Publication 13, Issue 2
“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time.”
– Vince Lombardi
February is Time Management Month, and that got me thinking. Time is an interesting phenomenon. In some ways it’s our most precious commodity, yet for every person whose life is run by the clock, there’s another who considers time completely irrelevant.
I’m reminded of a story. Not too long ago I put together a list of tasks, uber-Organizer that I am, and at the end of a 12-hour workday, I was frustrated because I didn’t complete everything on my list! When I called Larry to vent (poor guy) I told him, “I had a list of things to do, didn’t accomplish everything because I ran out of time.” He replied, “Did you die?” Wow, talk about cold water to the face!
I may not be the queen of time management, but I’m a princess, for sure. I can fit more things into a day than most people, but there can be a cost. How you frame your relationship with time can make your life miserable or manageable. Think about how we talk about time. Do you have a ton of time or no time? Have you wasted time, lost time, run out of time, or don’t care at all about time?
With all of these contrary meanings of time – how do things get done? Let’s be honest. As managers, our time often is not our own. Managing your time usually means you can think clearly and manage distractions, increase your productivity, and hopefully be less stressed. When time is managing you, you probably feel a little out of control.
Somewhere between structure and chaos is a middle ground where most people can get the work done…and I know it’s hard to remember this when you’re stressed and deadlines are piling up! You’ll get the most out of your team if you develop an understanding that time doesn’t have the same meaning for everyone (where have you heard that before?!). As managers, I’m asking you to examine your relationship with time and how that affects the Playground Personalities©.
Peacemakers – feel that time is very precious, that people who require time throughout the day should get it no matter what’s going on in the workday; that somehow things just work out.
Organizers – sense they have too much to do and not enough time to do it. So, in order to survive the day, they think that there’s no real “choice” in the matter and they’ll work until the job is done.
Revolutionaries – manage time “on demand”; if they have too much time on their hands, they’ll figure out how to get something else done. Managing time to them seems like more work, so they just stay “on alert.”
Steamrollers – believe that time is complicated; they never feel quite finished with mulling things over. The juice for them is “taking their time” to think through issues. They don’t like to be rushed and they’ll tell you so.
Remember, we have to be self-aware about our relationship with time, own it, and somehow not project our definition of time on others. You now see how each of the Playground Personalities perceives time. These insights should help you evaluate your time management strategy to make it work for you and for the people who work with you.