Time Management Styles for Different Personalities

Time flies but remember, you are the pilot

A wise man once observed, “Time is more valuable than money. You can earn more money, but you cannot acquire more time.” Perhaps, that’s why there is a massive amount of advice on how to manage your time effectively.

While most appear to be of the one-size-fits-all variety, Ms Cena Block, a Certified Organiser Coach for professionals and entrepreneurs, advises that the time management strategy you adopt should be compatible with your personality. After all, improving your working style is a lot more work than honing your skills in managing time.

Let’s take a look at how you can improve your time management based on your style of working.

1. Multitasking

There are people who are happy working on multiple tasks simultaneously, often switching from one task to another even before the first task is completed. As such, they could find themselves juggling too many projects all at once.

Since multitaskers like to stay busy and can do several different things at the same time, it’s easy for them to transition between tasks. The drawback is that the work performed could be superficial. Furthermore, they often find it difficult to stay organised and to complete specific tasks within the stipulated deadlines.

To rectify this problem, they should select only two or three projects to focus on, and wait until these are completed before taking on new tasks. They should also minimise both professional and personal distractions by disconnecting for brief periods during the workday to strengthen their focus.

2. Single-tasking

People with this working style get deeply involved in the task at hand and concentrate on that one task all the way until it’s done. The advantage they bring to the workplace is their ability to produce high-quality work with outstanding attention to detail.

However, they may feel displeased when asked to accept another project while the first project is still underway. They often put the second assignment aside for ‘later’, which could lead to failure to meet deadlines for the other assignment. Most projects need some preparation such as collating data, sending emails for more information or clarifications and these require time for the recipients to reply.

To counter this reluctance to consider the planning requirements of other projects, they should remind themselves to switch tasks after specific intervals of time. They should also examine and anticipate what needs to be done when accepting a project and plan ahead.

3. Seeking perfection

Perfectionists are often admired for work of the highest standard. However, many of them often engage in the endless pursuit of excellence. Every project has a timeline and cost limitations. Hence, it is not uncommon for such managers to insist on changes that will make the work marginally better but require several hours or days to accomplish. Deadlines may be pushed back in their attempts to make even the smallest detail perfect.

To enhance their performance, perfectionists should audit their time to avoid getting caught up in meaningless details. They could start by allocating the amount of time to spend on a particular project and keep track of it. A proper plan will help to identify project goals and make the most efficient use of given resources, time, and money.

4. Spontaneous

They are impulsive and like working without a plan and dread the idea of setting up a routine or creating a task list. As they are great improvisers, people who use this style often thrive in situations of unexpected challenges.

Like the multitasker, the impulsive time manager very often cannot stick to deadlines. They find it difficult to do work that requires consistent long-term effort. To make the most of their potential, these people should pay close attention and consider prioritising large projects before making a decision.

5. Procrastinating

Rushing not to miss a deadline is a common problem for procrastinators since they like to delay starting on projects. This may result in significant career implications such as missed promotions and opportunities.

To make full use of time, the procrastinator is advised to set concrete goals, diligently adhere to the deadlines, and create a to-do list of prioritised tasks. They should also schedule dedicated blocks of time in advance for specified tasks.

Time management is all about planning

Remember, you’re the pilot of the journey of your time and the adage: ‘Fail to plan, plan to fail’ is of paramount importance. Planning will help you identify your goals and make the most efficient use of given resources, time, and money.

When planning, you also need to prioritise. Ranking tasks by their importance and completing them in the specified order will increase your productivity where it matters most. Identify which tasks are both important and urgent so you can work on them immediately. That way, you won’t let your clients, boss or colleagues down.

Using a sports metaphor, Mr Thomas Tan, the Managing Director of a design studio, says, “Nobody likes a team member who keeps dropping the ball and messing up the game.”