I always say you’re either growing or dying. Most of the time, I choose to grow, and I do my best never to be so married to a concept that I can’t change my mind. I’ve been teaching time management for years and honestly, while my approach has been effective for lots of people, it’s really a “one size fits all” approach. In the past year as I’ve worked closely with lots of different types of people, I’ve come to realize that time management really does have a lot to do with your “time management style” and that everyone works differently based on that.
That means my old belief isn’t accurate. Creating a schedule and working in a way that supports your time management style is crucial to feeling good while you work. And that’s the key to productivity. As I created one of my new programs last month, I updated my time management exercise and created a whole new layer to the process. Basically, I identified three different time management styles. I encourage my clients to determine their predominant style and then create a way of working that fits them.
Here are the three styles, so you can determine which you are:
Type #1: Free Flowing – If your time management style is free flowing, you abhor structure. That means you live very much in the moment and would prefer not to have any structure or schedule at all. While it’s challenging to create a schedule around this style, it’s not impossible, as long as you consider what needs to be in place for you to feel content and happy as you work within it’s confines.
Type #2: Structured – If you have a high value around order and organization, you’re probably going to fit into the structured time management style. This means that you function best with a high degree of predictability in your schedule. Many who follow a structured style have a schedule that’s the same every day or week (or both). They decide what they need to do, when they’re going to do it, and then use the same blocks of time each week to make sure it gets done. If something comes up that’s out of their routine and needs to be accomplished, they can get stressed and start to feel overwhelmed.
Type #3: To-Do List Driven – All of us fit into this category at some level (I’ve rarely met anyone who doesn’t make lists at least sometimes). Those who fit into the To-Do List time management style, however, are driven by lists. They tend to be highly productive and often border on being workaholics. The To-Do list personality often works long hours and has trouble setting limits on how often they’re in their office. The harmony between their family, life, and business can be difficult to manage.
Once you discover your predominant style, you can consider how that affects the way you work. The truth is, who you are and how you function has everything to do with how you create and maintain a way of working. For some people, structure is the key to success and for others, without a foundation of freedom and flow, they can’t be productive. When you begin to learn what your time management style is, you can set up systems that support the way you work best and let go of any guilt about what you should be doing or the way everyone says you need to work.
So what about you? Which of the types above best fits you?