends on: calling meetings when they are actually necessary, having a clear agenda, maintaining the meeting focus on the set 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. Meetings that wreck meetings: Invite as many people as possible. Invite anyone. Cover as many topics as possible. Discuss important issues last. 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.

(c) Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. 2004