February 14, 2020
I am going to continue the theme from last month on productivity by asking, “How do you manage your time?
One might take this question in many directions – it is a deep and complex question. For now, my focus is quite specific and will use the MBTI® Personality Type framework. We will focus on the 4th letter in the 4-Letter Personality Type, the “J” or “P” preference.
There is often some confusion and misinterpretation about this 4th letter – our preference for how we organize our life and manage our time – where the “J” is Judging, and the “P” is Perceiving. A note of caution: “J” does not mean judgment and “P” does not mean perception. There are no right or wrong, good or bad preferences in this framework. Rather, we all go about organizing our life and managing our time differently. The population is split about 50/50 on the “J” and “P” preference. So, I tend to use the simple letter, "J" or "P", in order assure the focus is on the over-riding concept -- how we prioritize and organize our outer life.
One of my goals is to dispel the presumption there is any necessary link between “Js” and “Ps” with respect to their productivity and effectiveness. In my opinion, both “Js” and “Ps” can be equally productive or effective. It is just that we go about getting from here to there very differently. And, it is very easy to for us to slip into using judgmental language because of our preference. For example, “Js” may have a tendency to label “Ps” as procrastinators. Likewise. “Ps” may have a tendency to label “Js” as anal. WRONG!
Ten years ago, I signed up to re-take my MBTI® Step II™ Profile with David Prudhomme, the co-author and co-creator of From Stressed to Best™ with Ruth Schneider. I am going to share my personal profile from that lesson because it helps illustrate what I learned -- what we all can learn -- when we take a deep dive into understanding how we organize our life and manage our time.
If you do not know or perhaps have forgotten your 4-Letter Personality Type, please click on this link to take our Quick Self Assessment Questionnaire.
At the outset it is important to acknowledge and attribute the sources for this analysis. The following discussion and analytics draw from my MBTI® Step II™ Interpretive Report by Naomi Quenk, PhD., and Jean M. Kummerow, PhD., as interpreted by Ruth Schneider and David Prudhomme, co-creators of From Stressed to Best™. In addition, the commentary borrows from the From Stressed to Best "Complete Interpretive Report for Understanding All 16 Personality Types for use with the MBTI ® Step II ™ Profile." As a Certified Stress Reduction Specialist and an Affiliate of From Stressed to Best™ and as a Certified MBTI® Administrator, this is exactly the material I use in my work with clients.
When we drill down into the “J’ and “P” preference, there are 5 facets:
I am definitely a “J”. However, I have crosscurrents on 2 out of the 5 facets. This is a great example of why we are all so different – i.e., while there are 16 unique 4-Letter Personality Types, there are an even greater number of variations within each Personality Type.
How you prefer to organize your work:
On the MBTI Step II Profile, I score as moderately Casual – which is a definite cross-current for a “J”. Reflect for a moment how someone who is Casual can be frustrating to someone who is very Systematic. Can you hear a person saying, “They can’t seem to focus!” Well, I do understand how to focus -- and I also like to have fun and find inspiration while I work.
How you think about time:
I am a moderately strong, Planful. I really don’t like surprises and interruptions that throw me off track. At the same time, I have come to appreciate friends and family who are definitely Open-ended. I can see they have an instinctive knack to be in the Now – and enjoy the present moment.
How you deal with deadlines:
I am in the middle on this facet with a slight preference for Early Starting. I have come to learn that when I force something just for the sake of getting started, I often circle back and find myself restarting with a different approach after I have had the time to reflect and find inspiration. At the same time, it is uncomfortable – yes, stressful, when as a result of getting a late start, I am “under the gun.” So here I am at 4 AM, writing this Blog. Lol. Managing stress is a daily challenge.
How you structure your daily activities:
I am Scheduled – I max out on this score. This may be one reason that people tend to see me as “busy” and highly productive. At the same time, I often look at my friends and family who are spontaneous and think – “Gee they are having all the fun!”
How you sequence smaller tasks to finish larger ones:
I am right in the middle on this polarity from Methodical to Emergent. This means I do a little bit of both. I know this means my style can be confusing to associates – and I know I can confuse myself! It is somewhat paradoxical to be very Scheduled and in the middle between Methodical and Emergent. Indeed, our crosscurrents can be a source of inner stress.
My key take-aways:
My final thoughts: Let us broaden our perspective and appreciation of all the beautiful differences in how people manage their time. Let us see the value in our different approaches and be more tolerant and patient.
With heartfelt gratitude,
May you be happy now and always, Alison
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