Monday, January 18, 2016

Interpersonal skills and time management

In the past, we used to discuss about LSRW. The skills of listening, speaking, reading and writing considered imperative in all situations. With the changes around the globe, there are so many other skills that stipulate our attention in order to ascend in our job, work place, personal life, relationships etc. Not unless there is an understanding of human needs, emotions and values, can relationships be built and core competencies be enhanced. There is a constant need to develop the skill to know, analyse and deal with people of diverse behaviour patterns and varying emotions as we are perpetually surrounded with people/society. Though there is a sudden hype on the subject of emotional intelligence but it is the most important attribute to the leadership ladder. Be it students, teachers, administrators or managers, all should try to learn these skills at early stages of their careers so as to be immaculate in man management. As being at work means working effectively with different people. For example, a student , when is taught life skills, should learn to keep a consistency in his feelings and emotions, in order to manage self appropriately, a teacher requires certain skills of communication and relationship based on trust and respect to deal with students and handle the class capably. Knowledge of the subject can only be shared when the students are receptive and well managed by the teacher. Similarly, someone on a more responsible post can have a better control over situations by adopting a problem solving approach and also by being able to manage conflicts arising among employees. Giving a patient ear to other’s perspective, selecting the best course of action to resolve differences and also appreciating when required, are some of the key points to deal with people around. Interpersonal skills thus become a strong predictor of success in personal as well as professional life. Through verbal and non-verbal communication, many issues can be solved amicably. Only if there is rationality and coherence in thought and action, can there be a positive environment in an organisation. Moreover, if one knows and considers the emotional implication of verbal communication on the people around, can there be a sense of gratification. Some people, in order to be assertive as there profile demands become rude, which again is downbeat for their escalation. Empathy and encouragement can turn all odds to evens. A much talked about concept these days in most of the seminars is the feedback concept which ensures accuracy as regards opinion formation (only if it is an honest feedback). In a nutshell, an individual has to adopt a panchromatic approach to deal with the surroundings.
Consider this example, if a child is told by the teacher to be there with her during some activity period, for the completion of a specific project / topic, at the same time, his (the child’s) best friend also asks him to play with him, what does the child do? This might put the child in a dilemma and he may not be in a position to take an appropriate course of action. If he doesn’t take the teacher’s call, he might lose on his image as a student and if he doesn’t go to his friend, he compromises his relationship with his friend. Interestingly, most of us are aware of our ‘objectives’ and ‘relationships’. Ideally, the child should be with the teacher, only if he understands his priorities (which must be taught at formative stages).Now, this child will have to strike a balance by being prudent in his interpersonal relationship with his teacher and act sensibly with his friend. As understood that ‘objectives’ and ‘relationships’ go hand in hand. In a case where objective is given more priority than relationship or the entire focus is on the achievement of objective, relationship can not be nurtured thereby creating a void. If all the preference is given to relationship without any objective, then this does not cater to the need of survival as only relationships can not fetch livelihood. However, if there is a balance between the two, it becomes an ideal situation which can very well be practised in every day life. More importantly, interpersonal skills are the lifeblood of any organisation / individual working with many people around.
Another crucial issue to be discussed is time management, as the moment time is managed, there would be no stress. Arranging, organising, scheduling and budgeting ones time to increase the output is called time management. We may not realize and exercise a conscious control over time, which leads to dereliction or incompetency. This is mostly prevalent in teenagers or even adults. By having ambiguous objectives, aimless activities or unnecessary interruptions, we may face a massive loss of time, however, if these obstacles are dealt with, scrupulously, managing time will not be a great deal. Growing children and students should be counselled about the same at the early stages of their life so that they invest in time rather than waste it. For it, the first step is to recognise that the obstacle exists, after identifying it, employ strategies to overcome it. Time management is also synonymous with having SMART (acronym) goals. To meet SMART goals and to be truly effective we must begin with the outcome in mind, as, being busy or being efficient will not make much of the difference. Pareto Principle proves to be true in majority of the cases. We spend 80% of our time that yields 20% results and 20% of our time is spent in gaining 80% results. There has to be an analysis of the ‘trivial’ and the ‘vital’. Something that is trivial should be put on the back burner and substantially, something that is vital should be the priority. The categories of ‘must do’, ‘should do’ and ‘nice to do’, comes in handy here. Scheduling priorities is the key that opens the lock for many missions. What if we involve ourselves in ‘not so urgent’ tasks and then whine later for being stressed out on account of more work? No doubt this is a human tendency nonetheless, the quadrangle of time is fundamental to deal with most of the situations. One needs to understand the difference between ‘important’ and ‘urgent’. Then comprehending the quadrangle of time stating ‘urgent / important / not urgent / not important’, can become a perfect guide in time management. Especially in this example of another student being motivated by the teacher to study assiduously, makes a promise to himself to persevere and accomplish his objective or goal, is further invited by peers for a get together on the same day at 5 o’clock; now what does he do? He can not let go his commitment as it is his enlightenment. Neither can he offend his friends who plan a gathering may be after months. How does he get rid of this impasse? Perhaps he can politely convey to his friends to change the timing of the get together or if discreet can also refuse to participate, without losing the sight of his objective. Deciphering between ‘important and not urgent’ and ‘urgent and not important’ is crucial. Something urgent will always demand our attention, only if we start rationalising, prioritizing and planning. If we have our goal set and time allocated, we will never reach the fourth stage of tasks defined as ‘not important and not urgent.’ In some circumstances, we might be pushed to ‘important and urgent’ category. This can be the result of procrastination, when we decide and excuse ourselves to conclude an important task. However, by meticulous planning, these tasks can be accomplished way ahead of the deadline and the first quadrant can be averted. Rather the use of interstices, which is a fragment of space, is a good idea to save on time. Only if we are aware that such a space exists. Mailing while travelling, planning while commuting, creating while watching etc., are a few examples of substantial use of interstices. Relationship building, recreation, etc; are in the category of ‘not urgent’ but ‘important’ tasks. Generally individuals are seen glued to their mobiles while travelling, commuting or even while attending conferences. This might appear ridiculous but, these interruptions are the quadrant of ‘urgent and not important’. However, the children as well as parents have to understand that gadgets and social networking sites consume a lot of time rather a major chunk of  time is spent on facebook, net browsing, chatting, twittering, watsapp etc. Hence, this discretion has to be developed, giving them an insight into the ‘not urgent and not important category’. Some trivia has to be condemned lest it should occupy the precious hours of your life.
Time is said to be the greatest healer. But a second wasted can be gauged only by the person who averted an accident, similarly, a fraction millisecond can be estimated only by an athlete. So, with the commencement of the New Year, let us resolve to create a time balance account so that there is a purpose added to life. As once the time is lost, it can never be recovered and by managing time one can reach the pinnacle of success.