Rethinking time-management strategies

If you find that traditional time-management strategies don't work for you, a book called, Time Management for the unmanageable by business consultant Ann McGee-Cooper (Bantam Books) may be just what you need.

The book points out that there are two different ways of looking at time. One is called monochromic, and the other is polychromic.

McGee-Cooper says, "Monochromic time refers to linear time - time that is measured by the clock and typically decided in advance." Because most of the business world runs on monochromic time, business people must follow this schedule. We all know that being punctual is a top priority in most offices.

Polychromic time, according to McGee-Cooper, "is related to decisions made intuitively at the moment, as events are played out. The more you deal directly with people, the more polychromic you must become.

For example, you know about how long it will take you to type the quarterly report or prepare the minutes of the weekly meeting. But can you predict how long it will take to handle a customer complaint or conduct a performance appraisal? Obviously, we must be more flexible in managing our time when we are dealing with people.

Another key is choosing a time-management system that will work for you knows what kind of thinker you are. In other words, do you have a right or left-brained thinking preference? Keep in mind that one type of thinking is not superior to the other, just different.

Left-brained dominant people are well organized and routine-orientated. They find conventional time management tools, such as "to do" lists and planners helpful. On the other hand, right-brained people like spontaneity and flexibility. They don't find traditional time-management systems "user friendly."

Develop your own color coding system.

Draw colored boxes around activities or tasks scheduled on your calendar, or used colored dots to call attention to them. For example, hot pink for intensive projects, red for deadlines, etc.

Build in flexibility by using self-stick notes.

Jot tasks that can be done anytime during the week on these notes and place them on your calendar. Then, if you want to reschedule the task, simply move the note to the new date.