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Why You Need to Understand and Accept Your Productive Type A Tendencies

Why You Need to Understand and Accept Your Productive Type A Tendencies

Are Type A tendencies all bad? If you have ever been accused of having a Type A personality you may cringe at the memory. However, there is good news. Fresh research shows there are a few traits you may want to adopt, even if you are not a classic Type A, if you hope to be hyper-productive.

Being called a Type A personality is usually not a compliment. After all, the term was coined in the 1950s by two cardiologists, Drs. Meyer Friedman and Ray Rosenman, who were pooling the traits shared by their cardiac patients, inspired by the nervous energy displayed in their waiting rooms. (They wore out the seats in the same impatient way.) These doctors noticed this and other similarities and together forged a breakthrough hypothesis for leading indicators of the disease.

However, there’s a new interpretation on the scene. The simplistic link between Type A behaviors and cardiac arrest has been shaken and a more nuanced picture has emerged. It’s simply the difference between causation and correlation – just because people who have a disease tend to drive cars, for example, doesn’t mean that driving a car causes the disease.

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There is actually a kind of Type A Behavior that is positive, while many others remain negative. Based on my review of the latest research literature, I have broken down and re-grouped these behaviors into three typical personalities so they can be more clearly understood, separated and managed.

Negative Traits

Type A Emotives
These are anxious, impatient people who display a certain hostility when they don’t get their way in life. They often experience high stress which affects the lives others: the kind of negativity which leads to the cardiac issues Friedman and Rosenman were looking for.

Many have ulcers, chew their food too fast and spend a lot of time shouting angrily in order to “motivate” others. They are easy to recognize (and avoid) but don’t see any problem with their way of doing business. Of course, they often pay the price.

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Type A Competitives
These obnoxious types are often bullies who induce stress in other people. Winning is most important to them– oftentimes, no matter what. They believe that “losers” are to be avoided. They love to keep score in public so that others can know how well they are doing.

These types rise quickly in companies, but often lose out when they continue to compete with their own subordinates even after they have “arrived.” The teamwork that’s so critical to success eludes them, which is why they often indulge in triathlons, marathons and other extreme, individual sports. Even when there is no competition, they’ll create one.

Positive Traits

Type A Productives

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These are time-conscious individuals who tend to be highly organized. They drive themselves hard, often ignoring their discomfort in order to produce results. Over-commitment is a reality as they believe in their power to adapt… with their high energy, they usually do so effectively. They are improvement-minded and are always looking for ways to get better using the latest technology and ideas — whatever may help them finish quickly… assignments, long articles and other people’s sentences.

While the definitions of these three types were originally bundled into a single whole, it’s better for us to understand them separately. Doing so allows us to accept and nurture our Type A Productive side while managing and mitigating our tendency to engage in the other two traits.

The fact is, Type A’s teach themselves to be as productive as they develop, starting in their teens when they begin seeing their efficiency as a tool to accomplish results. It’s the reason they love self-improvement opportunities: these are all the better for expanding their capacity to deliver in all areas of life.

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Of the three styles, Type A Productives run the highest risk of being misunderstood. The reason? They usually have at least a small slice of the two negative types as well, causing other to dismiss their attempts to be more productive. Unfortunately, the baby (high productivity) is often thrown out with the bathwater (stressful competitiveness).

If you have even a few Type A tendencies you don’t need lose the support and admiration of others. Keep on pushing for hero-level productivity, even as you amp up your interpersonal skills. Take the accusation of being a Type A personality for what it can be… a compliment.

Featured photo credit: imcreator.com via imcreator.com

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Francis Wade

Author, Management Consultant

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

How to Prevent Decision Fatigue From Clouding Your Judgement

What is decision fatigue? Let me explain this with an example:

When determining a court ruling, there are many factors that contribute to their final verdict. You probably assume that the judge’s decision is influenced solely by the nature of the crime committed or the particular laws that were broken. While this is completely valid, there is an even greater influential factor that dictates the judge’s decision: the time of day.

In 2012, a research team from Columbia University[1] examined 1,112 court rulings set in place by a Parole Board Judge over a 10 month period. The judge would have to determine whether the individuals in question would be released from prison on parole, or a change in the parole terms.

While the facts of the case often take precedence in decision making, the judges mental state had an alarming influence on their verdict.

As the day goes on, the chance of a favorable ruling drops:

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    Image source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

    Does the time of day, or the judges level of hunger really contribute that greatly to their decision making? Yes, it does.

    The research went on to show that at the start of the day the likelihood of the judging giving out a favorable ruling was somewhere around 65%.

    But as the morning dragged on, the judge became fatigued and drained from making decision after decision. As more time went on, the odds of receiving a favorable ruling decreased steadily until it was whittled down to zero.

    However, right after their lunch break, the judge would return to the courtroom feeling refreshed and recharged. Energized by their second wind, their leniency skyrockets back up to a whopping 65%. And again, as the day drags on to its finish, the favorable rulings slowly diminish along with the judge’s spirits.

    This is no coincidence. According to the carefully recorded research, this was true for all 1,112 cases. The severity of the crime didn’t matter. Whether it was rape, murder, theft, or embezzlement, the criminal was more likely to get a favorable ruling either early in the morning, or after the judges lunch break.

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    Are You Suffering from Decision Fatigue Too?

    We all suffer from decision fatigue without even realizing it.

    Perhaps you aren’t a judge with the fate of an individual’s life at your disposal, but the daily decisions you make for yourself could hinder you if you’re not in the right head-space.

    Regardless of how energetic you feel (as I imagine it is somehow caffeine induced anyway), you will still experience decision fatigue. Just like every other muscle, your brain gets tired after periods of overuse, pumping out one decision after the next. It needs a chance to rest in order to function at a productive rate.

    The Detrimental Consequences of Decision Fatigue

    When you are in a position such as a Judge, you can’t afford to let your mental state dictate your decision making; but it still does. According to George Lowenstein, an American educator and economy expert, decision fatigue is to blame for poor decision making among members of high office. The disastrous level of failure among these individuals to control their impulses could be directly related to their day to day stresses at work and their private life.

    When you’re just too tired to think, you stop caring. And once you get careless, that’s when you need to worry. Decision fatigue can contribute to a number of issues such as impulse shopping (guilty), poor decision making at work, and poor decision making with after work relationships. You know what I’m talking about. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink.

    How to Make Decision Effectively

    Either alter the time of decision making to when your mind is the most fresh, or limit the number of decisions to be made. Try utilizing the following hacks for more effective decision making.

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    1. Make Your Most Important Decisions within the First 3 Hours

    You want to make decisions at your peak performance, so either first thing in the morning, or right after a break.

    Research has actually shown that you are the most productive for the first 3 hours[2] of your day. Utilize this time! Don’t waste it on trivial decisions such as what to wear, or mindlessly scrolling through social media.

    Instead, use this time to tweak your game plan. What do you want to accomplish? What can you improve? What steps do you need to take to reach these goals?

    2. Form Habits to Reduce Decision Making

    You don’t have to choose all the time.

    Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t have to be an extravagant spread every morning. Make a habit out of eating a similar or quick breakfast, and cut that step of your morning out of the way. Can’t decide what to wear? Pick the first thing that catches your eye. We both know that after 20 minutes of changing outfits you’ll just go with the first thing anyway.

    Powerful individuals such as Steve Jobs, Barack Obama, and Mark Zuckerberg don’t waste their precious time deciding what to wear. In fact, they have been known to limiting their outfits down to two options in order to reduce their daily decision making.

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    3. Take Frequent Breaks for a Clearer Mind

    You are at your peak of productivity after a break, so to reap the benefits, you need to take lots of breaks! I know, what a sacrifice. If judges make better decisions in the morning and after their lunch break, then so will you.

    The reason for this is because the belly is now full, and the hunger is gone. Roy Baumeister, Florida State University social psychologist[3] had found that low-glucose levels take a negative toll on decision making. By taking a break to replenish your glucose levels, you will be able to focus better and improve your decision making abilities.

    Even if you aren’t hungry, little breaks are still necessary to let your mind refresh, and come back being able to think more clearly.

    Structure your break times. Decide beforehand when you will take breaks, and eat energy sustaining snacks so that your energy level doesn’t drop too low. The time you “lose” during your breaks will be made up in the end, as your productivity will increase after each break.

    So instead of slogging through your day, letting your mind deteriorate and fall victim to the daily abuses of decision making, take a break, eat a snack. Let your mind refresh and reset, and jump-start your productivity throughout the day.

    More Tips About Decision Making

    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

    Reference

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