The “Why” Behind Different Time Management Styles

If you practice the skill of listening (the concept of two ears and one mouth), you will hear folks convey their preferred approach for time management. The problem is that most people are unaware of these two styles, so misunderstandings begin to build.

Let’s say that on a Tuesday morning a “Jupiter”- style of time management, delegates a project to a Pluto and says, “This report is due Friday at 2 p.m.” Jupiter is really saying, “Don’t be late, there’s no grace period, and give it to me early if you can since I am giving you time to start early.” The Pluto preference for time management hears, “Cool, I have plenty of time; today’s only Tuesday.” The Pluto may not start the project until late Thursday. Last-minute pressures energize them.

The problem is that for the rest of the week the Jupiter may be watching and judging the Pluto’s approach. The Jupiter muses, “How can anyone do a good job at the last minute? This person doesn’t really care!”

Conversely, if the Pluto gave the same assignment to a Jupiter, the Jupiter would reorganize his or her current to-do list and start preparing immediately. Jupiters appreciate getting the assignment early because they prefer “do-it-now” behavior and like to finish ahead of time. They want to avoid stress at all costs, even if it means staying late or working the weekend. The Pluto may be oblivious since they do not seek to control processes.

On the personal side, going on a long-awaited vacation can also paint a picture of how these two time management approaches differ. If two Jupiters are going on a vacation, they mutually and easily plan the vacation. They like to have their reservations for hotels, restaurants and transportation completed. Sure there are “flow hours,” but their peace of mind comes with knowing they have a confirmation number. Two Pluto preferences on vacation will purchase their airline tickets to fly to the destination, and maybe book a room for the first night, but after that it’s “don’t tie me down to a schedule; that’s what I have to do at work. Let me flow through the day. After all, you never know what might come our way!”

Now, picture the opposite preferences planning the desperately needed vacation. The Jupiter may feel anxious because concrete plans have not been made. If they loose the invaluable window of opportunity to purchase theater tickets or if it’s too late to make a reservation at that special restaurant they’ve looked forward to, the Jupiter may become disappointed and even angry. At that point, the Pluto will start to feel restricted and frustrated at not being able to “put things out there and see what comes back.” The scheduling of activities hinders Pluto’s ability to evolve. The breakdown in perception occurs when the Pluto feels the Jupiter needs to shepherd and direct the vacation instead of flowing, and the Jupiter perceives the Pluto as being too easygoing and lackadaisical. “After all,” says the Jupiter, “being organized is the name of the game.” The Pluto replies with, “Let the games take form!” Both time management preferences consider their approach to have the greatest benefit around the use of time.

While there is no one “right” way to approach time management to be successful, it pays to recognize your approach, communicate your preference and adjust as needed to the opposite style. The two CPAs mentioned in the July 13th blog posting who dissolved their partnership could have collaborated on their differences. Their business was profitable and growing, so they were doing something right!

If everything was equal in skills, what are the assets of the different styles of management, Pluto and Jupiter? Join me next time.

Sandra Ford Walston is known as The Courage Expert and innovator of STUCKThinking™. She is a speaker, internationally published author and bestseller of COURAGE, trainer and courage coach.

Comments are closed.