Time and Project Based People

In my work I’ve encountered frequently two types of working people: Time based and project based.

Time based people are very focused on the timing of things. They like to give plenty of space to get something done and will usually arrive much earlier for a scheduled appointment. Needless to say they value punctuality and predictability and prefer life to be organised like a Swiss railway. However they tend to leave stuff hanging and might end up with a million little uncompleted projects when they are running to meet one deadline after another, dropping the less immediate to complete those that are urgent. They also don’t like tasks that are too complicated as it makes it difficult for them to predict how long it will take. Time based people may compromise on the quality of their work in order to meet a deadline. However if given a realistic deadline they can produce quality work and feel doubly satisfied at getting it done on time. I think a lot of bureaucrats and engineers fall into this category

Project people are different in that they will set out to do something and will make sure it is done before they move on to the next. Some will hang on tenaciously to the work no matter if it takes all day, all week or all year. They will finish it. Their problem is that once they’re started on something they can’t stop until it’s done. Other tasks might fall to the side as a result. Some are more productive being able to complete related tasks or ‘sub-tasks’ in conjunction with the main overall one. Project people may compromise on the deadline in order to get the work done properly. And by properly I mean well. They are not comfortable being restricted by timing and may have to compromise by delivering their work in stages so that they can have more time to finish the work. Most creative people like artists, musicians and writers fall into this category.

My view is that to be successful in clearing one’s work properly sometimes that means having to adopt both of the above attitudes simultaneously, tricky as it is.


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