In a previous article, we looked at some of the challenges you may face when trying to organize your workspace, including paper clutter and interruptions. These are external obstacles which are inherent in your work environment. You may not be able to eliminate them, but you will need to take steps to work around them if you are going to be successful in your attempts to have an organized office. Equally important, if not more so, are the internal obstacles, such as personality traits, that may be holding you back.
Although interruptions present as an external challenge, your response to interruptions may vary, depending on your personality type. Individuals with SJ preferences are less likely to become sidetracked from their work by allowing others to encroach on their time, as they are typically more committed to their schedules. If your productivity is hampered because you allow others to interrupt you, you may find it beneficial to set aside a certain period of time each day where you won’t accept any interruptions, provided that your job allows it. Close your office door and let calls go to voice mail. It may take some time for your clients and co-workers to adjust to this change, but you’ll find most will respect your decision and will learn to call or drop by only during certain times. If you are an extravert who is energized by talking to others, be sure to break up your independent work with telephone calls and meetings so you will less tempted to give in to interruptions.
Perceiving types, particularly SP types, may be more prone to distraction than others. Due to multiple demands, it’s not uncommon for even the best time managers to get involved in one task, only to get sidetracked with others. If you’re struggling with this, it may help you to monitor the times that a distraction interfered with your productivity. Make note of the situation, assess the reason that it occurred, and try to come up with some ways that you can cut down on these distractions. You may discover that some of the tasks that are distracting you don’t require your attention at all.
One challenge identified by many is a reluctance to get rid of things, out of a fear that the items will be needed in the future. If you have worked on a project and it is likely that you will be able to use some of the information for future projects, you will want to ensure that it is stored in a way that you can easily locate it when needed, whether it is in paper or electronic format. Dated information, such as catalogues from suppliers and government information sheets, can usually be discarded, as in most cases, the most up-to-date information is available on the Internet.
Others are reluctant to part with things because they feel personally attached to them. This is common among individuals with the Perceiving preference, particularly in combination with the Feeling preference. Although being emotionally attached to articles is usually associated with personal objects such as photographs and other memorabilia, some people like to keep work-related documents as a memento of a project that they enjoyed working on or are particularly proud of. If it is something you can use as a work sample to show prospective clients, or if it will help keep you motivated, it may be worthwhile holding onto, but be careful that you don’t overdo it.
Reading material, especially magazines and journals, is something that tends to accumulate for many people, particularly those with the Perceiving preference. If this is one of your challenges, try reading your magazines with scissors at hand so you can immediately clip any articles you wish to keep and discard the rest. For subscriptions, you should be finished with the current issue before the next one comes in. If you can’t make time in your schedule to stay on top of your subscriptions, consider cancelling them. This will not only reduce clutter, but will save you money!
Overextension is a problem that is common for individuals with the ESxP and xNFP preferences. It’s important that you not try to be everything to everyone, and to take on only as much as your schedule allows. It could be worthwhile for you to check into your own values system when deciding how to spend your time, and to assess whether a task will assist you in furthering your personal or professional goals before agreeing to take it on.
One challenge faced by all personality types is procrastination. It is a popular misconception that only Perceiving types are subject to procrastination but unfortunately, no personality type is immune from it. Regardless of our type, we all tend to procrastinate on tasks that take us outside of our comfort zone. Be sure to watch for an upcoming article about the different forms of procrastination, and the steps you can take to overcome it.