4 Main Time Management Styles: Figuring Out Which One is For You is Extremely Important

Time management is something that many of us wish we were better at. As much as we may try, it seems that sometimes we only get so far before we hit a brick wall and are not able to get everything done that we would like to get done in a single day. Thus, it is necessary to think about using time management more effectively. We should examine various time management styles to get a better idea of which ones may be the most useful for our purposes, and we ought to try to put those into play. 


What are time management styles?

There are four main time management styles that you need to concern yourself with. Once you get a grasp on these, then it becomes easier to understand why people use different time management styles and which one may be the most useful for you. These styles are known as:

  • The early bird
  • The balancing art
  • The pressure cooker
  • The improviser

We will get more in-depth with what each of these means and how they are used shortly. For now, you just need to know that these are the four primary time management styles that we are going to look at. You may fall into one category or another, but you won’t know what the name for it is until you have learned a little about these different time management systems.

woman thinking about her time management style

If you are still uncertain about which category you fall under after doing this research, then perhaps you might want to pursue a few different ones until you discover which one feels like the most natural fit for you. 


Why is it important to identify your time management style?

Most people don’t want to put more effort into the work that they must accomplish each day than they have to. They think that getting started with a time management program isn’t for them because they feel like it will be too much work. That’s not true if you get the right time management program for you. This is why it is so important to think about time management styles and which methods work best for you. 

When you discover which method works best for you, you will see a spike in your productivity. You will also likely see an increase in the amount of leisure time that you have available. Both of these things are true because you will be spending your time more effectively to get things done, and thus you will have freed up more of your excess time to enjoy.

woman is happy and productive as she perfectly manages her time

People often get themselves worked up because they end up spending so much time stressing about the things that they “should be doing”. If you work on your time management skills, you can spend less time fretting about the things that you “should have done” and more time actually getting them done. When you know your time management style, you can start to use it to figure out which type of time management system is ideal for you. 


The Early Bird

The early bird is a person who rises early in the morning to begin working on the projects that they need to take care of for the day. He or she focuses on a concrete checklist of things to do. The early bird is diligent about keeping a checklist like this, and they get a lot of joy and satisfaction out of being able to mark things off that list. They like to have virtually every moment of their day mapped out, and they do not like to deviate from their plans whenever possible. 

early bird man happy in the morning

The strengths that the early bird exhibits include the fact that they know what they want to achieve and have no lack of motivation to reach those goals. They are self-propelled by their desire to accomplish great things in life, and they will take the steps necessary to make it happen. 

The challenges that early bird faces are that they often get singularly focused on knocking off items from their checklist that they forget to give certain tasks enough time for consideration. They don’t allow themselves the space that they need to think through complex and challenging problems, and that is a big drawback. There are some obstacles in life that simply require a lot of time and attention to be paid to them. The fact that the early bird gets so focused on getting things done as rapidly as possible means that they don’t always give proper attention to things that deserve more of their attention. 

It is important for the early bird to give themselves some space to think and enjoy parts of life that they have allowed to slip by them for far too long. People who have these tendencies know that they are able to achieve a lot on a given day, but they may not use their time effectively to enjoy the process. Perhaps including a bullet point in their to-do list that allows them the space to step back and actually enjoy their day is something that is worthwhile for an early bird.


The Balancing Art

Keeping everything in balance is something that someone defined as “the balance art” would say is a strong suit of theirs. They have a time and place for everything that they do in their day, and they have developed the skills necessary to keep it all up in the air and balanced at all times. This may be the result of years of practice doing exactly that, or it may be because they have had to adapt to this way of living life. Regardless, a person who falls into this category ought to think about how they can best use some of the strengths that they are naturally gifted with to make the most of their time. 

balanced books with a wine glass on top of a foot

The strength that is most obvious for someone in this category is that they are a well-rounded person. They have a variety of interests, and they keep up with all of them. They manage to juggle all of those various interests at all times because they are skilled at keeping things in perspective. It is very important to them that they have the ability to continue to juggle their various tasks and responsibilities because they know that keeping it all in the air like this is the only way that they properly function. 

The downside for someone who is a balancing art is that they can end up with a lack of motivation rather easily. They have proven that they have what it takes to keep various tasks moving all at the same time, but that doesn’t mean that this is what they desire to do. As a matter of fact, they can sometimes get bored with all of the juggling and wish that they were managing their time differently. 

To help keep themselves from falling into predictable patterns, people in this category ought to consider pushing their own boundaries at least a little to see if they can potentially discover new things about themselves that they didn’t know before. With any luck, they can potentially discover a new hobby or passion that will drive them to want to press on. 


The Pressure Cooker

We all know someone who could be defined as a pressure cooker. They work best when the pressure is on to get something done. They always manage to pull through, but they seemingly always get their work done at the last minute. They are dependable in the sense that they do seem to pull through when they are called upon to do so, but it is always a struggle to get them to get ahead of schedule on any project. They want to do things their own way, and that is precisely what they will do if left to their own devices.

two employees working calmly and boss shouting

The great thing about someone who is a pressure cooker is that they can sit still for hours and work on a single project to get it done. They are willing to go the extra mile at the last possible minute to pull things out of a ditch and make it work. This means that projects with extremely tight deadlines are often best left to these people. However, you may find yourself frustrated by the fact that they always seem to have to wait until the last second to get it together and get something done. That is not ideal in some scenarios. 

The weakness of the pressure cooker is that they can use their ability to pull things off at the last minute as an excuse to procrastinate. When they let themselves wait until the last minute on the assumption that they will pull through in the end, they are manifesting that reality. The problem is, that they may get so caught up in their procrastination that they actually push things too far and fail. 

A way for the pressure cooker to pull themselves out of bad habits that they might have acquired over the years is to give themselves small deadlines to meet throughout the course of the project that they are working on. Break things done into smaller chunks and put themselves on a self-imposed deadline in order to let their pressure cooker ways kick into high gear. When they do this, they might be capable of pulling off some pretty impressive feats without pushing everything to the last possible second. 


The Improviser

The Improviser shares many traits with the pressure cooker in that they also tend to push things to the last minute. However, the Improviser does it because he or she feels like they can get away with it. It is not that they work better under pressure, it is just that they don’t want to do all of the work that they have been assigned at this moment. They would much rather wait until the last minute to figure out how they will throw a plan together that can allow them to skate by. It is honestly a very risky way to play things because it means that anything going wrong at all can derail the entire plan. 

woman looking at a sandclock

The strength of the Improviser is that they are able to think on their feet. They can pull themselves (and their team) up at the last minute and come up with something quickly that might be able to pull everyone through the assignment or project. 

The downside for the Improviser is that they may lack discipline in their approach to time management. They have gotten away with coming up with something at the last minute for so long that they now believe that they can do so anytime they want to. That kind of thinking may lead them to make poor decisions. 

It is possible for this type of person to turn things around. They need to set realistic goals for themselves that they know they can reach. They need to make those goals known to the people around them for accountability purposes, and then they need to get to work accomplishing them. 


Identify your time management style:

Want to find out what your time management style is? Take this quick test to see where you land and how you might use that information to make some changes. 


Bonus tips for time management

No matter your specific time management style, everyone can benefit from the following tips for managing their time: 

  • Set up your day the night before – Always have a plan for what you are going to do the next day. You don’t necessarily have to write it down as a checklist (unless this helps you), but you need to have an idea of what you are going to shoot for the next day. 


  • Find accountability partners – Find the people in your life that you know will hold you accountable for getting things done. These individuals are your lifeline towards getting the kind of results that you deserve to aim for when working on making yourself into a more productive individual. 



This world is made up of people with all kinds of different organization and time management styles. We are fortunate to have so many different types of people who are capable of working on so many different things. We should celebrate those differences, but we should also recognize which categories we personally fall under and how we might improve ourselves by being aware of the changes that we need to make. 

personal pivots newsletter
Get more exclusive personal development tips that we only share with email subscribers

You May Also Like…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.