These people are plagued by a sense of time-urgency, hostility and often misdirected anger, poor organizational skills and a tendency to take on multiple tasks simultaneously. Type A people often strive for perfection in everything, which often leads to doing many things poorly instead of doing a few things perfectly. When things do not go as planned or are imperfect, Type As tend to take it personally which contributes to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. The other result is a person who, although they accomplish all of their goals and complete them with high quality, neglect the other areas of their life. This can lead to feeling unfulfilled, lonely and depressed.
- They hate the idea of wasting time so they do things the moment they come to mind. They always have too much to do and not enough time to do it
- What MUST be done?
- What would actually happen if some of the things on your list didn’t get done?
- They have trouble understanding the stupidity of others. They don’t believe themselves to necessarily be exceptionally gifted, but believe that “If you want it done right, you need to do it yourself.”
- What things can you delegate?
- What is the worst thing that will happen if it doesn’t get done the way you want it done?
- They often become passionate about things they do. All of the things they do. This is why they often start getting irritable. Everything is important and it is impossible to get everything done.
- Make a list of the important things in your life and prioritize them so you can have laser focus on one or two of your passions.
For example, I am passionate about animal rescue, gardening, working out, being a mother and teaching. I cannot possibly do all of those things whole heartedly at the same time. I have to prioritize. I do more animal rescue in the spring during kitten and puppy season because my garden needs less attention. I do more teaching and writing over the winter when I do not want to be outside in the garden. I focus on my gardening from June to September.
- Because they are so passionate, and because true success takes patience, any sort of early failure easily discourages them.
How can you pace yourself so you don’t run out of gas half way into the project?
How can you deal with failure in a way that helps you grow and be even more successful at the task?
- They’re prone to stressing and being irritable. They do their best to see into the future and can’t shake the fact that things can always go wrong. Since they are passionate about what they do, this make them dread that ever possible and looming, crappy outcome.
When you start worrying about the future, identify what you are worried about, the facts for and against that belief and whether that outcome is likely and probable or a one in a million chance. (Is it worth getting worried about a one in a million chance?)
What things can you do to make sure that you have done everything you can to ensure the success of the task? (Once you have done that, there is nothing more you can do.)
- Although they know they should take more time to relax, they don’t find it appealing – plus, they simply can’t find the time. They feel most at home working and doing their thing. It’s difficult for them to understand that getting away and slowing down is in their best interest.
Try an experiment. For one month, pick a day each week to relax and unwind. Try to do a whole day, but if you just can’t manage it, do 8 hours. Plan on doing something fun with friends, or just vegging out with a good book. Write in your journal how you felt at the end of that day. Also write in your journal how you feel the next day. (I usually feel more energized and excited to go to work if I took a day off). Many times relaxation helps you recharge, unblock your creativity and remember all of the other things that are important in your life.
- They love sleeping, (being passionate about a bunch of things all the time is exhausting) but have trouble stopping their thoughts from racing.
- Review the section on sleep and start developing a sleep routine.
- Incorporate 30 minutes or an hour of non-work, non-task related activity that can help you get out of the traffic of your mind. (I play scrabble/words with friends or watch television and crochet)
- When you notice your mind start to race, write what you are thinking about on a note pad so you can tend to it the next day.
- Avoid naps. They will disrupt your circadian rhythms.
- For Type A’s, things always need to be done. They are able to focus intently and block out the rest of reality. They call it getting into their “zone.” Unfortunately when someone dares interrupt the zone, they are usually in for a tongue lashing. This can cause problems in interpersonal relationships.
- How can you let people know you are in your zone and not to be disturbed?
- How can you schedule your “in the zone” times to mesh with the schedules of other people in the household? For example, my “in the zone” time is from about 6am-1pm. I try to avoid appointments during this time. I spend time with my family after 2pm. Likewise, when I am working out, I am in my little zone. I have my headphones on and my family knows that I shouldn’t be disturbed unless it is an emergency.
- Doing things efficiently is their first priority—spending as little time getting as much quality work done as humanly possible.
- Efficiency is great, but you miss a lot of things. What would happen if you took a more relaxed pace. I am the queen of multitasking, but that also means I often miss out on subtle issues and appreciating the moment.
- They’re perfectionists. It’s not that they are trying to be perfect, but blemishes, mistakes and inconsistencies frustrate them. They find them ugly and appalling.
- There is a point of diminishing returns. Somethings you want to be completely perfect, but for most things nothing would change if they were slightly imperfect. You only have so much time. Is it worth all the time for re-proof a report multiple times to make sure there is not a comma out of place?
- The person who graduates medical school with a C average is still called doctor.
- They make plans, lots of plans. If you want to achieve something, then Type A's only find it logical that you should know how to get there. So they make plans. Unfortunately, making plans isn’t always efficient. Unfortunately, making plans isn’t always efficient because they take a lot of time to create and often need to be adjusted (or scrapped). Since Type As like plans and structure, when things don’t go as planned it greatly increases their stress.
- Before doing something, think about what you want the end goal to be.
- If things go wonky, be willing to drop back and punt. Getting upset will only drain precious energy.
- They have a tendency to cut others off in conversation — not to be rude, but to be right. What’s the point of letting them yammer on with some nonsense when you can just tell them the way it really is, and then you can both move on with your lives, right?
- Practice active listening
- Try to think about how they could also be right
- Remember that assertive communication means recognizing that everyone’s thoughts and feelings can be valid.
- They believe that always having a plan for the worst-case scenario is a necessity. What’s the worst possible thing that you can possibly imagine happening to you? Losing your job? Your dog getting run over by a car? Cancer? Armageddon? Yup, they have a plan for that.
- Practice mindfulness. Focus on what you have in the present, not all the things that could go wrong.
- Identify which parts you have control over
- Use your energy purposefully to protect and care for what is most important to you. Once you have done your part, it is up to the powers that be.
- They walk fast and with a purpose, doing all they can to avoid lines of any sort. To them, walking is getting from point A to point B in order to do what needs to be done at point B as soon as possible so that they can move on to point C. If you’re out for a leisurely walk, then find a park.
- Slow down! Try to focus your senses to notice what is going on around you. The smell of spring, cute squirrels playing tag, a cool breeze… whatever it is that makes you happy.
- “It isn’t about the breaths you take, but the moments that take your breath away.”
- There will always be more stuff on your to do list. Realistically, in what ways will slowing down cause you harm?
To overcome this time-management style, you often have to first look for the motivation behind your behavior.
- Why do you have to be “superhuman” or “perfect?”
Often times, you are either seeking approval or running from some other source of anxiety or frustration.
- From whom are you trying to get approval?
- What happens if you are compassionate with yourself and approve of yourself?
The next step is to begin dealing with the fears/anxiety underlying the hostility. If you are not perfect, the most efficient, always in control or always doing something “purposeful,” how could that lead to…
- How can you deal with that?
- How can you deal with that?
- The unknown/loss of control
- How can you deal with that?
You already did a similar exercise earlier in the book. If you need help identifying how to deal with these fears, review Activity 15.