What are the different time management styles?

by Liam Martin
time management styles

Curious about time management styles?

It’s no secret that everyone is interested in managing their time better. 

And while there are general tips and techniques to help you manage your time better, like organizing your workplace, they aren’t enough to help you be more productive.

You have to figure out the time management style and productivity technique that works best for you.

In this article, we’ll look at six different time management styles and a few personalized tips to help you become more productive.

This article covers:

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Let’s get started.

What is time management?

Time management is the process of organizing and planning tasks to make the most of your day. It revolves around getting more done in less time and being productive overall. 

However, contrary to popular belief, being busy isn’t the same as being productive. 

Despite being ‘busy’ the entire day,  many people can’t complete their daily tasks. 

That’s where time management strategies come in — they make you work smarter, not harder.

What are the benefits of time management?

Before we dive into the different time management styles, let’s take a look at some advantages time management has to offer. 

But if you’re familiar with its benefits, feel free to skip ahead to the time management styles.

1. Reduces procrastination 

Good time management lets you be in control of your time.

You’ll be more focused and confident about what you want to complete in a given time frame. As a result, you procrastinate less and have more time away from work.

2. Improves work-life balance

Finishing work early due to effective time management means that you have more time for yourself, your personal goals, and your interpersonal commitments. 

This balance also directly impacts work and productivity in a positive way — the happier you are, the more productive you become.

3. Prevents burnout

Taking some time off helps you rejuvenate your mental energy level and avoids the possibility of workplace burnout. It also enables you to focus better and sharpens your problem-solving capabilities. 

What are the different time management styles?

Different people have different ways of managing their time. 

Identifying your own time management style will help you focus on your strengths and understand the key to your productivity. 

Let’s take a look at the six common time management styles :

1. Hopper

hopper multitasking

Hoppers are people who work on multiple things simultaneously. They shuffle from one task to another before either task is completed. 

Multitaskers love chaos and often find themselves involved in too many personal and professional projects all at once.

A. Advantages

These hustlers like to stay busy and can do several different things at the same time. It’s easy for them to transition between tasks.

B. Disadvantages

Multitasking is not a very productive way of working, despite popular belief. In fact, studies suggest it can even lower your IQ!

Moreover, multitaskers often find it difficult to stay organized, complete specific tasks, and meet deadlines.

C. Tips to increase productivity

To make the most of their potential, hoppers should:

  • Eliminate distractions while working. 
  • Use the Pomodoro technique to work in short bursts.
  • Focus on prioritizing only two or three tasks and shifting between only those prioritized. 

2. Hyperfocus


People with a hyperfocus style of management get deeply involved in the task at hand. Quick to get in the zone, they prefer to focus on one task and follow it through until it’s done.

A. Advantages

Hyperfocus style users are incredibly productive and produce high-quality work with meticulous attention to detail.

B. Disadvantages

Focusing on only one task can lead to failure to meet deadlines and stress for the unfinished tasks, taking the individual’s attention away from important things that need it. They lack flexibility, as it’s challenging for them to move on from one task to another.

C. Tips to increase productivity

People with this style of management should:

  • Remind themselves to switch tasks after specific intervals of time. 
  • Use a backward planning strategy to make realistic predictions of the time taken to complete tasks.
  • Track the amount of time they allocate to different tasks.

3. Cliffhanger

cliffhanger under pressure

Working best under pressure indicates a cliffhanger personality. The thing that moves such individuals forward is the adrenaline rush they get as the clock ticks closer to the deadline. 

A. Advantages 

Those who use the Cliffhanger management style thrive in stressful situations and can withstand a lot of pressure.

B. Disadvantages 

The work performed under pressure is generally rushed and of low quality. These people are often procrastinators who wait for the last possible second to begin work.

C. Tips to increase productivity 

To make the most of their time, cliffhanger style time managers should:

  • Track the amount of time they take to complete each task.  
  • Prioritize tasks to avoid a last-minute rush.
  • Schedule earlier dates for the urgent tasks.

4. Big Picture

big picture planning

People with this personal time management style have a bird’s eye view of the different tasks and plans they have to perform. They spend the majority of their time planning and strategizing over paying attention to the fine details.

A. Advantages 

Since people in this category see the bigger picture, they are quick thinkers and spontaneous problem solvers. They often come up with creative ideas and novel strategies for different problems.

B. Disadvantages

The most significant disadvantage for those who use the big picture style is their inability to pay attention to smaller tasks and details. This might be unable to do high-quality work.

C. Tips to increase productivity

To make the most of their potential, those who see the bigger picture should:

  • Write down their daily routine.
  • Collaborate with people who have an eye for detail like the perfectionists.
  • Communicate clearly and precisely about what they want to accomplish.

5. Perfectionist


The perfectionist time manager spends too much time on details and engages in an endless pursuit of making everything just right. 

A. Advantages 

These people understand the intricacies of a task and produce very high-quality work.

B. Disadvantages

They often miss deadlines in the pursuit of trying to make everything perfect by micromanaging the details.

C. Tips to increase productivity  

To deal with their management issues, perfectionists should:

  • Take on fewer projects at a time.
  • Audit their time to avoid getting caught up in meaningless details.
  • Collaborate with a team member to finish a few project management tasks (that is not of the highest priority or risk.)

6. Impulsive 

impulsive time management style

People with impulsive time management style like to work without a plan. The adrenaline rush that comes with spontaneity gets them going. They dread the idea of setting up a routine or creating a task list.

A. Advantages 

As they are great improvisers, people who use this style often thrive in situations of unexpected challenges.

B. Disadvantages 

The impulsive time manager very often cannot keep deadlines. They find it difficult to do work that requires consistent long term effort.

C. Tips to increase productivity  

To make the most of their potential, these people should:

  • Incorporate routine, create schedules, and remind themselves of their goals.
  • Consider the larger projects, objectives, and responsibilities before making a decision.
  • Make long term plans, review routines, and set some time every day for spontaneity.  

How can you improve your time management skills?

Time management skills help you manage your time efficiently and take charge of your personal and professional life.

Let’s take a look at the different time management techniques and skills and how to improve them:

1. Organization

Staying organized is the first step to taking control of all your responsibilities and priorities. 

Creating an organized list of tasks will help you sail you through the choppy waters of your jam-packed schedule.

This skill helps successful people focus their attention, prioritize tasks, and identify the time wasters that decrease their momentum. 

2. Goal setting 

You might have set a few smart goals, such as: writing the next best-selling book or building the next multi-billion dollar company.

These goals are the consequences of doing consistent work like writing 3000 words a day, spending an hour on sales, etc.

Ideally, while setting goals, you should focus on your actions and not the results.

How do you do that?

Determine the important tasks that are required to achieve your goals, and use the time blocking method, so you can ensure that you are getting things done. 

3. Planning

Planning will help you identify your goals and make the most efficient use of given resources, time, and money.

This skill allows you to take charge of unforeseen events and prepare for all ‘what if’ scenarios. 

A definite course of action will let you see where you are standing today and the possible alternatives to where you can go in the future.

4. Prioritization

Prioritization just doesn’t mean getting more things done. It’s all about eliminating the unimportant tasks to focus your time on the necessary tasks. 

By prioritizing, you push specific tasks to the bottom of the ‘to-do’ list and highlight the tasks that should be first on your agenda.

Ranking tasks by their importance and completing them in the specified order will make you a productivity expert. 

For example, you can use the Eisenhower technique to do this. 

Before you begin, you’ll need to label tasks as:

  • Important and not important tasks.
  • Urgent and not urgent tasks.

This helps you identify which tasks are both important and urgent so that you can work on them immediately.

5. Delegation 

When there is a lot of work to be done, it is likely that you cannot do everything by yourself. 

You can always assign some tasks or parts of the projects to others.

Delegating tasks is about getting some urgent but not so important tasks off your plate so that you have more time to focus on the important ones.

When you are delegating tasks, use an autocratic style of management to save time. 

What’s that?

Autocratic managers set clear expectations of what needs to be done and how. It works best when your organization has clearly defined job roles and a formal structure of hierarchy.

The polar opposite of this, which is a democratic style of leadership, is not very useful. The reason being it takes a longer time for the team to decide which tasks should be delegated.

Work can also be delegated to you. A coworker can ask for some work to be done immediately. 

In such situations, opting for recurring tasks and saying ‘no’ when your task list is full will help you manage your time with greater effectiveness.

6. Flexibility 

Things will go wrong from time to time — be it receiving an unexpected additional task, a deadline that got rescheduled earlier, or a personal emergency. 

Rather than mulling over what you could have done to avoid it, it is essential to forgive yourself and start over again. 

Always remember that your planning and organization are just a means to an end, not the end in itself. You have to be flexible in your approach to time management.

This means that you should be open to give up on your task list in times of crisis, so you can focus on handling it better. Additionally, you should also be able to switch to another task if you’re unable to focus on it or get it done.

7. Focus 

Many things compete for our attention: urgent personal emails, phone calls, social media updates, and more. It’s way easier to get distracted and fall for immediate tasks that don’t help us in the long run. 

In his Time Management Fundamentals program on LinkedIn Learning, Productivity Expert Dave Crenshaw tells business leaders that ‘they do less by attempting to do more.’ 

He emphasizes that, by segmenting your attention, you take more time than you would take in doing one thing at a time.

Attention management and eliminating distractions are, therefore, critical to get productive work done. 

Additionally, the employee’s relationship with their manager is the most important factor in keeping employees focused and engaged.

Invest in management courses and leadership training of your managers to make the most of your employee workforce.

There are also several time management tools that can help you and your team focus better and warn you of distractions. 

Time Doctor is one such productivity tool. It has helped employees of successful companies such as Firehouse Subs to reclaim their time.

With Time Doctor, you can:

  • Eliminate distractions during work hours by restricting access to certain unproductive websites.
  • Automate tracking of time on various tasks and projects, and see the amount of time you spend working and on breaks.
  • Get productivity reports and identify the times you are the least or most productive.

Wrapping up

Time management is essential for success in today’s hyper-competitive world. Equally important is making time for yourself and what the things that matter the most to you.

But creating a schedule and sticking to it isn’t a skill that is learned in a day or two. It’s a gradual process that becomes a habit only with passing time and increasing discipline. 

That’s why starting right now is the best idea.Identify your time management personality type, create a schedule, and get better at prioritizing.

View a free demo of Time Doctor

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