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Phoenix Forward magazine

How to choose a time-management strategy that’s right for your personality

If you expressed your feelings about time management aloud, would you be bleeped? Take heart — it could be that the time-management techniques you’re using simply don’t match your personality.

Brian Garavaglia, PhD, a therapist, neuroscientist and instructor in the University of Phoenix College of Social Sciences, has an explanation: “An individual’s behavior is always a function of … the person and the environment they are part of.”

In other words, time-management behavior is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Garavaglia suggests identifying which of the following personality types describes you, and then adapting time-management techniques to fit your disposition:

Time-management tips

What is the right time-management strategy for your personality?

Social butterfly

  • Characteristics: Outgoing, enjoys conversation and being with people
  • Strengths: Drawn to people and social situations, natural collaborators
  • Challenges: Because they enjoy being in a flurry of activity, butterflies can be easily distracted.
  • Advice: “Social butterflies should create an interactive work environment to facilitate group-oriented goals and tasks.”


  • Characteristics: Comfortable in social situations, may be ambitious and driven
  • Strengths: Motivated, self-sufficient and focused when tackling important tasks
  • Challenges: Self-sufficiency can become a weakness when Drivers need help but won’t seek it.
  • Advice: “Drivers do well at individual tasks that require persistence — but may need to have an authority figure mandate when they need to seek out further assistance.”


  • Characteristics: Takes a balanced approach to work and problem-solving, may be self-sufficient and a good communicator
  • Strengths: Moved to complete tasks to satisfy intellectual curiosity
  • Challenges: Professors may be apathetic about duties they consider beneath their intelligence.
  • Advice: “A need for order and balance predisposes professors to follow a balanced approach to time management. They need to focus on tasks that are intellectually challenging and within their expertise.”


  • Characteristics: Adaptable, enjoys discovery and being creative
  • Strengths: Being less structured, finding ways around roadblocks
  • Challenges: Procedures and detail work can frustrate and stall creatives’ progress.
  • Advice: “Creative people need to find a way to allow more freedom in the work process while adhering to deadlines. They do their best in an environment that fosters their creative abilities.” 


  • Characteristics: Thinker, tends to be logical and embraces different cultures
  • Strengths: Accepts diverse concepts, integrates different opinions to arrive at unique solutions  
  • Challenges:  Deadlines may be missed because philosophers look at many options and do not focus on a goal.
  • Advice: “Because they’re interested in different forms of knowledge, updates of their progress need to exist to ensure they are remaining focused on the project that is currently assigned to them.”