Everyone is result-oriented. It is natural. The whole idea of time management is to become more productive. That work which produces tangible results is considered productive work. In order to increase productivity, we have to minimize all work that is fruitless and engage solely and wholly in the desirable activity.
Now the question arises as to what activity is desirable. The Bhagavad-gītā comes in handy at this juncture to help us decide as to what work produces tangible results and what does not. The Bhagavad-gītā (2.27) reminds us that this body which has taken birth is sure to die.
Therefore the gratification of our bodily senses, which is generally considered as desirable, surely ends in frustration because even if we did achieve something that we endeavored for, we cannot enjoy the achievement forever as death comes certainly to rob us of it. Bhagavad-gītā (10.34) says: mṛtyuḥ sarva-haraḥ which means death robs us of all our acquisitions. This is common sense.
We have to invest wisely. We should not invest in something in which the return on investment is surely going to be nil. We should invest in something which gives assurance of growth and insurance against loss.
Now, is there anything that cannot be devoured by death? Fortunately, there is! We get information from Bhagavad-gītā (2.40) again that sv-alpam apy asya dharmasya trāyate mahato bhayāt which means that any advancement done in devotional service to Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa is never lost, even after death and it saves us from the greatest danger of taking birth in the animal kingdom in which there is no chance of understanding oneself and God for millions of years.
We learn from Bhagavad-gītā (15.7) that we are eternally servants of Kṛṣṇa — mama eva aṁśaḥ. Consequently, our eternal occupation should be to serve Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, any activity in this material world other than devotional service is effected by illusion and is a sheer waste of time because with the end of the body comes the end of the results of all such activities as much as a strenuous endeavor for something in a dream is a waste of time because all of it is destroyed as soon as one wakes up. On the other hand, if we make only 1% advancement in devotional service in this life, we would start from 2% in our next life.
Our endeavor in this direction is never frustrated. Therefore Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (2.3.17) says: “Both by rising and by setting, the sun decreases the duration of life of everyone, except one who utilizes the time by engaging in devotional service to the all-good Personality of Godhead.” This is because all endeavors other than devotional service produce results that perish along with the body whereas devotional service continues without being hampered by the ephemeral change of bodies.
Moreover, as Bhagavad-gītā (6.40-44) confirms, an exponent of devotional service who has not achieved complete success shall take birth in either an aristocratic family or a family of cultured transcendentalists and continues onward to perfection. Once perfect, he attains the kingdom of God.
This is why Lord Kṛṣṇa says in Bhagavad-gītā (7.19): “After many births and deaths, he who is actually in knowledge surrenders unto Me, knowing Me to be the cause of all causes and all that is. Such a great soul is very rare.”
Now that we understand that devotional service constitutes the only proper use of time, we should mold our life in such a way that we maximize our devotional service and minimize all other activities so that we make complete progress in this life itself and make it back to Godhead after quitting this present body. This is the apex of time management or productivity.
Ideally, all other activities should be made null and void. But as long as we are entrapped in this material body, we have to service it so that our execution of devotional service is done smoothly without being hampered. But we have to keep it to the bare minimum so that we only keep our body healthy and use our time to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness and not artificially increase its demands (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 1.2.10).
Our modern civilization considers increase of artificial amenities as advancement. But it only means that hardly any time is devoted to spiritual advancement. And since all material endeavors mean only a waste of time, our modern civilization is a time-wasting civilization.
If we actually calculate the value of the loss that we incurring, it is mind boggling! Considering that not even a moment of time can be brought back by spending all the wealth of the world, how much loss it is if we waste an entire lifetime without any progress in Kṛṣṇa consciousness!
Our determination should be that by the end of our current lifetime, we should be so prepared that we do not take birth in this material world again but return to our home, back to Godhead. In order to increase this spiritual productivity, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī, a great ācārya (spiritual preceptor) has left some valuable tips for us in his very instructive book Śrī Upadeśāmṛta (2 & 3):
“One’s devotional service is spoiled when he becomes too entangled in the following six activities: (1) eating more than necessary or collecting more funds than required; (2) over-endeavoring for mundane things that are very difficult to obtain; (3) talking unnecessarily about mundane subject matters; (4) Practicing the scriptural rules and regulations only for the sake of following them and not for the sake of spiritual advancement, or rejecting the rules and regulations of the scriptures and working independently or whimsically; (5) associating with worldly-minded persons who are not interested in Kṛṣṇa consciousness; and (6) being greedy for mundane achievements.
There are six principles favorable to the execution of pure devotional service: (1) being enthusiastic about devotional service, (2) endeavoring with confidence in the devotional process, (3) being patient amidst reversals, (4) acting according to regulative principles (such as śravaṇaṁ kīrtanaṁ viṣṇoḥ smaraṇam [SB 7.5.23] — hearing, chanting and remembering Kṛṣṇa), (5) abandoning the association of non-devotees of Kṛṣṇa, and (6) following in the footsteps of the previous ācāryas. These six principles undoubtedly assure the complete success of pure devotional service.”
All this is easily and automatically done in the association of devotees. Therefore His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda, the greatest ambassador of Vedic culture in recent times, established 108 temples all over the world in the 1960’s-70’s to give facility to everyone to advance in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Under his auspices, there are hundreds more of these temples currently in the world.
In Singapore, Sri Krishna Mandir offers this same facility and we request you to kindly take advantage of it and chant the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, attend the classes on Bhagavad-gītā, engage yourself in a variety of services at the temple and thus purify your existence and return back home, back to Godhead just after quitting this present material body.