Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Time Management in India

With everyone running on a different schedule and most people living by the proverbial Indian Standard Timing, learning how to manage your time can be quite a challenge when living in India.

Sleep disturbances are the most common thing causing trouble for many expats. Many people are not used to hearing music blasting until late at night or starting early in the morning. Often there is music coming from more than one source creating further disturbance. In addition to the music, there are stray dogs fighting in the street randomly throughout the night. Other noises are the horns blowing or yelling of the various wala's (or street vendors) coming through the neighborhood throughout the day and night hours. All of these things can easily disturb your sleep, especially in the city areas.

Most of those noises are more tolerable during the daylight hours when our TV's are going or we are busy focusing on other things. But, there are still multiple disturbances throughout the day that make time management difficult as well. Starting around 7 AM (earlier in some localities) other members of the home may do laundry, dishes or other noisy tasks. Then there is the parade of visitors that come to your home. The trash man, the recycling man, the bill collectors, the maid and sometimes random solicitors. This leaves you stopping randomly and often every morning.

Waiting (which works in conjunction with all those morning visits). It's rare for anything to be done in a timely fashion so that leaves you waiting for something just about all the time. Your schedule is dependent on when other people have the time or the will to do things. So if you're waiting on a delivery, it may or may not come that day, disrupting any kind of schedule you may have. You wait for someone to order things you've asked for at the local store and they may order it today, maybe next week, maybe in three weeks. They may not order it until you stop asking for it and go find it somewhere else. In that case, then they start calling you wanting you to come get it which further disrupts your schedule.

Another part of waiting is when you hire a driver and he decides to stop along the way to your destination to say hello to his friends. Maybe he's stopping to ask directions every few minutes. Other times he may stop and decide to make non-essential repairs to the vehicle while you're on your way somewhere. I had this happen on our trip to the Taj Mahal last year. We wasted an entire day of our vacation because the driver we hired decided he wanted to get some work done. He drove us to some place way off our path as if he had planned it. Then guess what. He wanted us to pay for the repairs, one of which was for accident damage that occurred sometime before we hired him. That wasn't my only experience with a driver stopping for unnecessary reasons and I'm not the only one to experience things like this though. I hear tons of similar stories from other friends that live here. Some even experience things like this with drivers hired only to drive them around their city.

Random power interruptions cause you to have to change your schedule as well. Even with backup power or private power systems you're not always privileged enough to run everything as if the power never went out. So, that means you may have to postpone your shower or shower in the dark. You may have to change your plans for cooking food in the oven for an entirely different cooking method. This can work two ways, either it gives you less time to work because now you're stuck standing over a stove rather than just putting the food in the oven and coming back for it. Or, it can save you time because you decide to throw together a sandwich or skip the meal.

These are just a few of the factors affecting how you manage your time while in India. What are some other things that you find make living on a schedule difficult here?


6 comments:

  1. My main issue is the morning disturbances from assorted-wallas, I'm not a morning person to begin with, and since I'm anyway up before my brain cells can even understand what multitasking means I just don't like being disturbed, and having to just do more than one thing at once, namely trying to make myself a cup of tea! You can't pee, shower, brush your teeth or read the paper without being interrupted in the morning, reason why I now shower in the evening after the maid left from cooking the food for DH's dinner and next day's tiffin, before that it's just not possible. 

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  2. Yeah, you have it worse than me lol. I don't have to answer the door and I doubt I'm even allowed to unless I'm home alone. I only have to hear all this commotion and not interact.

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  3. I think this picture goes nicely with your article.

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  4. Thanks for posting this. But, I have a little different point of view. Most of things mentioned here are out of your control, whereas managing one's time in completely in his hands. Planning the day keeping the priorities in mind is very important especially for youth.
    I also found this blog post which talks about how time management can help students - 

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  5. Thanks for posting this. But, I have a little different point of view. Most of things mentioned here are out of your control, whereas managing one's time in completely in his hands. Planning the day keeping the priorities in mind is very important especially for youth.
    I also found this blog post which talks about how time management can help students - http://bit.ly/GQT6ST 

    ReplyDelete