When we think of style, many of us think of clothes or our car or the way we decorate our homes. But have you ever stopped to think about what kind of time management style applies to you? I would bet you haven’t. And I’ll bet it’s because you didn’t know time management had a sense of style.
What is Your Time Management Style?
Knowing your time management style is the first step in learning the time management skills and tools that will work to your advantage.
There are five styles to identify with: Achievement Management, Casual Management, Crisis Management, Precision Management, and Social Management.
There are pros and cons to each style, and simple tools help each one manage time effectively.
1. Achievement Management
Describes people who mark their success by how much they take on. You have a hard time saying “no” to accepting more projects and can get overwhelmed. It is easy to forget a task and difficult to do everything to the best of your ability.
Cons include a lack of follow-through. You can also get easily drained which can lead to frustration and stress, affecting others around you.
Pros include others seeing you as dependable and helpful. You are often the “Go-to Gal” when people need someone to rely on.
The best time management tools for achievement managers are lists. To-Do lists, event lists, supply lists, committee lists, any list that will help you keep track of your over-committed schedule. And, of course, you need to learn when to say “no.”
2. Casual Management
Describes the procrastinators of the world. You are the one who thinks it will get done when you have time. Casual managers can lose track of time and are easily distracted by issues that take less energy than the task at hand. You are the type that doesn’t like to be told what to do and poking and prodding only makes you put off a task even longer.
Cons include a tendency to miss deadlines or to leave things unfinished.
Pros include the suggestion that many casual managers think with their “right brain” and tend to be more creative. Also, casual managers can see the bigger picture and are rarely lost in the details.
The best time management tools for casual managers are timelines and an alert system. Timelines will help keep you focused on deadlines, reminding you of exactly how much time you really have. Alert systems like alarms or electronic reminders will help you remember the tasks you’ve put aside.
3. Crisis Management
Describes people who deal with each event in their life as if it is the top priority. You tend to take on several projects all at once and can have trouble discerning what a priority is and what is not. Because of this many projects get started but don’t get finished.
Cons include being easily stressed and distracted. Boring or ordinary tasks tend to fall by the wayside to make way for more interesting and dramatic tasks.
Pros include tending to work well under pressure. Deadlines help drive you to finish tasks. Crisis managers are also great problem solvers who can think quickly on their feet and find solutions to problems.
The best time management tools for crisis managers are visual reminders and time-block scheduling. Visual reminders, such as a desktop calendar, or an alert on a smartphone, can remind you of what is coming down the pipeline and keep you focused. Block-scheduling will help you set aside the time you need for each task.
4. Precision Management
Describes the perfectionists of the world. Your work is consistently high quality, but the time it takes to get that quality may be too long. Because of this, efficiency can be a problem for you. Precision managers often get a case of tunnel vision and lose sight of what is important about a project.
Cons include spending an exorbitant amount of time and resources on a portion of a project that really isn’t important in the long run, which wastes time and energy. Precision managers can become preoccupied with something they feel needs to be “fixed,” rather than focusing on the task at hand.
Pros include being labeled as detail-oriented and highly capable people. The high standards you set for yourself can rub off, in a positive way, on those around you, improving the quality of work.
The best time management tools for precision managers are day planners. Whether it is store-bought, electronic, or completely customized, something tangible and easily accessible is most important. Day planners will help you block out time allotments to help you stay focused on the big picture and keep you on track.
5. Social Management
Describes the social butterflies of the world. You are a great storyteller and would much rather “talk” than “do.” Social managers often find themselves chit-chatting the hours away and losing track of time.
Cons include conversations that can take up valuable time. Social managers can let time pass without even noticing, and forget about the task at hand.
Pros include having stellar communication skills! You also can effectively get ideas across to others, and your contributions are crucial in brainstorming sessions.
The best time management tools for social managers are alert systems, such as a smartphone with an alarm. An alarm reminding you of the time will help you to keep conversations concise and help you finish projects promptly.
No matter what your time management style (or styles), there are tools to help you along the way. Using these tools effectively is the key to success in time management. Use the tools that best help you make the time.
Jenifer Francis runs the blog, “The Time Management Mama.” She is a soon-to-be Mom who is dedicating her time to helping other Mama-preneurs learn time management skills and find their work/life balance. Jenifer was born and raised in Southern California, where she currently resides with her husband and their dog, “Captain Pup.” Jenifer has spent over ten years working as an office manager, event manager, marketing manager, and she’s even had the opportunity to teach time management skills to college students. Jenifer obtained her MA in Administrative Leadership from San Jose State University in May of 2009 and had worked for fortune 500 companies and major universities.