The Odd Couple of Time: Planners & Managers

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Odd CoupleIt’s funny how strengths can foster weaknesses.

I had a roommate in college who was off the charts on intelligence. He could grasp an engineering concept in one lecture and do every practice problem without cracking a book. The down side to his gift was it enabled him to wait until the last minute to complete an assignment.

Meanwhile the below average student in our room, that’s me, had to work nightly to even hope of completing an assignment on time.

Since college I’ve continued to notice when it comes to handling time there are two kinds of people: managers and planners.

Time managers…

  • prioritize based on deadlines
  • work best under pressure
  • need a sense of urgency not just importance
  • are unsure of what to do when nothing is pressing

Time planners…

  • prioritize based on duration
  • prefer ample notice of due dates
  • believe that rushed work is not their best work
  • often plan more than time allows

Planners and managers often behave like the Felix Unger and Oscar Madison of organizations. Managers won’t answer an email about a project that’s due in two weeks, and planners will not pull an all-nighter for a project that could have been worked on daily.

The “Odd Couple” treatment is unfortunate because most people are not exclusively a manager or a planner, but rather a mix.

For example, I plan my blog post topics months out, but I write better posts under the pressure of weekly deadlines. That college roommate of mine, never finished an assignment before it was due, but he knew months in advance where his favorite bands were playing and he planned his weekends accordingly.

How about you? What motivates you more, a good plan or a looming deadline? Does it depend on the situation?


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