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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

More by this author

Francis Wade

Author, Management Consultant

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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