Personality drivers

The result of your upbringing and environment as a child may have been the installation of certain personality drivers within your head.

These are called Hurry Up, Please Others, and Be Perfect.

These will tend to he barriers to your effective time management (and to your happiness), and since we spend 80% of our time responding to our drivers, like looking at the world through a coloured lens, we need to know all about them  and keep them under control! And remember, you can easily have more than one.

Hurry Up

The effect of this driver is to make you very conscious of time, to the point where you try to fit too much in, don’t have time to prepare or finish off properly, and don’t have time to enjoy the present (sometimes known as “not taking time to smell the roses”). It’s constantly “OK, done that, what’s next?”. You get a lot done, but at the cost of high stress and low quality of life. You are impatient with pedantic people who pull you up on points of detail. You hate being kept waiting. You often do several things at once. You find it difficult to focus all your attention on your children, and may find yourself saying to them “I haven’t got time for that now”, (which will pass on your driver to them).

If this is your driver, you could try to reduce its effect by deliberately slowing down; take up a restful sport like fishing or golf, and make sure you take your time at it. Make sure you take time to sit and think. Go for regular walks and consciously admire the beauty of nature. Ask others to let you know if you’re Hurrying Up.

Please Others

The effect of this driver is to make you friendly and caring to the point where you put the priorities of others before your own. This becomes a problem when you become frustrated that you are not achieving the progress that you would like, and when, however much time you spend on other people you still feel guilty that you’re not doing enough for them. Whatever compliments they give you, you always have the nagging feeling that you are asking them for too many favours, or even that they may not really like you.

Like the other drivers, Please Others can never be satisfied by trying to satisfy it; the best approach is to reduce its strength by conscious self-talk: “Other people are responsible for their own lives”; “I don’t have to worry what others think about me”; “I can make my own decisions”; “My own objectives are important”; “Other people like me”. If you feel extremely uncomfortable saying these sentences out loud, then you have this driver and you therefore need to say them!

Be Perfect

Fear of making mistakes will make you thorough, but often too much of a perfectionist. You can’t do everything perfectly! Some jobs aren’t worth doing perfectly! But this driver will make you unable to let go, and a blemish, whether it’s a spelling mistake in a memo or a scratch on a car, will ruin the whole thing for you. You may feel that others try to rush you, or that their statements are too general to be useful. Your statements are carefully worded, and may often include sub-clauses, where appropriate and relevant, and numbered lists to give (1) structure, (2) clarity and (3) improved retention in the listener. You may tend to procrastinate because you don’t have all of the information; you may be easily distracted by unfinished details on other work; you may find it hard to delegate because no one else does the job as carefully as you feel it should be done. Â

To fight against this driver (which, like all the others, has its strengths but is a problem when it gets out of hand) you need to consciously relax on the details. Force yourself to let other people do the work, even with mistakes. Force yourself to let it go when near enough finished. Say to yourself “That detail does not matter. I don’t mind. I am thinking about bigger things”. Remember that 80% of your results come from 20% of your time, and one of the reasons for the other 80% being relatively unproductive could be that you spend too long on getting the details exactly right. Are there other tasks that are more important, that are not even being started? Maybe if you lightened up on some tasks you could have more time to have fun?