Most traditional time management philosophies are grounded in four principles: Plan, Prioritize, Schedule, Implement.
These steps work for some people, but not for others, because they contain some inherent flaws for one-half of the population of the world.
Left Brained people are driven by goals while Right Brained people are driven by creative instincts. While all of us reflect both Right and Left Brain tendencies, each of us have tendencies toward one side or the other.
The problem is that time management systems rely on rules and right brain people are not tuned in to following rules consistently.
Time management is designed to increase your productivity, yet most systems ignore the free-flow time required for innovation and creativity.
Traditional time management encourage focused time. This ignores the millions of people who thrive on multi-task time. Multi-task time involves the movement from one task to another, progressing in each without necessarily completing one before moving to the next. Every time you feel blocked in a project, moving to another will reinvigorate you. Unconsciously, you are still working on the first project. When you return to the initial project, you may have developed new and innovative responses to continue it to its conclusion.
Where in Time Management philosophies do you “schedule” play time or leisure within a work day. Certainly some of us (Left Brain people) can focus on work, going from one subject to another from early in the morning to late in the afternoon. But many of us would actually profit from a break in the day. A walk, a break, or simply daydreaming can be a mini-vacation, reinvigorating you for the rest of the day.
Planning: the “To Do” List
Our left brain friends create a “To Do” list by defining what must be done today. However many of us would profit more by creating lists of what could be done today. And why should a “To Do” list be limited to your work efforts? Don’t you live a 24 hour day? Why plan an eight to ten hour day? The creation of the list itself for Right Brainers could develop new ideas while the Left Brainers concentrate on what is most important on their current agendas. List generation can still be done by people of both propensities, but one develops a list of responsibilities while the other develops a brainstorming session with a list of possibilities as the result.
Prioritization: A Thousand Shades of Gray
The Left Brainer sees this as a clear and concise activity. He can clearly determine what’s most important, second, third and so on. The Right Brainer looks at his list and says, “BUT THEY’RE ALL IMPORTANT!!” It is difficult for him to distinguish between the planned activities because many run into each other.
Scheduling and Implementing: The Dreaded Calendar
Some of us can use a scheduling calendar, keep it close to us, changing it when necessary to monitor our progress. Others will forget to change, add or move appointments. They will forget to take the calendar with them, so when something comes up they either try to commit it to memory or write it on the Right Brainer’s favorite office supply, the “Post-It Note”. While the Left Brainer can follow a schedule, the Right Brainer considers the calendar schedule as a starting place — a guideline — not as the “bible” for the day. The Right Brainer welcomes interruptions, especially if they are creative, and is likely to obviate the schedule if something comes up considered “more important”. The Left Brainer, on the other hand, is just as likely to schedule the new “hot topic” for tomorrow, continuing the current schedule to it’s conclusion.
There is no value judgement here. We are simply noting that the Time Management taught by the books and seminars are only valid for the Left Brainers. They simply don’t matter to the Right Brainers. They will attend the seminars, agree that the principles are great and disregard them when the need for flexibility arises. Unfortunately, they become frustrated because they recognize their inability to follow that the industry considers appropriate time management techniques.