In my last blog post ”Do you know your time type?” I described The three time types®, the time optimist, the time realist and the time pessimist, and how to find out which type you are.
Being conscious about your own time type and being aware of your colleagues’ attitude towards time is useful for the daily communication and cooperation. When the colleague is late again or delivers in the last minute, it may be because (s)he is a time optimist. Knowing this does not make the delay any less irritating, and it may not lull the optimist into false security, but you may now take precautions. You may e.g. plan an extra time buffer when the plans involve a time optimist or even make the plan together with the optimist.
Do you deliver on time?
If you are a time optimist, it is good to know that time realists and pessimists need structure and plans for their work. It is important for them that deadlines are kept, and they will value you as a colleague, if you show them that you respect their time. Try to compromise, and train yourself in being more time realistic when you work with other time types. Who knows, maybe it will be a good experience to follow a plan and keep a deadline?
Time realists turn into time pessimists
There are not many real time pessimists out there. More often, time realist who work with very time pessimistic people get more uncomfortable regarding planning and deadlines. They are simply nervous, if you can achieve your tasks on time. That is why they more often use the word "No", and are unfortunately often characterised as negative naysayers, even though it is seldom the case. They are not negative, but very dutiful regarding deadlines. As both a time optimist and realist, you can do yourself and the pessimist a favour by listening to and acknowledging their concerns, and maybe put in a little extra buffer time. This will improve the working relationship.
Put yourself in their place
Regardless what time type you are, it is useful to challenge yourself a bit. What will it be like to move a little into the time optimist’s territory? What advantages could there be in having a more easy-going attitude? Or how would the work day look like, if you planned time to get an overview of today’s tasks, put the tasks in prioritized order, follow the list and deliver on time?