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Getting Time Effective

Monday 17 March, 2008
How time efficient and productive you are isn't due to the number of emails you get, the amount of calls you have to return, or the overly-ambitious 'to do' list you have waiting. Rather, it is a function of how your Pressure Pattern responds to and packages tasks and projects.

Each week, it is estimated that the average person loses a minimum of 5-6 hours replying to email, 4 hours on the phone, 9 hours eating, and almost two hours on the toilet.

Why is it that some people love lists and structure, whilst others crave creative space and work in chaos?  Why is it that some people love the smaller detail and moving in a linear fashion, whilst others revel in their big picture and global view of the problem?  Do you micro manage others? 

People work in different ways because, under pressure, they default back to their ingrained, most fundamental way of thinking and doing.  Known as your survival instinct, when put under constant pressure and worn down, people revert back do their most ingrained habits and behaviours to survive.

At work, it may not be a case of life and death - but the pressure may make you respond as if it is! 

Consider what patterns you fall into when managing your time:

  • Proactive or Reactive

    patterns solve 'upcoming' problems - Proactive patterns are like Financial Planners, they are more structured and think through their approach. They anticipate and plan for contingencies. 

    Reactive patterns solve 'now' problems - Reactive patterns are like fire fighters - they respond to an emergency quickly, efficiently - but may leave a mess after they have finished - great in customer service roles.
  • Logical or Emotional

    This is a battle between 'do good' and 'feel good'.

    Logical patterns are efficient and focus on outcomes - The logical pattern prefers to do good and think in terms of sequence, priority and outcome - regardless of whether it is enjoyable or entertaining to do. 

    Emotional patterns focus on morale and relationship building - The emotional pattern wants to feel good so they do the small jobs first, reply to the easy emails, say hello to their colleagues.
  • Global or Specific

    Go Global when you are strategising, building vision or brainstorming - Global patterns like to sit above the clouds and see the entire picture, project into the future and generate big ideas. Global patterns are useful when creating company visions, project managing or expanding.

    Go Specific when you need to roll up your sleeves and get stuff done - Specific patterns like to drill down into detail and know what is going on. Specific patterns are useful in technical roles, documented detail or if your are my surgeon.
  • Intrinsic or Extrinsic

    patterns will meet their own goals at the expense of others - Intrinsic patterns are more motivated and directed to action by their own needs and priorities. 

    Extrinsic patterns are more motivated and directed to action by meeting other people's deadlines, needs and issues - Extrinsic patterns are always jumping to their email and prioritising other people's urgencies. 

To be truly time effective, you need to practice being able to do all these things, by choice - not because of survival instinct. 

The key is the ease that you can morph and change your pattern to suit your demand at the time. Otherwise, reverting back to your basic pattern means that pressure will continue to control you.

Author Credits

Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych) is a Resilience Expert who helps people in business bounce back fast from pressure, stress and burnout in their work and life. He is a professional speaker, coach and author of three books. To download your free special report on the ‘Seven ways to prevent yourself becoming Over-Worked, Stressed-Out, and Run-Down', visit: www.BounceBackFast.com
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