Lost Among Europeans

Deadlines

A few months ago, a friend got me interested in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, and I researched a bit. I didn’t discover anything new about myself, but still I learned something. The test tries to classify people according to four criteria: introvert vs. extrovert, thinking vs. feeling, sensing vs. intuiting, judging vs. perceiving. Judging vs.perceiving has to do with how you like to organize your time. Judgers like schedules, deadlines, and finishing one project before embarking on the next. Perceivers like looseness, enjoy starting projects at any time, and don’t cope well with deadlines.

I assumed that most people would be perceivers, like me, but surprisingly, over 60% are judgers, according to the book I read.

Deadlines, for me, have the opposite effect than they should. They’re meant to help people get things done, and they serve this purpose well, according to my friends who like them. But deadlines are usually attached to tasks that are not enjoyable. Taxes, reports, paperwork. Things that don’t teach you anything, and are simply hurdles that need to be jumped. I tend to delay, but I feel I shouldn’t, and so arrives the problem: the time liberated by not workig on the deadline isn’t taken up by working on an enjoyable project. No, time is splintered into fragments that are too small to immerse oneself in large, enjoyable tasks.

My current job is heavy with deadlines. Have I learned to cope better? No, I don’t think I ever will. “Finish the report by Thursday” lives in the same area of my brain as “Eat your broccoli”, “Sign up for the gym” or “Watch Tarantino’s last movie.”

I do like getting things done, but I subscribe to Ike Eisenhower’s sentence: “Plans are useless. Planning is essential.”

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