Tag Archives: perceiving

Procrastination: the curse of the Perceiver

I’m supposed to be writing a résumé for a customer but instead am sitting at Panera Bread at 8:30 pm checking my e-mail. After I check my e-mail, I’ll go to LinkedIn to see what my connections are up to. Most of my connections are connecting with others, some are posting articles, and others are  joining groups.

So I check if any of the articles are interesting. Cool, one of my connections  posted an article on…procrastination. Gotta check this out for sure. I read it and it’s a great article on how procrastination is not a desirable trait but not the end of the world.

One take-away for me is that one must avoid perfectionism, something I truly detest. I mean, if you can complete a task in one hour rather than three, all the better, even if the quality isn’t the best it possibly can be.

Another statement the author makes is that one’s way of not doing the important thing is to do something else. Like reading instead of completing their expense report before it’s due. In my case it’s perusing my e-mails instead of tending to this darn résumé I’m supposed to be writing.

My daughter recently took the MBTI for a psychology class she’ll be taking. She came out as an ENFP. When she told me, I told her she’s screwed. Why, Perceivers often tend to procrastinate even though they end up getting their work done. My wife and I are still waiting for her to complete a project she could have crossed off the list at the beginning of the summer. She’s a procrastinator for sure.

I often tell my MBTI workshop attendees that two very important dichotomies are Judging and Procrastinating…I mean Perceiving. Although we try to avoid harping on the stereotypes of each dichotomy, it is important to note that those who prefer Perceiving can have the tendency to procrastinate.

What this means in the job search is that Perceivers tend to produce and deliver their résumé, cover letter, and application later than those who prefer Judging. Those Judgers would never be turning to Twitter when they’re supposed to be writing a résumé. In some cases a Perceiver might fail to send in the necessary information and, thus, lose out on a potential interview.

I know for sure that the more demanding and more undesirable the work I have to do, the more I’ll tend to put it off till the 11th hour. I’m not racked with anxiety but, as you can tell, I am a bit uncomfortable having this assignment hanging over my head. So why don’t I just finish writing the résumé now, instead of waiting till the last moment? (Read this article about how difficult it is to “flex” between Perceiving and Judging.”

I’m much better at giving advice than following it. So I tell jobseekers who are having difficulty getting their résumé written to perfection to send in their best work when a deadline is looming. It doesn’t have to be perfect (because perfection doesn’t exist); it’s more important to get it in than miss the deadline.

The Judging types don’t understand this conundrum, as they’re prone to making lists and schedules and following their plans to a T. They wouldn’t be sitting at Panera Bread reading their e-mails and tweets, thinking of ways to avoid writing a darn résumé, wondering if a bagel is in order. No, they would be concerned about getting that résumé done and then ordering a bagel, which they’d eat in good conscience.

For all that’s great about preferring Perceiving, such as spontaneity, adaptability, a laid-back demeanor; it sometimes sucks procrastinating and putting undue anxiety on yourself. Take it from me.

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We have more to talk about than introversion and extraversion

One thing that used to annoy me when my kids were young was when they’d ask me on Monday what we were doing for the upcoming weekend. The reason why this bugged me was because I had no idea what we were going to do, nor did I want to make plans—I wanted to take it as it came. Planning for an upcoming weekend takes a bit of organization and scheduling, none of which floats my boat.

I’ve often proudly stated that I’m an introvert. Now I’m here to tell all that I’m also a very clear perceiver. This explains my aversion to planning and also explains why I’m spontaneous and (in my own mind) exciting. Ergo my annoyance at constantly being asked by my lovely young children what we were going to do every weekend for 15 years.

You’d think that being a perceiver at work can be a detriment, as organization is essential to success. I totally agree that being organized is an essential skill. So I’m also here to tell you that I am organized, I do plan, and I follow a schedule…with intense concentration. Being a perceiver doesn’t mean one can’t practice the traits of a judger, those who are organized, need to plan, and follow a schedule, etc.

As one of the approximately 43% of the population that prefers perceiving, I’m surrounded by colleagues most of whom prefer judging. I envy their natural inclination toward organization, but I wouldn’t want to trade my natural strengths:

Spontaneity: I have the ability to walk into a room and deliver a workshop in hundreds of different ways (an exaggeration). If I’m bored with the presentation, I’ll go in a different direction. Now here’s the rub: on rare occasions my spontaneity will not work as I didn’t plan.

Adaptability: Oh my god, the projector blew a bulb. My manager decided to sit in on a workshop. My colleague is out and I have to take one of her workshops. More people showed up than expected. No problem. This is a great thing about perceivers, we don’t panic; we adapt.

Flexibility: Because I don’t particularly like to plan or live by a schedule—although I do—I love a variety of activities. I love a day when I have to drop working on a project to solve a problem that arrives or attend a meeting with the director of the organization or fill in for a colleague (related to adaptability). I therefore expect others to be flexible when I need some assistance.

Deadline driven: Yes we perceivers like to meet deadlines, but we don’t stress over them and drive others nuts about small details. I internalize deadlines and when they’re prolonged I get mad as hell. The way I see it, if you’re going to give me a deadline and I’m gonna try to meet it, own up to your end of the bargain.

It seems that introversion and extraversion are the only two factors of the eight Myers Briggs Type Indicator factors that people like to talk about, but how one leads one’s life is important to both one’s personal and professional lives. My kids may have been on to something when they constantly badgered me about the upcoming weekends. And I may have made a fool of myself when I veered off course during a workshop. But I’m cool with my preference and don’t mind adopting the preferences of a judger—it makes life interesting.