Struggling With Type A

Why aren’t there more hours to a day? Could we please extend the week to nine days? Just think of what we could accomplish. It would be so much easier to get the household chores done, grocery shop, take care of the kids, finish the laundry, work our day jobs, work out, have hobbies, blog endlessly, stay active on social networks and, oh yeah, finish that novel (or novels).  If we had that kind of time we would be so much more effective and we’d be able to set even more goals. Does this sound like you?

You might be struggling with Type A.  First, I must state that I am not a psychologist, nor am I an expert in psychological behavior or theory.  The words you are about to read are in no way based in science, psychology or fact.  Just a little research on the internet.

Since originally published in the 1950’s, The Type A and Type B personality theory, although controversial in the medical and science communities since its publication, still persists as a way of describing personality types.

The general characteristics for Type A include: impatience, taking on numerous tasks, obsessive with time management, competitiveness, intolerance for tardiness, wordiness or anything  they feel is wasting their time, irritability, and a tendency to be a “workaholic.” They are also proactive, ambitious, caring, truthful, and always try to take care of others.

Type B characteristics include: apathy, lacking organization, poor time management and procrastination.  On the positive side they are patient, relaxed, easy going, have little or no stress in their lives and reap the benefits of better health.

The Type A has a constant sense of time urgency.  There is never enough time to complete the monumental task they’ve created for themselves, because there is another waiting to be conquered just around the corner.  When a challenge has been met or perhaps even an award given, the Type A will revel in the moment, celebrate, and then move on to the next big achievement, because perhaps it can top the last.

And speaking of challenges – everything is a challenge.  Conquering challenges and achieving goals helps relieve the insecurities that drive Type A to be the way they are.

The Type A personality is known to successfully handle many tasks at once.  They are usually involved in several unrelated activities while performing all of them well.  After all, failing is not an option.  Restlessness is a common anxiety suffered by the Type A.  If they aren’t doing something, they might feel guilty or become depressed. Life is out there to be lived and Type A has to do it all.

Competitive by nature, Type A personalities often engage in highly competitive sports and/or activities.  While competing against others for that prize or accolade, their fiercest opponent is themselves.  There is always the challenge to be better.  This may be treading into the waters of perfectionism, but I’m proposing that the Type A and the Perfectionist are kissing cousins.

Having said all this, I have to confess – I struggle with Type A. Sometimes I fantasize about sitting on a beach with a cocktail and letting the day lazily slip by, but when I am at the beach, I’m good for about two hours.  Enough relaxation already.  Let’s get something done.

While sitting at the stop light, which seems interminable, my mind is racing with all I have to do for  the next few hours and that usually works its way into the next day. And, damn it, the light has been green for at least ten seconds. Why hasn’t that bozo moved forward yet?

And then there’s the schedule.  Certain things have to be done early in the day and certain things done in the afternoon.  After those are accomplished, there’s the shopping, laundry, and general upkeep of the house.  Oh, and lunch with friends, and then there’s that tennis match, and is it Sunday night? Mad Men is on, but maybe I should TiVo it because chapters seven and eight really need those revisions.  Darn, I did commit to critiquing two chapters for my critique buddy, and I scheduled myself for that weekly blog.

Does this sound familiar?  What’s a Type A to do?  Sometimes we just need to STOP.  After that tennis match, maybe hang around and have lunch with the girls.  What about going to a movie in the middle of the day?  What if we decided to revise chapters seven and eight tomorrow?  Promise to NOT log onto the computer for the entire afternoon.  What about reading one book in its entirety instead of three at a time?   After all, it gets hard to keep the stories straight. Spend time with family just talking. Sometimes after a hard morning of working horses, I just sit and watch them eat grass.  Play with the dogs. Veg.

We need to be kind to ourselves and stop putting endless amounts of pressure on ourselves to constantly achieve.  We need to embrace the Type B lurking somewhere in our psyche.  For me, it’s a daily struggle, but I only have one mind, one body and one life and I want to enjoy it. So, I think I’ll go have that glass of wine and watch the sunset.

But, there’s that next book I wanted to research . . .

14 thoughts on “Struggling With Type A

  1. That is me on occasion–it’s my friends I hang out with who keep me from going overboard. I liked your Rebel Empress post, too–I didn’t know about some of the things you mentioned when I blogged about Elisabeth over at Seduced by History.

    • Hi Angelyn, Good for your friends for keeping you on track! When did you post about Elisabeth on Seduced by History? I’m new to the blog, so I guessed I missed it. I’d love to read it!

  2. Kathy raises her hand and waves it. Type A, right here!

    I appreciate your post because, I’ve always known I’m a Type A personality – just not all the characteristics that were involved. Sadly, as I read, there were only about two that I didn’t see in me.

    I’d like to write more, but I have to go because today I’m rolling out my newest schedule!

  3. You are spot on. I’m such a Type A. The only Type B trait I have is procrastination, which really stresses out my Type A-ness. I drive my husband crazy because I’m no longer able to sit still and watch TV or a movie. I always have to be multitasking-folding clothes, washing dishes, flipping through a magazine, or even checking email while watching something. I’m forcing myself to keep the computer turned off for longer periods of time – except then I remember I can check email on my iPad…

    • Ally, sounds like you’re definately in the club! Procrastination is a weird thing – I think we all do it to some degree. It must be a cross-over! Thanks for the comment!

  4. Great article. I want to ask the other women how much writing do you get done during the day? I schedule my activities out the wazoo, and yet I still feel I’m not doing much if I only type 2000 words. I remind myself Stephen King writes 500 words a day and you know how big his books are. How about it?

    • Thanks, Morgan. 500 words a day is a good goal! For a while I was trying to write 1000 words a day, but life got in the way. Right now I am revising my Historical, so I’m trying to get through two chapters a week. It’s going pretty well so far. About half way there! Good luck in your endeavours!

  5. Hey, Kari. Your website and blog are cool. Had to comment on this topic. I’m so Type A. When our grown daughters (both Bs) have ragged on my husband and me about our workaholicism (is this a word?), I rationalize by telling them we accomplish a lot more than most people. Well, it’s true, but we’re also a little nuts! LOL All the emails from various writing loops have created a huge problem. I feel an obligationi to open and answer them all. (In the old days it was rude not to return every phone call.) Well, I’ve now given myself permission not to open every email and then not to respond to every blog that comes to my attention. It’s a huge deal. Sadly, I still feel the guilt, but it gives me more of my time to write and study the craft. Despite the fact, we type As can multitask, the “studies” are now saying our brains really are more efficient when we focus on one thing. But who in this world can do that? 🙂 Maybe those type Bs. Thanks for a fun post, Kari. I’m through procastinating now and must get on that Margie Lawson packet I’m working through before running to my Pilates class. LOL

    • Hi Marsha! I too participate in several loops and sometimes it gets overwhelming! It’s a really good way to know what’s going on, though. But, we have to make our writing a priority, tough as it can be. Good luck with your Margie packet – they’re fun but a lot of work!

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