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Time Management: How Do You Deliver the Goods?

Back when I was manning front desks, one of my many duties was handing off and signing for packages. Over the years, I had many chats with the FEDEX and UPS workers, and through our many brief interactions I learned that while both companies had the same mission—delivering packages in a timely fashion—they accomplished it differently.

Please note this was several years ago, so it may not be accurate today. Please contact UPS and FEDEX directly regarding the estimated delivery times of your packages.

UPS Workers are given a specific route to follow and each delivery is scheduled down to the minute. FEDEX workers, on the other hand, have no set route for delivering packages as long as they arrive at their destination on time.

If you had to choose one of these methods for managing your time, which would you chose? UPS or FEDEX? As I see it, each has its pros and cons.

UPS workers have a clear vision for how to accomplish the goal and there is no guess work required after the route is set. BUT there is no room for adjusting the plan, and they are always racing against a pre-conceived clock.

FEDEX workers have the autonomy to change their plan as needed, which provides flexibility for unknowns. BUT not have a set route requires constant decision-making and there is the chance that they won’t pacing themselves properly.

I’ve experimented with both, and I’ve discovered my workstyle lends itself to the FEDEX approach, but occasionally I use the UPS method when I have a lot to get done and I feel at risk of getting off track.

I think both can be equally effective, it’s just a matter of preference and what kind of goods you need to deliver. For instance, if you are part of a team, where tasks are delegated, you may need the flexibility to adjust and readjust your schedule to coordinate with others. On the other hand, if you have a project that you are tackling on your own, having a very specific roadmap will keep you focused.

How do you decide what’s for you? Take each for a day-long test drive.

To try out the UPS method, start by mapping out your time in 15-minute chunks. Review the plan to make sure you have allowed a realistic amount of time for each task. When the time comes, execute the plan. Don’t question it or second guess it. Trust the plan will work.

To try out the FEDEX method, come up with a realistic to-do list that you would like to check off by the end of the day. Next review the list to ensure you have set yourself up for success. If the list is too ambitious, you may not get an accurate sense of whether the method is right for you. With your list in hand, just start checking things off in whatever order makes sense.

When you are done trying out each method, ask yourself two questions: Did you get everything done that you planned? How did you feel using the method?

The plan might have worked, but if it created so much anxiety that you were a nervous wreck, maybe it’s not a good fit.

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