Can you relate? Which one are you? An illustration to go with the article on time management.
Can you relate? Which one are you? An illustration to go with the article on time management.
Peter Bregman's article, "The Biggest Myth in Time Management" on the Harvard Business Review Blog, offers hope for all of us dealing with too much to do and too little time. He makes it clear that all of us face time management issues.
In the article, Bregman tells a story about Brad (not his real name...),
Brad is as hard a worker as anyone I know. He's not just busy, he's keenly focused on getting the right things done. And it pays off — he is the largest single revenue generator at his well-known professional services firm.
In the story Brad took a brief family vacation but the demands on him didn't stop. Emails kept coming and issues developed. He chose a time management approach that allowed him to spend time with his family.
As we all know, even when we get away there are ongoing demands on our time that could rob us of rest, fun and needed time away. Brad chose not to cave into the crisis and demands on his time.
"The idea that we can get it all done is the biggest myth in time management."
The article makes the point that we are all limited resources. We need to make choices about our time. Bregman writes, "Instead of letting things haphazardly fall through the cracks, we can intentionally push the unimportant things aside and focus our energy on the things that matter most." This reminded me of Professor Bev Wiens when I was at San Jose Christian College (now William Jessup University). She used to tell us that to manage life we needed to practice selective neglect. Wise words!
According to Bregman it requires knowing the "right things" to do and "doing them." He provides the following time management process:
I like Bregman's suggestion of tackling one time management challenge with a specific approach. If it works, repeat it. If not, try something else! Good advice.
So often we try to embrace a solution that others say is best. It seems to me if you are wired in an organized, systematic and planned way (MBTI: J - Judging), some of the time management tools will work great. However, if you are more spontaneous, unplanned and late starting (MBTI: P - Perceiving), you will need a different approach. For both J and P preferences, trying to apply time management tools that are opposed to your style will not only fail but also drain you.
The key is to find the approach that works for you! There will never be enough time to do it all. Therefore, it's best to be realistic about your time demands AND about who you are.
Know your wiring. It will help in your time management.
Do you have time management tips? Please share your MBTI preference (J or P) and what works for you!
S stands for Sensing: An S gathers facts and data
N refers to iNtuition: An N focuses on intuition and the big picture
When working with a team, explaining the meaning and function of Sensing (S) and iNtuition (N) can create some challenges. This part of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) deals with how each type collects and views information. Most people struggle with understanding Sensing and iNtuition. Until they see it in action...
In one workshop I placed each group on opposite ends of the room, S's on one side and N's on the other. Then I asked them to talk about how they gather information. First the Sensing group discussed how they collected it from books, experience, through interviews or via research. The group unanimously agreed that hard numbers and verifiable facts constituted data. They researched the information and were able to cite their sources.
The iNtution group looked bemused. Collectively they communicated that this was a lot of work which they felt was often unnecessary. In fact this group admitted that most of the time they just knew the required information and did not need to research it. If necessary they would find additional data. Some rarely noted their sources. Additionally they explained that they observed trends and patterns. The conclusion was that they just "knew stuff." They looked for just enough information, or relied on what they already knew, to move forward.
The Sensing types looked stunned. Incredulously they exclaimed, "If you cannot verify it or source it, it's not data!" For this group just "knowing it" was not enough. The iNtuitive types were offended. "Of course it's data!"
To bring the groups back together before punches were thrown, we discussed the accuracy of each type's data in general and why both are valid ways to gather information. Sensing people use their five senses. iNtuition people use an additional sixth sense. When asked, the N's all agreed that their information typically was 85 to 95% accurate.
People with a preference for Sensing focus on what they can perceive by their five senses. They are:
People with a preference for iNtuition focus on perceiving patterns and interrelationships. They are:
The bottom line is that we need each other. Sensing brings in the accurate, specific data. iNtuitive spots the trends and patterns. Both ways of observing the world and gathering information are valid and useful. A team is at its best when both preferences are used well.
Which one are you?
That's not a typo in the headline. We wish each other a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year but Holiday stresses often make it a weary Christmas and snappy New Year.
Family relationships create tension. We fall back into ruts of behaving... and often these are not helpful. People have expectations of how it will be when we gather to celebrate the Holidays. These expectations are often idealized resembling Kodak moments or Hallmark movies. Our real lives never measure up to those images or our sugarcoated memories of years gone by.
What makes the Holidays so difficult especially when we spend so much time, energy and money preparing for it? For some it is because life has been especially tough or lonely. But what about the rest of us? I think our personalities play a big role in these things.
Some types love to party and get together. Other types prefer quiet and calm. Some start early and prepare others wait until the last minute. Some love to be around people, others do not. And, we all want the others to "behave" which really means we want them to do it the way we do it! As family and friends we either try to live up to expectations or face the irritation of those we love. When we spend extended time outside of our preference or in situtations where we are expected to be someone we are not, it creates tension. Lots of it! This is when we are likely to get weary and snappy.
Let's look at Introversion "I" vs. Extraversion "E." For people with a preference for Introversion, the overdose of people is just draining. "I"'s love their family and friends but not all together and all at once. It's people overload. After all, the "I"'s get their energy from being alone. There's usually not much of that at family get-to-gethers and Holiday parties.
For "E"'s, the people and parties are just great. The more the merrier. They get energized by all the people stuff. They cannot understand why their "I" family and friends want to show up late and leave early. The "E"'s want to get there as early as possible and close out the party!
And that's just one element of our personalities.
Was your Christmas all that you hoped? Were there Holiday stresses? Are some relationships out of whack and need help?
An internal team meeting
Susie looked forward to the next planning meeting. She enjoyed the conversation, the interaction and the sharing of ideas.
Jill dreaded the same meeting. It seemed like a waste of time. She never got a word in edge wise, people didn't stay on topic and nothing seemed to really get done!
(Both walk in the room and sit down. Joe welcomes them. Alex and Kent are also present.)
Joe opened the meeting and handed out agendas. First on the list was the upcoming sales event. Joe set the parameters for their brainstorming session and then invited the team to jump in.
Susie: Why don't we pick a unifying theme because...
Alex (interrupts): You always want a theme. (Everyone laughs, Jill just smiles) Let's continue with our annual theme and find a new twist.
Kent: We need to find a way to make it really pop..
Susie: How about bringing in someone famous and...
Joe: It fits the budget. A sports figure might work or ...
Alex: I'm thinking that we need something a little more unique.
The four of them talked non-stop barely taking a breath it seemed. They were laughing and energetic. They talked over each other and interrupted but no one seemed to mind - except Jill.
Joe turned to Jill: What do you think, Jill? You usually have well thought out ideas.
Jill: Well, I think we need to keep the goal for the event in mind before we get too much into the details. After all,...
Kent (interrupts Jill mid-sentence): What do you guys think of really trying something new that reaches both current customers and touches new customers...
Alex: They are different targets. We could..
They were off and running again. To Jill it didn't seem like they cared about her input or ideas. She had some pertinent input as the conversation unfolded but before she could jump in the group discussion had moved three topics ahead.
What's going on in this meeting?
Extroverts think out loud. Interrupting is part of talking to the extrovert. The constant interaction and the interruptions create the energy and stimulate the conversation. Most extroverts don't feel offended by (and most of the time don't even notice) the interruptions. For the extroverts, as they hear their own thoughts and others input, it helps them to refine their thoughts and opinions.
Introverts think on the inside. They plan what they want to say before they say it. They need space in the conversation before they speak. Introverts consider interrupting rude. They don't think out loud and determine their opinions internally. Once these are formulated, they are ready to share. They like to participate in the conversation but need pauses in the interaction and time to think.
Can you relate?
So, which of these two do you prefer? Extroversion and introversion doesn't relate to whether you are a people person or like to talk. It's all about where you get your energy from. For extroverts, their energy comes from the outer world - the people, interaction, conversation and group activities. For introverts, their energy comes from the inner world - thoughts, ideas, silence and alone time.
Decision makers use both their heads and their hearts. For a T, the head rules the heart. For the F, the heart rules the head.
Once I attended a meeting with six people with a preference for T and two with a preference for F. In the general course of the meeting, the differences weren’t too noticeable. Then it happened...
Our conference room looked out on the parking lot. We heard people outside but that was normal. The meeting continued.
Suddenly, two team members stopped, looked outside and were very concerned. They had witnessed a little accident. A dad and his little daughter were practicing her bike riding in the parking lot when she fell off.
We all looked around once we saw the concern on our colleagues’ faces. There was some commotion outside and we heard crying. The little girl had skinned her knee.
The six of us (with a preference for T), after we looked outside, saw that she fell and hurt herself slightly. We all quickly realized she was OK and being helped up by her dad. We turned back to the meeting and were ready to proceed with the topic at hand.
However, not all of us were ready to move on. The other two team members (with a preference for F) were completely absorbed by the scene outside. They were distracted by the girl’s discomfort and were focused on her well-being.
After a while, we all turned back to continue our meeting. I commented on the incident and stated that it was clear who in the room had a preference for T and who had a preference for F.
I really think that F’s are nicer people, don’t you?
Know what I’m talking about? These are two letters describing one of the Myers-Briggs preference pairs: "E" and "I" refer to Extroversion and Introversion. Talkers and quiet people? Maybe. This preference pair actually relates to energy development and maintenance.
Everyone rebuilds and manages their energy. So where do you get your energy from? Extroverts (E’s) get it from the outer world around them. That means people, activity, external stuff. Introverts (I’s) get it from the inner world. That means alone time, reading a book, watching TV, thinking.
After a tiring day, the I wants to go home and be alone to rebuild the energy reserves. The E wants to go out with friends and refill the energy stores through interaction and conversation.
The I doesn’t get the E..."What? More people and conversation? I’m exhausted! I need to curl up with a book." The E doesn’t get the I..."What? Be alone? I need to hang out with friends."
Which one are you? If you’re energy tank is low, do you grab a book or do you grab the phone to connect with friends?