What’s Your Time Paradigm?

Time Paradigm

Time is a most fascinating phenomenon. It is ticking at a steady, consistent pace, yet some moments seem to last forever, and others feel wildly fleeting! As concepts go, time is a tough one to wrap your head around.

Less than desirable tasks have a way of slowing time down – making it drag. When you are caught up in something that fully captures you, all sense of time fades away and time passes with ease. It’s really quite remarkable!

There are a whole lot of tips out there to help you maximize your time. Some of them are even helpful. However, the idea of managing time is rather humorous – I have yet to influence time in my favor!

The hard truth: the only thing you can control is YOU! Some days, it would be a whole lot easier to attempt to manage time, right?

Rather than pass on dozens of time management tips, I want you to take another approach to maximizing your time. My hope is that you will come to understand the unique way God has created YOU so that you can effectively manage YOU in a way that maximizes your 24 hours each day.

God has simultaneously created you to be a one-of-a-kind unique being, yet you will also recognize yourself in one or perhaps two of the four personality types. And you might notice that there are ways of viewing time that are in opposition, making it challenging to work or live with those who see time contrary to how you do!

So how do the four basic personalities approach time? Perhaps you resonate with one of my friends!

Now, no one fits neatly into just one of these four personality types. While you may relate to one more than the others, most people find that they also have a strong runner up!

I happen to be a D/C, meaning that I score highest in D with C not far behind. This can make for an interesting way of dealing with time. I am raring to go – there’s no time like the present! On the other hand, I’m also a dedicated planner with a preference for details and exploring all the options. However, when push comes to shove, my “Let’s go” side will win.

One leader I worked with was a D/I. You would think that with both of us being D’s that it would be a positive combination, however, his desire for speed and fun often conflicted with my need to plan and consider the details.

I’ve also worked with several C/S types who often research and plan to such an extent that it makes it tough for them to pull the trigger and move forward.

I’m sure you’ve experienced some situations where you’ve worked with others who operate with a time paradigm very different from your own. That doesn’t make your personality good or bad – or theirs for that matter. Each personality brings something valuable to the table. And they each have some areas to work on.

Meet a few of my friends to help you take a closer look at four the four personality types and their time paradigms:


Driving Drew or you might recognize him as Choleric, Fire, Ruling, Controller, or Lion.

The good news? Driving Drew…

  • Gets stuff done!
  • Rarely has time challenges
  • Works at a fast pace and accomplishes a surprising amount
  • Is willing to take on challenges and take risks

The bad news? Driving Drew…

  • Has a tough time relaxing, which can lead to burn out
  • Can neglect important areas like relationships, health, etc.
  • Tends to be task focused rather than people focused making them tough to be around
  • Is more of a lone ranger than a team player
  • Expects others to work as diligently and productively as he does

Influencing Izzy or you might recognize her as Sanguine, Wind, Socially Useful, Fun Lover, or Otter.

The good news? Influencing Izzy…

  • Can be incredibly encouraging, inspiring, and fun!
  • Is quick to volunteer for tasks
  • Can be very spontaneous and handle tasks on the fly
  • Is an inspiring communicator

The bad news? Influencing Izzy…

  • Is the most challenged by time
  • Prefers to chit chat rather than get things done
  • Is easily distracted
  • Dislikes making plans
  • Tends to be unrealistic about how long it takes to get a task done
  • Lacks follow through
  • Can be spontaneous which results in getting off track
  • Views time as unlimited causing her to under value it

Steady Steve or you might recognize him as Phlegmatic, Earth, Peacemaker, Avoiding, or Golden Retriever.

The good news? Steady Steve…

  • Is very dependable
  • Adapts well and does what he needs to get stuff done
  • Will finish what someone else has started
  • Doesn’t mind working behind the scenes

The bad news? Steady Steve…

  • Tends to go SLOW!
  • Can procrastinate – especially if he doesn’t feel safe
  • Often lacks motivation
  • Views deadlines as a suggestion
  • Prone to distraction
  • Puts things off when they get complicated or hard
  • Can be too nice

Cautious Cathy or you might recognize her as Melancholy, Water, Getting, Perfectionist, or Beaver.

The good news? Cautious Cathy…

  • Is a meticulous planner
  • Has a keen sense of time
  • Is organized
  • Thrives on schedules and routine
  • Follows directions well
  • Rarely lets a detail escape

The bad news? Cautious Cathy…

  • Can get lost in the details
  • Lacks flexibility
  • Can perpetually research and/or plan
  • Gets discouraged easily
  • Struggles to tolerate the disorganization of others
  • Can be too regimented
  • Views time as limited so can be a stingy with it
  • Over analyzes

How can you switch up your paradigm?

Here are some suggestions:

If you are like Driving Drew…

If you lead people like Driving Drew…

  • Assign tasks that will challenge and allow them the opportunity to be in charge.
  • Appreciate their hard work and what they are able to accomplish.
  • Encourage them to delegate – help them to see the benefit.
  • Acknowledge their efforts.
  • Give them options when it comes to tasks.
  • Encourage them to plan their work and work their plan.
  • Help them to see the value of being a part of a team.

If you are like Influencing Izzy…

  • Don’t commit to a task on the spot. Wait an hour or more to give your answer when you’ve had time to really consider what you are committing to.
  • Deal with your people pleasing issues.
  • Start your day with a plan. Tackle your most difficult task first.
  • Run your plans by someone you trust until you can be more realistic about how much time tasks take.
  • Talk less, listen more.
  • Focus on your “why” so that when distractions come your way you will be pulled forward by something that matters to you. If you don’t have a big enough why…it’s time to find one!
  • Carve out time to get organized.
  • Reward yourself with fun people time.
  • Learn to do things by yourself. Yes- solo!
  • Break tasks down into more manageable steps.

If you lead an Influencing Izzy…

  • Pair them up with someone with great planning skills – they will enjoy the team approach and be more likely to stay on track.
  • When they volunteer, help them to think through whether or not they will be able to follow through.
  • Remind them to plan with tomorrow in mind.
  • Recognize them when they get things done on time! Notice when they stay on task!
  • Appeal to their fun side when asking them to do tasks.
  • Help them to break big tasks done into smaller tasks that are less overwhelming.

If you are like Steady Steve…

  • Be more assertive. Take charge when things seem uncertain.
  • Resist the urge to blame others for your lack of getting tasks done. Take responsibility for your own productivity.
  • Work on building your confidence.
  • Set goals and deadlines for yourself.
  • Make a plan each day and tackle your most difficult task first to help you stop procrastinating.
  • Face what causes you to procrastinate.
  • Be kind, but don’t let chit-chatting keep you from accomplishing your tasks.
  • Create systems so that you don’t forget things.

If you lead a Steady Steve…

  • Communicate deadlines very clearly.
  • Allow them more time than you might others – his pace is slow.
  • Support them; check in to see what help he might need.
  • Encourage them to step out and try new things – you believe in him!
  • Consider what might motivate them – it will be external.
  • Be sure to respect and praise their efforts.
  • Keep the peace! Conflict and drama will keep them from being productive.

If you are a Cautious Cathy…

  • Learn to do the best job you can within the time allotted.
  • Remind yourself that there are many ways to do tasks besides your “right way.”
  • Let go of the need for constant affirmation.
  • Learn to limit time spent researching, planning, or analyzing.
  • Start your day by doing your most difficult task first – everything else will seem easy by comparison!
  • Look on the bright side and relax your schedule.
  • Limit the details you share.
  • Ignore the disorganization of others.
  • Take tasks one at a time – don’t dwell on ALL that needs to get done.
  • Don’t try to do it all.
  • Resist the urge to manage others when it gets challenging to manage you.

If you lead a Cautious Cathy…

  • Set clear deadlines. Remind them to do their best in the time allotted.
  • Affirm their work! Encourage them often.
  • Remind them to be positive and resist sharing all the details.
  • Communicate your priorities clearly.
  • Encourage them to let others help.
  • Allow them to keep a routine as much as possible.
  • Give them opportunities to use their knack for researching, analyzing, and doing detailed oriented work.

When you understand your time paradigm and how to tame your tendencies, you can successfully manage YOU!

And when you understand the different time paradigms around you, then you can manage how YOU interact with others so that they can be more productive too!

What’s your time paradigm?


Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas

Marvae Eikanas is an author, entrepreneur, ICF certified coach, Career Direct Consultant, DISC consultant, and HBDI practitioner. She helps her coaching clients sharpen their skills, face their fears, eliminate funky mindsets, hone their habits, and cultivate clarity so they can THRIVE personally and professionally. Schedule a consultation with Marvae here.

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