A song which was a hit in the period 1965 – 1969 sung by John Rowles called “If I only had time” is what sprung to mind when I thought of writing this blog this week. The song goes something like this . . .
. . . so much to do, if I only had time, if I only had time. Dreams to pursue, if I only had time, they’d be mine.
Why is it that some people think I always have an endless amount of time on my hands? I always make time to answer SMS messages, e-mails, Facebook (and other social media requests)? I’m the “walking yellow pages” for some and the endless event co-ordinator/organiser for others? Whenever my brain is “picked for ideas or contacts for a whole range of things” I can always come up with something in terms of an idea or contact – even it I have to get back to the person later.
On the other hand, when I ask for information or help (which happens so seldom I can count it on one hand and only if I cannot find the information or item anywhere else), nobody seems to have the time to respond?
A few months ago I sent an SMS to a few people asking for something specific – to date, nobody has responded. Today, I saw one of the people I sent this SMS to and she said “I know I have not responded yet but I’m still working on what you asked – is there still time for me to respond?” This information was required for something specific with a specific deadline . . .
I recently sent out an SMS to one specific person (again, for something specific having a specific timeframe), the person responded saying they would give it to me later, then silence. I sent a reminder, an apology followed with a request to send them a reminder the next morning (which I did as per the request) and still nothing has been forthcoming. I’m giving up on this request now and, as usual, will make an alternative plan – which is generally what I do.
Are people really genuinely so busy, they cannot respond? We are all given exactly the same amount of hours each day i.e. 24 hours. Granted, some are wives/husbands, mothers/fathers but being single with a full time job and studying part time does not mean I have any more time on my hands than anybody else. The time wives and husbands spend on household chores and family responsibilities, I spend studying which makes us about equal in terms of free time available, I would think – or am I delusional?
I have been told on more than one occasion that when you are married and a parent, your priorities change. This I understand completely – my priorities would change too but remember, working full time and studying part time, my priorities have changed too! Yet, I try to keep my family and friends included in my life as far as possible – even if it has to be via SMS, e-mail and social media. I do my utmost to still be the daughter, sister and aunt I am expected to be.
Parents usually have to wait until after 8pm to catch up with chores, bills, preparing for tomorrow and hopefully, spending some quality time with their spouse. I, working full time, by the time I’ve done one hour of gym, had supper etc it is after 8pm when I can “hit the books”.
I also have deadlines to meet in terms of assignments which need to be submitted timeously. I also have bills to pay, budgets to calculate to ensure that I have the money to pay the bills, exams to prepare for etc. so I’m still trying to find out how come I supposedly have more time on my hands than anybody else?
Oh, I also forgot to mention that I also do voluntary work for a group called Women Demand Dignity (http://www.womendemanddignity.co.za) and I’m also part of a Disabled Women’s Leadership Development Programme (DWLDP) which runs for three years (2011- 2013) being trained to become a leader and facilitator which involves assignments which takes up a lot of my time. When I’m studying I usually only get to bed at around 01:00 and have to be up at 05:00 again to leave home at around 06:30 otherwise I would never get to work by 08:00. I am at work for 8 hours per day, I’m on the road travelling for 4 hours – 2 hours to work and 2 hours back home. That’s a total of 12 hours of my day gone already – need I say more?
In spite of being single with a full time job and studying part time, I am also a daughter, sister and aunt which means that I also have family responsibilities. I’m expected to spend a certain amount of quality time as a daughter, sister and aunt (whether weekly or monthly is not relevant) and this is in addition to my daily responsibilities. I make the occasional telephone call to keep in touch and physically visit from time to time to keep the physical aspect of relationships going. I try to attend as many functions I’m invited to as I can, when I can summon the energy to actually go anywhere. I make the time to come up with ideas for personalised gifts for everyone as often as I can so I break the cycle of giving “another bottle of bubble bath or shower gel”.
I started reading a book in 2007 which I desperately would like to finish but keep putting it down because there is always something more important or urgent to do. I invested in a laptop and an Android phone so I can multi-task while watching TV which is usually the only time I have to work on my social network connections, respond to e-mails etc except for when I decide to “steal time” at the office doing this during office hours.
I read just about every article I can find on time management and organisational skills to find better ways of doing things, I spend a lot of time on the internet doing research either for my studies or on ideas I have or look for sources of suppliers who can fulfil my desire for personalised gifts for everyone.
So what exactly am I missing here? Is there a big chunk of my 24 hours that I just cannot explain?
Going back to the song I started with earlier . . .
. . . so much to do, if I only had time, if I only had time
Dreams to pursue, if I only had time, they’d be mine.
Time, like the wind. Those are hurrying by and the hours just fly
Where to begin, there are mountains I’d climb, if I’d time.