Our big gorilla
At any given one moment, everyone is battling with something. To one, it may be athletic foot. To another; raising a moustache which is not responding. The US folks are battling gun violence, home ownership and cyber bulling. The Spaniards are right now into the Catalonia’s independence crisis. We in Africa – apart from nursing hunger and malaria and nascent democracies, are embroiled in a battle with a big gorilla – time keeping – and we score very low at it.
There is a saying: ‘Africans don’t wait for time, rather time waits Africans.’
Is it true that Africans don’t keep time?
I will get there when I get there as long as I get there – African proverb
The world has conspired to profile us as very bad people in some faculties.
One is that we don’t read. That if you want to hide something from us, put it in writing. Though this school of thought has successfully been discredited. The writing is on the walls and yes, we do read.
Yet, when it comes to the theory of time keeping, at least as I have made observations, we remain defenseless. While time management isn’t a difficult concept, it still eludes a large number of people today.
The only milestone
I will not equate everybody in this equation though. At least the corporate world here in Kenya is good on time keeping. Their compliance with corporate time keeping is optimal and I must recognize.
But what about the others?
If you plan a 7AM event and you want people to come, ensure you write in the poster that the meeting starts at 6AM. The one hour unannounced lag will automatically account for our time-insensitive nature. But this is bad. Anyone who comes past 7, with this kind opportunity is naturally jinxed, excuse us he is not an African!
Why would we not keep time?
Those who know me will tell I’m a consistent time keeper, I really try. No, I’m good at it – there is not a trying time keeper. Look, we have bible study sessions in our school every Wednesday. Running from 7 – 9 pm. I always make it clear to members from the beginning that I would report ten minutes to time and leave 5 minutes to time. When my departure time reaches, I excuse myself and leave, regardless of whether the pastor is in the middle of praying for South Sudan or IEBC.
If I extend, I would not be able to read my accounting and practice math. I would not be able to write my blog, or read a novel. Sleep will catch up with me.
A story is told that our ancestors did not have watches and therefore waited for the moon, the sun and the rooster’s crow to tell them time. This could be misleading yet, it has trickled down on us.
Some come late to meetings because they have been hardwired to do so. They don’t appreciate the value of time. To them, they have the whole world at their disposal. Or they are waiting not to be the first to come late! Ridiculous. If you depend on others’s time keeping, you gonna have a bad time.
Importance of keeping time
We regain a kind of paradise when we stick to time. It allows a team to move with a uniform progression into the next activities scheduled. If people come late, the group will stop from time to time welcoming you and repeating on the things already discussed. Woe betide you if you this guy who always drag people behind. Hope is that you can change after reading this article.
It creates a good impression to keep time. Group members will know you are reliable, organized, and have ability to plan ahead.Good impression will create trust and confidence between you and others.
We must realise that keeping time shows respect. It also shows that you are a person of integrity. We have to learn to value time. So, if you want to be the greatest soul on earth, keep time.
How to keep time
By organizing, prioritizing and managing your time more effectively, you’ll be able to get through more in the day.
What to do when you will be late
Unplanned emergencies can always rear their ugly face between you and the impending meeting. Let your team leader know in advance you would be late. If possible, make a projection that you would be late by how many minutes. When you finally arrive, make an apology (in a way you don’t interrupt the discussion). Ask to be shown what you missed and what next.
We can’t imagine a life without time keeping. Time is a scarce resource. So, if you want to be great, learn to keep time.