How do you manage your time?
[Wait! Let me just jump up on my soapbox here for a minute... I hate the term 'time management' - you cannot manage time! I prefer to call it Time Organisation. I'll climb back down now, let me start again...]
How do you organise your time?
How do you decide what you do in any given moment during your day?
Do you plan ahead, have it all mapped out… your diary full of ‘things to do’?
Or are you more a ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ type, seeing where mood and circumstance takes you?
Do you like being scheduled and knowing what you have on, or do you hate to plan ahead – preferring to see what options present themselves moment by moment?
I was talking to a lovely lady called Bronwynne at a dinner party recently. She is a coach and consultant for businesses who want to get the best out of their staff. One of the things she does for them is a personality profile – and apparently the traits I have mentioned above are often key to getting the best out of yourself and your staff. If you like to know what you’re doing, when you’re doing it, how long you’ll be doing it and all this three weeks ahead of time – then apparently you’ll more than likely fit into her definition of ‘precisionist’.
This intrigued me as my youngest son and I continually butt heads over this very issue. He’ll ask me on Monday morning what we are doing next weekend. He needs to know. He has always thrived on routine, on knowing what is happening ahead of time. He likes to be organised.
Me? I’m more a last minute type… most of the time. I’m not good at knowing what we’ll be doing on the weekend – you never know what last minute invitation we’ll get, or what the weather will be like, or what we’ll feel like doing. I like to leave room for the unexpected. He doesn’t.
So, we’re learning to compromise. We’re learning about the differences in how we operate and what we need.
I was intrigued to read Ariane Benefit – organising expert extraordinaire – talk over at JJL about her challenges with time management. You can read her learnings about the ah ha moments she’s had around the difference between growing a business and sustaining a business in terms of time and schedules.
The mindset that ENABLES you to succeed, is not the same mindset that allows you to REMAIN SUCCESSFUL and have a balanced life.
Click here to go read her whole post. (I’ll wait). Ariane weaves in the analogy of our time being like a bank account, with finite funds and having to ‘balance the books’ which I found very powerful. It’s my guess that Ariane is one of those ‘precisionists’ that Bronwynne talked about – needing to be in control of time in order to feel in control of her life (but feel free to contradict me, Ariane… : )
I have been reading A Perfect Mess* and in the book, the authors discuss Arnold Schwarzenegger and his success. Arnie has been able to successfully go from bodybuilder to film star to Governor and he doesn’t. make. appointments! You cannot book in a time to speak with him, because he doesn’t keep a schedule. He goes from minute to minute. Does that make you feel funny? Yeah, me too… I am totally intrigued by his story. If you want to see him, you phone. If he’s available, he’ll see you now. If not, phone another day and try again. [Obviously there are some appointments he has to keep - but the rest of the time he's open to what comes up in the moment.]
The more I learn, the more questions I have.
I’m curious today – do you prefer, like Ariane, to ensure you balance your time and ensure all parts of your life are given the attention they deserve (whilst still maintaining your success). Are you like my son, always planning ahead, needing to know what you are doing next weekend…. next month… next year? Or are you more like Arnie and prefer to live life moment by moment – after all, who knows how you’ll feel tomorrow, let alone on the weekend?
*The book review of A Perfect Mess – the Hidden Benefits of Disorder will be my contribution to A Love Affair with Books, coming to JJL as a month-long celebration of the books we love in March. It is not too late to sign up and be one of our ALAWB 2008 reviewers!
Get the details here. Review a book, Win a book and share your aloha with your love of reading.