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Time and Mankind (Part III)

Knowing and Doing

There is a big difference between knowing what to do and knowing how to do it. Even knowing how, the process or the steps to be taken, and being actually able to do it, put the process, the steps into action are far from being alike. That is probably the fundamental difference between artists and critics or athletes and couches or commentators if you will. In fact that is probably the principal variance between all the doers of marvel and the admiring spectators. Lets take an enthused football fun that has a remarkably detailed information or knowledge about the sport or perhaps even a distinguished sports journalist who loves football to make the point even clearer.

It is amazing how such journalists analyze the game, the players, the couch the staff, etc. They seem to know everything about the sport and they seem to be right all the time as they give comments and make speculations. Such sport journalists criticize players, even the greatest ones, by making substantial cases against the performances of the players. However, such journalists, while they know what to do in the football pitch and also know how to do it, if they were placed there to put their knowledge into effect, they would without a doubt fail. After all, the fact of the matter is they are just journalists who know a lot of things about football they can barely do what professional athletes do on the football arena. They lack the physical capacity, the mind and body coordination and most importantly the proper training and practice of athletes to be able to do what the athletes do.

However, it is not only in foot ball or sports this knowing what to do but being unable to it becomes a case. The phenomenon can be applied analogically in several spheres of activities that people could possibly be engaged in. And this analogy comes in handy in case of mastering time by making the best out of the time people have here on earth. For the most part, people are conscious of the value of time and they are aware of the fact that they could do better in utilizing their time for much more productivity. However, a lot of people dont exactly know how to. They dont have the adequate detail of information about efficient time management that would empower them to utilize their time more effectively. On the other hand, there are a lot many others that are familiar with the concept of time management or even perhaps well versed on the issue. Yet still, many from these very people with adequate information about the issue of time management are constantly seen failing to put their knowledge in to practice. Here is w h e r e the analogy that had been referred to earlier come to use. Knowing the need for better utilization of time and knowing how to manage time effectively are two different things.

It is astonishing how spending time in cafeterias and bars has become a commonly accepted order or custom here in Asmara especially among the youth these days. In the evenings, even in the day time, it is astounding how such centers of recreation are flooded with people sitting around for hours. Some might wonder how one could possibly come into assuming that the people seen in such places are not using their time efficiently sheerly from observing that they are spending time there. Yes some may wonder how one could possibly make such a speculation without having adequate information about the amount of time that these people spend working and relaxing. Well, first and foremost it is not that hard to find out the average- hours-at-work of the majority of the labor force here in our capital. Nonetheless, without even going into such details, lets take a different perspective, looking at the bigger picture. Lets see the level of development of Eritrea as a country and imagine the prospect of the level of prosperity, not only in comparison with other developed countries but also with our dreams, with the level that we all would love to take our country to. Let us further think of the amount and pace of work that is required, which of course ought to be fairly proportionally distributed among us, to make our country to that dream land we all want it to be. Now with all this variables in the equation, do we still think that we have the luxury of spending hours of a day or an evening habitually in recreation centers? Still, it is not the failure to realize that there is the need to use our time more efficiently that hinders us from doing so, but other factors one of which is lack of adequate knowledge of time management.

Yet again, knowing what to do and knowing how to do it are two different things. Indeed knowing that there is a need for using time more ably and possessing the essential information and skill to do so, are not the same. Which is why, even those who are said to be equipped with some information on how to manage time are found caught in the swamps of dawdling for more than a little time than they would care to admit. To begin with the level of the awareness of people on the issue comes into question. Next, even when the level of knowledge of the issue of efficient time utilization is satisfactory, putting that fitting information into effect poses a whole lot different challenge to people.

There is this office I go to every now and then for certain business. Especially at around the beginning of this calendar year, I had to go to that office quite several times. There is this young man in that offence who is supposed to be handling the tasks of the office in the absence of his manager or whenever his manager is busy. This young man however, has this distinctive habit that I have noticed on my frequenting. Without a n y overstatement, most of the times I went into that office, I find this young man on the phone. At first I didnt noticed him as I usually enter to the office, deliver what I was there for and leave without any delay. However, one day I had to see his boss who was not around but as I was told was supposed to be coming. This very young man, who told me that his boss was coming then so kind of him offered me a chair and asked me to be seated as I wait, for it might take a while.

He was right the waiting took more than an hour and half, and all that time, I was in the office doing nothing but tediously looking around. It is then that I noticed the young man; throughout the time I was there he was on the phone none stop. He doesnt even hang up when people come into the office. He puts the handle on the table deals with them and picks up the handle and returns back to his conversation. Later his boss came and I was discussing my business in his office when the boss wanted to ask the young man something and picked up the phone, only to find out that the line is busy. The boss said quiet in despair “What am I going to do with this kid? I think ‘the Phone is pierced on his ear (a common expression for someone who spends a lot of time on the phone) or something, he is on the phone all day every time I need something I have to go to his office!!”

Based on his job and the office he works at it wouldnt be wild to guess that that young man would be fairly educated, which makes it hard to accept that he wouldnt have the slightest idea about the work time he is wasting and the idea of time management. He is however, probably like most of the people who know what they are supposed to do, know how to do it but for some reason or another not seem to be able to actually do it. It is like the scenario of the sport journalist raised at the beginning of this article. They knowing what should be done on the football pitch but are unable to do it. For, playing on the pitch requires developing the coordinated physical, mental and psychological fitness that professional athletes possess by training and practice, in addition to the knowledge of how to. Similarly, understanding the value of time, learning the strategies of time management and integrating them into our character to make them part of our lives takes patient training of oneself and tireless practice those skills.


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