Have you read any of those know-it-all Time Management books, where you can revolutionize your life and end procrastination with just a few simple steps? Yeah, right.
Doesn’t work for me either.
I wrote my own Time Management Makeover Guide because I believe that we each face time challenges for different reasons. Why do you need to get organized (and maybe you don’t)? Why do you need to make the calls or read these files? When you know why you want something“ — and you really want it — often your energy and focus come naturally.
But sometimes we need a way to fit a new project into a busy schedule. In my experience, one size does not fit everyone.
What’s your time management profile? Answer these questions to find out.
1. Swiss Cheese or Chunks
Swiss Cheese people find holes in their day – “ ten minutes here, half an hour there. They concentrate easily and actually get something done while waiting for lunch.
A Swiss Cheese person says, “I will work on this project for 15 minutes a day — consistently. And eventually it will get done.”
Chunk people need a whole afternoon, maybe even a whole day, to get something done. The Chunk person says, “I will devote every Thursday afternoon to marketing.”
2. Desktop or Filing Cabinet
Desktop people like papers spread all over a desk. They tend to have visual memories so they reach into a pile and find whatever they need. They look cluttered but they are functioning efficiently.
Filing Cabinet people demand a clear desk. “A sign of an organized mind,” they say, as they slide documents neatly into folders every evening.
3. Weekly Updates or Grand Finale
Weekly Update people like systems for accountability. They enjoy calling a coach or friend to report on how much they’ve done and they will stay focused because they know they will be reporting in.
Grand Finale people often become dysfunctional when faced with demands for interim reports. They rebel and stop checking in. “Just give me a deadline,” they say. “Stop looking over my shoulder!”
Well, everybody, actually. What’s important: Understand your style. Don’t bother trying to change because you probably won’t. Some psychologists believe the brains of Desktop and Filing Cabinet people are actually wired differently.
If you’re a chunk person with a filing cabinet mind who likes weekly updates, you can keep project notes in a file folder that you explore once a week. But if you are a Swiss Cheese person with a Desktop mind and a Grand Finale motivation style, you will get everything done…at your own pace.
Or let’s say you’re a Swiss Cheese with a Desktop Mind. You can set up little piles of projects on your desk. Your “To Do” list might be a set of stickies. If you are a Weekly Updater, you can report on how you moved the piles around. Grand Finale people feel rewarded when they move a sticky from one pile to another…every day.
Most important: Don’t waste time with an accountability coach if you’re a Grand Finale type — and hire one at once if you are a Weekly Updater. Don’t berate yourself over the state of your desk if you are a Desktop person; if the Fire Marshal leaves you alone, you’re doing fine. And don’t try to master those 15-minute maneuvers if you’re a Chunker…or waste a Thursday afternoon fidgeting if you’re a Swiss Cheese.