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Updated on: Saturday, October 30, 2021, 04:44 PM IST

Senior Citizens: Active Time Management is Crucial for A Good Life

Senior Citizens: Active Time Management is Crucial for A Good Life | Pexels

Senior Citizens: Active Time Management is Crucial for A Good Life | Pexels

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We often hear elderly people complaining about passing time. Having come out of busy schedule of the working life where they were pretty comfortable with time management, they often start feeling helpless. Absence of office hours of around 8 to 10 hours a day 5 days a week makes them feel empty and lost. Family responsibilities are also over by this time and children have started having their own independent life. Elders devoid of any specific task either in family or professional life feel that they have too much of time and too less to do. This idle state of mind, if not taken of properly, often results in loneliness syndrome and emptiness in life.

This has serious consequences.

Seniors must understand that life is a journey and end of one type of responsibility like the office job is akin to one station where they have to disembark at. Then starts the next phase of life: active retired life. This phase of life might span as long as 15 to 20 years and be as exciting as the earlier one, if not better, if proper life management principles are adopted.

Under the above context, time management as an integral part of managing life becomes crucial.

Essence of Active Time Management:

Active management of time at micro level is crucial to spending time fruitfully. The word active is used here to mean that an elderly person has to take the lead in making his / her time discipline with proactive approach. Time management essentially means that the individual has to think, and plan to spend time amidst various activities on a daily basis. Some basic ingredients in this regard include:

1. Setting goals / targets for next 3 to 5 years. This is imperative as any journey without destination in mind is directionless and will not lead to anywhere. This is a process undertaking analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) of the concerned individual. Goals will be different for every individual and will be in alignment with strengths / passions of the person and opportunities in external environment. For example, one may like to learn a new language or new instrument but the external environment should have adequate opportunity in terms of financial resources to buy the instrument or availability of teacher, etc.

2. Meticulous implementation of the plan. This is equally important; many plans in real world fail not because of defect in planning but owing to lack of execution. Elders must ensure that proper steps are followed in implementation like:

a. Earmarking time for each segment of activity to achieve goals set.

b. Ensuring that time allotted is adequate for each activity with provision for extension, if need be.

c. Following the time allotted with meticulousness, focus and attention. This is essential as focus and attention alone can bring in desired results besides being meticulous. It is always stated that genius in one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration meaning thereby hard work with focus is key to success.

d. One needs to review on regular basis whether the goals are achieved as per original plan. For example, if one is learning a new language or musical instrument, review should be taken up say, once a month, about the progress.

e. Adequate time should be allotted for regular daily activities like physical exercise, yoga, meditation, etc. as these are vital to develop a strong physique and willing mind to learn new things as planned.

f. One definitely cannot perennially do serious work alone and breaks are needed for rejuvenation. Hence sufficient time should be allotted for breaks and other lighter assignments like seeing a movie or listening to music or spending time with nature, etc.

3. We often see many elders and for that matter people even in other ages spending time idly or in so called matters that are not only not important but also wasting time. Excessive use of internet medium like WhatsApp or Facebook are classical examples of the same. Sending good morning messages or unnecessary forwards take lots of time that can be avoided; time saved from wasting is equal to time well preserved. This is a major issue with the elderly people. We suggest that seniors can earmark a specific time say, 30 minutes each in the morning and evening hours for such internet messaging for communication with family members / friends / communities. This can save lots of time to be used in a proper manner for achieving the Ikigai (purpose of life).

Way Forward:

We need to plan our life beyond retirement properly. This planning is not limited in financial sense alone; we must be very clear in what we want to achieve and do in second phase of life (post-retirement). This planning will help us give directions and purpose to our life. But achievement of desired goals, to a large extent, depends on how well we execute the plan through a disciplined time management scheme. Doing things that are important (in terms of achieving set goals) and necessary (to maintain good life) in a calibrated manner will help elderly not only to achieve something new & unique even at an advanced age but also enable them to lead a contented life.

This alone will help us in having satisfaction that we have contributed even after retirement from work life!

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Published on: Saturday, October 30, 2021, 04:44 PM IST
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