The Five P’s: An Alternate Approach to Time Management

The concept of time management remains an enigma for many and it’s understandable. On any given day, we start with 24 hours and within that time-frame process through personal and professional needs, tasks, projects, responsibilities, priorities, and everything else. There are days when we feel very accomplished and others when we feel completely defeated. It can be a continuous see-saw of productivity versus ineffectiveness.

Rather than monitor the minutes and attempt to control every single factor, I suggest a new approach where the focus is on the end result and one’s productivity levels. The goal is to examine life as a whole and consider time from a more broad perspective as it relates to how you live your life or your living style. The approach is called Timestyle, or time management for your living style.

Below is a snapshot of the Timestyle approach to time management, also known as the 5 P’s of productivity.

1. Keep your eye on the prize – In order to get to the bottom of your time management struggle, the first step is to identify why this is so important or what is the intended goal. Most commonly, people want to feel ‘better’ or ‘less stressed’ however that is only part of the prize. Keep pushing yourself to define ‘better’ and ask how being ‘less stressed’ will improve your life. For many clients, tears will roll down their cheeks when they hit on the prize – this is a good sign.

2. Manage your priorities – When asked, most people will say they have eight to ten priorities. The very definition of a priority is the primary or main concern at any given time. In my opinion, it’s almost impossible to have nine main concerns, at any one moment, and still do them well. The challenge is to narrow the priority list to three or four and focus on those. Narrowing the list allows for greater focus and intensity, thus improving your chances of success. If narrowing down the list is too scary, consider this phrase: for now. Simply work on those priorities, for now, and feel free to define ‘for now’ as needed.

3. Plan, plan, plan – If ever there was a secret weapon in the time management war, planning is it. Success levels increase with an element of planning in one’s life. Chances are, if you are habitually late, easily misplacing items and unable to complete projects, it may be because there is a failure or reluctance to plan. Planning saves effort, time, money, and rewards you with less stress and more time to do what you truly want to be doing. When planning, it’s important to do three things:

  • Practice T4T. Plan for today and the next 4 days, or 4 tomorrows.
  • Start small.  If planning is a foreign concept, focus intently for a short time, 5 to 10 minutes. A lot can be accomplished in a few minutes.
  • Note the change. What is different with the advent of your new planning strategy? Are supermarket visits less frequent? Are you early to appointments? Less stressed? More productive and organized?

With practice, planning skills will develop quickly and become second nature. Eventually, planning one month, a year and even five years into the future will become the norm.

4. Identify partnerships – Admittedly, this is where clients push-back the most. The initial reaction is partnering costs extra money and is inconvenient. I’m here to challenge that notion.

Partnerships come in many forms and the goal is to get you focused on doing that which brings you pleasure and value. If running errands or grocery shopping are major headaches, then order groceries online and pay the nominal delivery fee. Find a dry cleaning service that picks up and drops off – again, the delivery fee is nominal and you’re able to do what you’d rather be doing

Be creative with your partners. Get family members involved – there’s no reason one person needs to do the bulk of the work. Even small children can learn to hang their coats and carry in their sippy cups from the car. Visit a recipe website and have weekly menus delivered to your inbox. Shopping lists are often included and you will know ahead of time precisely what’s needed for the week

Professionally, outsource the projects or work you struggle to complete or dislike. Create systems and streamline your workload with templates. Remember, partnerships come in many different forms.

5. Practice. As with any new habit or regimen, it takes practice for the routine to take hold. Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote in his best-selling Psycho-Cybernetics, it takes 21 days for a new thought or activity to stick.

On second thought, perhaps the last ‘P’ ought to include patience and perseverance as well.' About Stacey Vulakh

Time management coach Stacey Vulakh is the founder of Timestyle Coaching & Consulting. She helps busy people regain control over their lives, be more productive and reduce their stress.


  1. Such great information!

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