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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Short of Time...

TIME IS EVERYTHING, these days, in the cyber age where everything is constantly connected, constantly moving. Young people growing up today are always connected to the Internet, always doing something, listening to a telephone call, or replying to a text message. Perhaps this malady has not spread to the countryside, where things progress at a slower pace. But sooner or later, once the Internet penetration in the countryside improves, life in smaller towns will be as hectic as that of life in the city. We are constantly robbed of time, thanks to the emergence of social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter, where non-participation is considered a social flaw, and late participation is a handicap. Politicians are constantly updating their social networking website profiles, and companies too have started to indulge in "micro-blogging".

One recent newspaper report stated that if every day, each worker spends about two hours online, surfing the Internet, watching videos, and whiling the time away "poking" and "liking" on Facebook, the drop in productivity would be tremendous. Social networking has become a real drawback for company productivity. On the other hand, employers who forbid their workers from indulging in Facebook and other social networking websites, will soon incur the unhappiness of their workers. Not only that, some employers engage Facebook to gauge and screen interviewees for their job interviews. Is it not two-faced to forbid the use of Facebook, yet seek to exploit it? Just this week, Information Week published an article outlining the dangers of social networking sites (to employers) and the impact they have on the workplace. (Ref: Information Week, 4th Sept 2010. End User 2.0: When Employees Have All the Answers)

The busy-ness of life must have a meaning. What is the point of being busy all the time... chasing the wind, for nothing? Sometimes, chasing the wind leads to a better, brighter place. Sometimes we need to chase the wind to figure out that kites can ride the wind, and open our eyes. If kite flying did not become a favourite pastime of some scientists, perhaps we would not see the advent of the wind turbine. Perhaps Benjamin Franklin would not have flown his great kite. Every great "Eureka!" must have been preceded and bolstered by many moments of pondering and wondering. It is when the "Eureka!" moment arrives that we see the greatness of considered thought over the seemingly ordinary. But we often forget that great ideas are often the result of much thought and reflection.

However, if you are busy for the wrong type of reason, then beware! All your being busy may end up in nothing. All your busy-ness will not bear fruit simply because the ground that you sow is barren and infertile. If people all about you are dying and waiting for your assistance, your being busy going horse riding and watching movies would be the worst form of investing your time. It's what some businessmen call ROI -- Return on Investment. Put another way, "What do you get out of doing something?" The idea that being busy should be meaningful, is not unheard of. We may have heard of great people, with nothing more to contribute than their time and efforts, but time and efforts are the very things that make up what is life. If we live empty lives, always enjoying ourselves, without any meaning in life, then we do not contribute to the betterment of humanity. I am always in awe of great people like Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Theresa who have invested their time and efforts into the betterment of people. Their contributions are never spoken of in monetary terms, although it is certain that it would cost a huge fortune to employ someone to be as selfless as these great people.

Spend your time wisely. More appropriately: Invest your time wisely. Time is finite, and we need to know our priorities in life. I have come to the conclusion that these few self-motivating words (presented below), will help me spend my time wisely. I hope that these words will motivate and assist you too. Remember these words when you struggle with the question, "What comes next?"


  1. Move, and keep moving. Remaining static is not an option, unless you are meditating or resting.
  2. Remember, "What needs to be done? Where am I needed now?"
  3. Think always, "Can I do it now?" rather than "Can I do it later?"
  4. Walk away from the things that you need to leave, and walk towards the things you need to get to.
  5. NOW.
  6. Think always, "Have I done enough? Can I do more?"
  7. Nobody is perfect. Your first efforts need not be perfect, but they must suffice.
  8. Revisit the work soon, to improve it a second and third time.
  9. Think, "How much time for this? How much time is left?"
  10. Keep moving, keep doing.

Remember that Facebook will not die if you fail to log in. Twitter will not flounder if you do not tweet. Social networking and online social media can be useful, but too much of a good thing can be bad. Productivity reaches a limit after a certain level of activity. Some social networking is good, but too much of it will rob us of time -- time to do what we need to do in Life.

I wish all of my readers a productive day ahead.

Note: I drew the picture in this article. Please let me know if you would like to use it. Do remember that the phrase "你 Tweet?" sounds like "Nitwit".