So, last week, we ended on the note that: there is a quiet, invisible debate about the elasticity or inelasticity of time. That there is a stretchiness about the phenomenon of time in Uganda – we remind you all again, that Uganda is the Pearl of Africa
We opined that when it comes to the management of time, scarcity doesn’t seem to be a factor. Time is assumed to be abundant, unlike money that we manage very close to our chests
It doesn’t occur to many of us in the Pearl of Africa that not only is time money, but time makes money and that its effective management is a prerequisite to wealth creation.
Yes, please learn that how time is deployed in the creation of wealth, is absolutely fundamental to wealth’s sustainable multiplication
The economic-giants in the Pearl of Africa, at least those that are ‘authentically’ giant, do certain right things about time management – suffice it said that the authentically rich, literate or illiterate, don’t waste time. Go observe them and report back to us at the Effectiveness lab
So why do many of us in the Pearl of Africa embrace an ‘elasticist’ approach to time management?
Well – one of the answers, could be that we aren’t rich! We are poor because we can’t manage our time – of course, depending on one’s definition of poverty
However, the real answer is simple: in our minds, time is abundant. As abundant as the oxygen we breath
Unlike money, that is a privilege for the very few, we all in the Pearl of Africa wake up with equal access to all the time available in a day and year
The beggar on the street, the peasant farmer tilling the land, the rural Ugandan woman as well as her more contemporary urban counterpart – all have 12 hours of day and night, totalling 24 hours a day
Which ever way you want to slice it, there is an egalitarianism about time and access to it, that is isn’t true for other things like money and other economic resources
The above feeling of the abundance of time has resulted in a culture/mindset of ‘macronization’ of time.
After all, when we bulk/batch something, the mind is programmed to perceive abundance and excess, with limited incentive to think and practice frugal and thriftiness.
The macronizing approach tends to perceive time in batches/chunks, and the abundance illusions whether direct or indirect, set in motion.
When we macronize, we perceive time in the chunks of: weeks, months or year and unawares, tilt towards macro as opposed to micro time management
Therefore, in looking at time in a batch, moreover with the illusion that it’s abundant, we disdain the micro metrics of time like: minute, hour and day – in favour of the more abundant and flexible domain of macro-time in weeks, months and years.
If we consider time in seconds, minutes and hours, we are likely to be more aware of its scarcity and limitedness, than the individual perceiving time in the macro metrics of week, month and year.
Should we then not endear ourselves a bit more than we do now, to the miniature time units like: second, minute and hour?
May the time management enigma in the Pearl of Africa be an issue to do with the illusion of abundance, that we have seen and lived from the day we were put on mother earth?
Is it that simple? May be yes. Because, in time being abundant, and therefore not scarce, it’s managed with quite a bit of wiggle room for waste.
We may not be as pressured to be in/on time for a meeting, or to accomplish a task in/on time, when we know we still have a full week, month or even year to do whatever we want done. To us, time is never scarce
So, is it far fetched to conclude that the macronizing approach and accompanying practices, is the driver behind the tendency to treat time as elastic in Uganda?