What Your Suitcase Says About How You Manage Time

You can tell a lot about people based on how they manage their time. The ones who are notoriously late are the same people who are consistently a dollar short. They possess neither a mastery of time nor money.

Oftentimes, you can identify these individuals based on their actions and surroundings. While these people represent a variety of socioeconomic classes, they have one common denominator: disorganization! For instance, the system — or lack thereof — of how you pack a suitcase and organize what is in your wallet are reflections of how you manage both your time and money. Let me give you a few examples.

Messy suitcase, messy management

The next time you are at an airport and have just cleared airport security, take a peek inside the luggage of the person who has been stopped to have their luggage checked by a TSA person. If the person’s belongings are neatly packed, you can safely hedge a bet the person is also methodical in how the manage their work time. If, on the other hand, the person’s clothes, toiletries, and the like appear to have been thrown in the suitcase 10 minutes before leaving home, better chance than not that this dishevelment is a reflection of how they manage their time.

Organized wallet, organized person

While we are quickly becoming a cashless society, some people still prefer using cash. For those who do, the way they organize what is in their wallets is a reflection of the way they manage their lives. While I am not asking you to be a Peeping Tom, inconspicuously take note of the person who is checking out in front of you at the grocery, coffee shop, or department store. Unless the person is using Apple Pay, the person will most likely open their wallet. Are the person’s bills and receipts in his wallet folded, upside down, every which way, reflecting the disorder in their life? Or are things well-ordered?

And when it is your turn to check out, what is the state of your wallet’s organization telling the person behind you?

List-maker or just wing it?

The next time you go to the grocery store, take five minutes to observe the number of people who are putting things in their cart based on the list they are following. Better chance than not, you will be able to count on one hand the number of individuals who came armed with what they intended to buy.

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These list people or “actionary individuals” do just that. They “act.” They do not leave home without a list. Just as time masters write down when they have to leave to get to a given destination by a specific time, these actionary people plan their purchases. They would no more leave home without a list than they would orchestrate a meeting without an agenda. This make-a-list step is a simple safeguard for staying organized, for remaining in control, for not making unplanned purchases. All thanks to those 10 or 15 minutes of mapping out what to buy.

As simple as making a list and noting when you have to leave (and not just when you must arrive), few people practice these time management techniques. Are you part of this minority? If not, today may be the day to start.

Ann Marie Sabath

Ann Marie Sabath is the founder of At Ease Inc., the 31-year old New York City-based business consulting firm. Her ninth book, What Self-Made Millionaires Do That Most People Don’t: 52 Ways for Creating Your Own Success was recently released by Career Press. Becoming a time-master and preplanning your purchases are two of the 52 secrets for creating your own success.   Email Ann Marie at  AnnMarie@AnnMarieSabath.com.