By Jyotsna joshi

Podcast by Akanksha Seth

You can listen to the article here or read the transcript below…

Human being is a function of time. There are so many things she may want to do.

  • a wide range of activities that may thrill her,
  • a number of people, from family, extended circles, professional networks, or other affiliations that she might want to stay connected to
  • a plethora of hobbies and interests she would like to pursue in leisure to keep the mind rejuvenated
    But all these things come at the cost of one variable- TIME. It seems that right from the beginning of the day, till the time one calls the day off, there is a timer ticking. However, there is an underlying thread which connects all the tasks with time. This brings forth the term PRIORITY. I would illustrate this with two anecdotes, rather personal episodes with few of my dearest college friends. We have managed to be in touch all through these years, despite of passing out from college nearly a decade ago. When we had lost the physical connect after freshly passing from the college, our discussions would include our daily routine, the people we met during this course, what new things we are learning, what plans we have etc. Life moved on, we became neck-deep engaged in our works and so the frequency of these interactions lessened. It now became occasional and restricted to wishing each other on festivals and birthdays (or anniversaries).

Episode 1: Of late, since last three four years WhatsApp added the new feature of status update wherein people can post their pictures for a period of 24 hours and update their contacts as to what really is in their minds. Naturally, I too was drawn by it and started uploading my pictures. All the connections on my phone are able to view it, and some of them do revert by expressing their feelings on the picture/picture setting/people in picture/activity or idea represented by the picture. People who view it from time to time and revert with some comment someday, indicate the effort they are making in keeping the connection fresh and kicking. Likewise, even I can view the updates of all those in whose contacts I exist. For the last couple this friend of mine has affiliated herself with a spiritual organization. Now, since I am a very neutral & no-judgement person, I would plainly see all her status updates related to the Head of the organization she was linked with & his preachings.

All through these years, my friend kept me motivating to join some of the meditation/yoga courses offered by her umbrella organization. But, I hardly found any time. Thanks to a busy schedule I follow right from the start of the day, wherein I manage everything on my own-without the help of any house-help. This includes office, all domestic chores, cooking, cleaning, inventory planning, talking to both mine and my spouse’s parents every day, my research papers & articles that go in parallel with my office work, few courses that I am enrolled into and took exams and wrote assignments of, exercising, etc. The list is never ending. Adding to that, I even make a point to contact the cousins, extended family, friends from time to time.

All this never gave me time to actually think on the meditation course that she kept on sending. Each time she would go on asserting the importance of Meditation & Peace in life, to which I would remember my mother’s saying “Do all your works with full dedication, that will give you solace and you can find peace in it”. I tried to convince my friend many a times about this thought, to which she still keeps on re-asserting how important a guru is in one’s life, and the mindfulness and meaning of Life one finds under guidance. However, I am too happy in my life and am enjoying each of its moments: “Maybe, it’s all about priorities”.

Episode 2: We are linked by the same profession however I am much into the academic part of it and he is into the implementation part. This friend of mine is a long lost person who suddenly comes to picture as and when he needs some professional assistance from me. Since I am into publishing my articles with newspapers and journals, which all in my network know of, one fine day I received a call from this gentleman asking me to help him with a report on development policies related to gender. Now this was a very new topic for me to research upon so I bargained for some time. I was cautioned by my husband to deal with the topic in a macro-manner and provide my inputs to that gentleman to work upon. However, even after detailing the structure of report of him, it seemed he wanted me to write certain sections, which I was very reluctant to because of: a) I had never worked on that topic, b) I was constrained of time, c) I cannot entertain the requests of anyone and everyone- prioritizing it before my tasks.

Yes, “It’s all about priorities- how well we define them in life”. How justified is it to expect something of the other person you have known for so many years? Or, just because of your affiliation with a person you go on imposing the urgency of your tasks upon her? That too, when you know the n-number of activities that person is already engaged with; and still out of the sheer respect for your relationship is giving time to you. Shouldn’t you be content that you got to meet such people in life, who gave their time to you and listened to you; or even offered you their help when requested? That said, how far is it justified to make a noose of your tasks and tie it as a responsibility on the other?

It is understandable that a person evolves with each passing second. This may be accredited to the environment she is exposed to, the kind of people she is working with, and the networks she has formed or aspires to be in. The true beauty of being human lies in acknowledging the differences in existence and appreciating the beauty that underlies it. After all, human being is a function of time. The activity she spends most of her time into is aced by her. This does not mean that others shall also start doing the same thing. Though on normative side, one should try to become more and more judicious with utilizing time; at the end of the day what matters is PRIORITY, which comes from the intrinsic value the person attaches with any activity/event/person. So, it is wise to prioritize your tasks and do them yourself, without putting the burden of expectations of that task completion on your known ones. Well! That’s only the key to a happy life.

The author holds a Masters from Tata Institute of Social Sciences and works as a public policy consultant with the Planning Department of Government of Andhra Pradesh

2 thoughts on “Priorities

  1. A very fulfilling piece on striking balance between being a loyal and generous person, and setting healthy boundaries to place your well being and interest first.
    Glad someone took the time to write about this!


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