Time Management for Your Personality Type

Business and time management concept. Stressed business man look

Have you ever noticed that you approach life a little differently than your coworkers, your friends, and your family? Perhaps your best friend is notoriously 10 minutes late everywhere she goes, and it absolutely drives you up the wall because you prefer to be early. Or maybe you’re a procrastinator who works best under pressure, while someone on your team likes to plan every last detail.

The truth is that we all have different behaviors when it comes to how we manage our time. What works for you may not work for your closest friends or team members. Understanding how our personalities affect our time-management skills allows us to make the most out of our time. It also helps us to understand others (so we can resist the urge to wring their necks).

What color energy are you?

There are four basic personality types (defined in colors) as developed by Insights Personality Profiles. Your color affects how you manage your time. You may completely identify with one of these colors, or you may be a blend of two or three. You may be one color at work and a different one at home with your family or friends.

Yellow (The Chatty Kathy)

  • Do you love to chat with your coworkers? Are you popular at the office?
  • Do you attempt to multitask or hop between tasks but it never quite works out?
  • Do you procrastinate?

Yellow energies are the social butterflies of the office. Yellows typically bring passion and energy to any team. While your intentions are good, you are easily distracted, so you have a hard time finishing your work.

How to deal:

  • Eliminate possible distractions.
  • Work in uninterrupted chunks of time in a place where you are alone (or hang a “Do not Disturb” sign on your cubicle).
  • Use a timer and keep working on your current task until either it is done or the timer goes off.
  • Schedule in social breaks so you don’t lose your mind.

Blue (The Perfectionist)

  • Do you prefer to work alone rather than on a team?
  • Are you detail oriented and have high personal standards?
  • Do you like to have a comprehensive plan for even the simplest tasks?

Blue energies love details. Because you are a perfectionist, your work will be accurate and you might put in long hours trying to make it flawless. Often, it takes you twice as long to finish a task, but because you refuse to be late you end up working all night to finish on time.

How to deal:

  • Prioritize your daily tasks so that you don’t spend too much time on the low-hanging fruit.
  • Create a list with your most critical tasks at the top.
  • Learn to delegate because (as much as you’d like to believe you can) you cannot do it all.

Green (The Helper)

  • Do you fall behind on your own work because you are always helping others with their stuff?
  • If no one asks you for assistance, do you go looking for someone to help?
  • Do you have a hard time saying no?

Greens are the lovers of the world. You care about people so much that you end up falling behind on your own work. You probably find that people tend to take advantage of you too. They know you can’t say no. Green energies are hard workers, yet sometimes have little of their own successes to show for it.

How to deal:

  • Learn to say “NO” from time to time.
  • Prioritize yourself first and then help others only when you have extra time.
  • Make a detailed schedule with larger projects broken down into smaller tasks and deadlines. This level of detail will let you know when you have time to help others…and when you don’t!

Red (The Impulsive)

  • Are you an adrenaline junkie?
  • Would you rather work spontaneously than to have a plan?
  • Do you live in panic mode and thrive on stress?

Reds are cliff-hangers. You produce great results as long as there are problems to solve, but you tend to find trouble if there is nothing “high-energy” to work on. You may even go looking for problems just so you can solve them.

How to deal:

  • Use long-term planning and routine reviews to keep yourself on track.
  • Work on your “boring, but must do” items first thing in the morning. Leave time for your spontaneity in the afternoon.
  • Keep a checklist with you and check it often.

Embrace your personality style

Each color has clear benefits, but there isn’t one that is better than the other. Greens are great team players, reds work well under pressure, yellows bring energy to even the dullest projects, and blues produce highly accurate results.

By identifying your dominant time management style, you become aware of your strengths and also the techniques you need to overcome your weaknesses. Not only will you have a better grasp on what works for you and what doesn’t, you’ll also be able to work better together with those who have different styles.

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Melissa Ricker is a mother, a nuclear engineer, and a professional freelance writer. She runs a blog aimed at helping working mothers find balance between growing their careers and growing their families through a series of helpful hints, productivity tips, and technology hacks.