Sunday, August 17, 2014

Planning My Day Around My Meyer-Briggs Type

The last time I officially took the Myers-Briggs test, I was INFP.  I had a career coach through my place of employment one time who was so interested in the Myers-Briggs hat she had a little "sculpture" with her type in four wooden blocks.  She was an E--not surprising given the stereotype of an extrovert as being "outgoing".  

One thing that I recall from taking the Meyrs-Briggs and learning about some of the nuances is that the whole introvert-extrovert question is not just about whether you are outgoing or a wallflower but where you "go to get your recharge."  In other words, after being in a highly externally focused  social setting do I come home exhausted needing just to be alone or with a very small group or do I feel on top of the world.  Do I look to spend my time in groups or do I need alone time?

As I train for a marathon this November, I am finding that I am a little of both.  And it is interesting for me to think about how my energy use and rechraging fits into my daily work schedule and my workout schedule--and whether I could structure my day any better to really facilitate being on top of my game and being "on" whenever I am at work.

One example, last night, I had a reception from 6:30-8:30 (which ended up going from 6:30-9).  I would have expected it to take all my effort to go meet 20+ new students whom I had only met virtually and carry on conversation for 2 hours.  Particularly after earlier in the day having a large meal with family and having--for an hour prior--spoken with two colleagues about a research project.  (Yes, we had a research call from 5:30-6:30 on a Saturday evening).  

When all was said and done it felt completely natural and I was able to carry on conversation with no trouble.  Every one in a while I would go into listening mode, but it didn't happen very often.  And, as I drove home, despite having walked the dog twice, walked from my building to the Inner Harbor with family, eaten a big meal, gone to the grocery store, and done a few other things, I was on top of the world.

Of course, this morning, when I woke up I began the day with 12 miles run in a little over 1:36 by myself and that was recharging too.  Or the other day when I had an afternoon full of exteranlly focused activity but I ran a very strong workout alone on the track in the morning.  

My main lesson is that I am neither pure introvert nor pure extrovert.  Both types of activities can be taxing.  Both can be recharging.  

What I have to think about as I schedule my day is how to balance the down time in small meetings with the need to be totally on as I meet others.  I don't need most of one and little of the other.  What I need is a healthy balance.  Between activities during the day.  From one day to the next.  Even from one week to the next.  

There may be other parts of my Meyrs-Briggs where I don't need so much balance and I just have to be aware rather than using them to think about how I would structure my meetings during the course of the day.

But as the Dean at my school talks about the rhythm of the day and the rhythm of a decision making process, I can think about the rhythm of activities and how it fits or doesn't fit with my needs as defined, in part, by my personality.

That would be a very powerful way to use personality--particularly if an entire office could work together on joint scheduling to optimize the energy use-recharge cycle that this represents.  

Something to ponder--as I take care of business, take care of my family, and take care of myself. I never would have thought I'd think about the work-life-me balance in the context of the I-E dimension of the Meyrs-Briggs personality type but there really might be something there to ponder. 

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