Sunday, February 18, 2018

Productivity, MBTI, and plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose

 Xykademiqz's interesting post on her MBTI type has me thinking about how personality or certain traits or however you want to define it affects how we work.

It turns out that we're the same type (INTP), and boy howdy, did her post resonate with how I approach planning. I'm looking forward to her next post on the subject and to participating in the comments.

Here's a link to the test she posted https://www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test and my result (at right). I first took the official version of test on paper years ago as a process of figuring out job search strategies or something and then took it online a few times. Have I changed over the years?  Uh, nope.

As I mentioned over at her place, something about planning (is it on the P scale of the test?) makes this type feel trapped. That doesn't apply to work--I can lay out a course, a class, an admin task, etc. and follow through just fine--but to plan out life stuff (especially writing) in this way just doesn't work.

An example: I had a friend once who claimed that she planned out her dinners a whole year in advance. She claimed that this gave her great peace of mind. (Teddy Roosevelt was apparently like this: he would write papers or speeches months in advance and never think about it again.)

To me, planning dinners like this seemed bonkers, and it made me itch just to think about it. How would you know whether the asparagus was good that week? What if you didn't want to eat tuna casserole on a Friday six months hence? I've tried this kind of planning for even a week a few times, and I always rebel and switch up the days. There's nothing like knowing that you have to do something to make you rebel against doing it.

And that, right there, is why those posts about making lovely little check boxes that xykademiqz links to and making a timetable for something like writing is so tough to do. I can admire it, but I can't really do it. The most I can do is to draw a line down the right-hand margin of my little black book and list a few tasks that I hope I can get through that day.


Here's another visual aid about how I start writing: watch Ed Norton (Art Carney) as he sits down to play the piano. Yeah, that's me.

5 comments:

xykademiqz said...

To me, planning dinners like this seemed bonkers, and it made me itch just to think about it. How would you know whether the asparagus was good that week? What if you didn't want to eat tuna casserole on a Friday six months hence? I've tried this kind of planning for even a week a few times, and I always rebel and switch up the days. There's nothing like knowing that you have to do something to make you rebel against doing it.

I could kiss you for this paragraph. This is definitely me.

Fretful Porpentine said...

OMG. I was starting to think that I was the only P-type in all of academia, because everybody else seems to be a J, and worse, to think there is some sort of virtue in it.

xykademiqz said...

I was starting to think that I was the only P-type in all of academia

I've been thinking that, too. Certainly every single female colleague IRL is very traditionally organized (adherence to lists, plans, the works). I have always felt like a freak because, on the outside, how I operate must seem completely nuts to someone who's very structure oriented, and they are a definite majority in my neck of academia.

Fretful Porpentine said...

I feel fortunate that my undergrad Victorian lit professor was a cheerfully disorganized hippie type. She was the only female faculty member I knew who I could imagine being, even though I admired many of the others.

Undine said...

xykademiqz and fretful porpentine--we really are sisters under the skin.