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Team Effectiveness

What is Traditional and Non-Traditional Time Management?

What is Traditional and Non-Traditional Time Management

Mastering the Clock as a New or Seasoned Leader

During the week, time is a precious commodity, and mastering the art of time management is essential for personal and professional success. Traditional and non-traditional time management approaches offer distinct perspectives on how to harness the clock to our advantage. 

What is Time Management and Why is it Important?

Time management, by definition, is the ability to use one’s time effectively and productively, especially while at work. A key trait in this definition is being effective—completing tasks in the most efficient way possible. Being busy at work doesn’t necessarily mean that you are being productive or achieving your goals. Many people get hung up on simply doing activities at work, or completing tasks, rather than producing results or working toward a bigger picture.

Effectively managing time allows individuals to prioritize tasks, ensuring that they allocate their energy and efforts to the most important and urgent activities. This, in turn, leads to increased productivity. Time management also contributes significantly to stress reduction, as having a structured plan and organized schedule provides a sense of control and predictability. It enables individuals to make informed decisions about their commitments, fostering a healthy work-life balance. 

Two Different Time Management Styles

Time management is complex—with the struggles of increased workload and the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, it has become essential to manage time wisely and efficiently. According to Workfront’s annual The State of Work Report, 58% of American workers say they are so busy with daily tasks that they lack time to consider anything but their to-do list for today.

This metric signifies a large-scale lapse in time management.

For some, this is a challenge due to their rising workload and complex schedules, and for others, they simply haven’t stepped back to acknowledge their time management style and shifted their priorities successfully. Another factor that can sometimes hinder time management is the larger organizational or upper management approach to the workplace dynamic. Factors such as unclear priorities, lack of effective delegation, and inadequate planning can exacerbate time management difficulties. Without clear guidance and a structured approach to tasks, employees may struggle to prioritize their workload and allocate time appropriately.

To start managing time effectively, you must first determine your management style and increase effectiveness with techniques that fit that style:

Traditional Time Management Style

Traditional time management is a structured approach to planning the completion of multiple tasks or projects. Individuals with a personality that prefer structure and order excel at the traditional time management techniques. They are very orderly, enjoy routine and predictability, are precise, and do not like many (and certainly not drastic) changes. Because of this desire to have life remain very much the same, the traditional time management (Systematic) approach works well for them.

There are four straightforward steps to traditional time management:

  1. Plan
  2. Prioritize
  3. Schedule
  4. Execute
It involves identifying the tasks to be completed, outlining the necessary sequence of tasks, prioritizing, developing a schedule for task completion, and carrying out the plan.

Non-Traditional Time Management Style

Non-traditional time management techniques are defined as alternate approaches to the “plan-prioritize-schedule-execute” tactics. They are based on different style preferences. Individuals with a style that prefers one of the traditional approaches below to time management can effectively complete tasks on time. However, they will most likely not use the “plan-prioritize-schedule-execute” tactic.

Non-traditional time management techniques are broken down into three styles of time management. The three non-traditional techniques are:

  • Considerate — manage time through interaction with people. Demonstrating concern, having personalized interactions, and ensuring harmony is a priority for Considerates.
  • Direct — manage time by being flexible, resourceful, practical, and tending to immediate needs.
  • Spirited — manage time by handling complex projects or tasks effectively, plan strategically, seek creative solutions, and manage concepts and ideas.

Personality preferences affect how we interact with other people, how we take in information, how we make decisions, and how we approach life. Work styles also vary based on personality traits. Time management is no different. The same techniques simply do not work for everyone. 

Which Time Management Style Speaks to You?

Both traditional and non-traditional time management techniques have their place in professional life. Understanding your own preferences is key to selecting the method that will lead to personal and professional growth. Whether you thrive on structure or prefer flexibility and creativity, the goal remains the same: proper time management leads a more productive, stress-free, and balanced life. As we navigate through our busy schedules, remember that the right time management style is not one-size-fits-all, but rather a strategy designed to harness our unique strengths to achieve success.

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Bill Mugavin

Bill Mugavin is a Senior Leadership Development Consultant at FlashPoint. He has worked with top-tier Fortune 1000 global organizations to improve leadership and management effectiveness.