How to Handle Distress at Work Based on Your Personality Type

Many workplaces are guilty of time management malpractice and thus ignore the destructive effects of what could otherwise be easily resolvable causes. By identifying the sources of your distress at work and your own personal distress type, you can regain control of your productivity.

Researchers have pointed out the fact that in many instances the effects of the distress caused by the inability to manage time (as a result of the 5 Time-Loss Factors) ranked as high as unemployment, divorce, and even death. To flesh out the cause and the related psychological and physiological effects of this distress, we have identified and developed the “The Time Bandit Solution Psychological, Emotional, and Spiritual Top 10 Effects Caused by Interruption-Driven Distress:”

Top 10 Effects of Interruption-Driven Distress

People experiencing time-related distress may feel…

10. Misunderstood by Time Bandits because of their inability to correlate interruptions with time management needs vs. excuses.

9. Unappreciated because their Time Bandits don’t understand that they’re working as hard as they can to complete everything that needs to be done as fast as they can without making mistakes.

8. Confused because they don’t know how to explain or get the Time Bandits to cooperate by helping them eliminate the cause and effects of the 5 Time-Loss Factors.

7. Insecure because of how the 5 Time-Loss Factors impact their productivity results vs. their expectations.

6. Frustrated because they’re misunderstood, unappreciated, confused, and insecure.

5. Low Self-Esteem because of their feeling that someone other than them could do a better job explaining to Time Bandits how and why they need help.

4. Rejected because when they try to explain and ask for any form of respite from interruptions, they are ignored or turned down.

3. Mental and Physical Exhaustion because of the energy-zapping impact they experience during their battle against the 5 Time-Loss Factors.

2. De-motivated because they feel that the Time Bandits don’t care about the 5 Time-Loss Factors and/or anything else that affects their productivity and/or their job satisfaction needs. And finally . . .

1. Hopelessness because they’ve given up thinking that it’s within their power and/or capability to resolve the causes and effects of interruptions.

To bring home to you just how psychologically deleterious the Time Bandits and the related 5 Time-Loss Factors are, we have developed an interruptions-related distress management matrix for the purposes of revealing and differentiating the causes of distress versus the psychological effects of distress.

The object of the matrix is to increase your understanding of how the various causes of distress correlate with effects. First, think about what time-related events happen that leave you feeling distressed. List those causes on the matrix in the space provided. Then, review the list of effects and check off the effects that correlate to each distress cause.

Any of these effects can send your emotional tachometer right into the red zone. As we know from our basic experience with the red zone, it’s a place where you simply don’t want to stay for any length of time because it’s one of the most unproductive places to be on the planet.

What’s Your Distress Type?

We all experience time-related distress, but we don’t all experience distress the same way and for the same reasons. This was brilliantly demonstrated decades ago in research conducted again by Dr. Meyer Friedman, in his popular book, Type A Behavior and Your Heart.

According to Dr. Friedman, Personality Types A and B may suffer from the same causes and effects of time-management pressure, but at markedly different levels and with markedly different reactions. From our own research about time management, we have determined that there is a Type C personality as well.

You are probably most familiar with his Type A Personality, generally perceived as highly productive, aggressive, and intense, which, in turn, can at times subject these types to an increased risk for early heart attacks. In a nutshell, as it pertains to time management, Dr. Friedman’s Type As believe that there is simply never, ever enough time in a day, week, month, or lifetime to do all that needs to get done within given deadlines. As a consequence, they stay revved up to the red zone. They get a lot done, but to the untrained observer they may rarely appear happy and relaxed.

His Type B personalities will look at the same reality — the same tasks, the same deadlines, the same times, and appear to be confident there’s always plenty of time. As a result of this perception, they often take on more than they can possibly accomplish and then struggle with their deadlines as well. Regardless, they usually get as much done as Type As, skip the heart attacks, and seem to lead longer and apparently happier lives.

Type Cs are perfectionists, satisfied with nothing less than absolute excellence — hence never satisfied. To be happy and stress-free, Type Cs must feel that they are extremely organized so that they can achieve total quality control in all they do. To feel completely organized, however, they always need more time. Like Meyer Friedman’s Type As, Type Cs never have enough time.

So, to recap:

● Type As seem to live in almost constant distress that there’s not enough time to get their stuff done.

● Type Cs live in almost constant distress that there’s not enough time to achieve perfection.

● Type Bs, unlike As and Cs, see time as a friend and feel that there’s always plenty of time.

At face value, Types A, B, and C are demonstrably different from one another, but each of them have an approach that might benefit the others where they fail. A Type A’s drive to meet their deadline is crucial for turning work in on time. Type Bs’ even energy allows creativity to flow, and their flow leads to high-quality results. Finally, Type Cs’ perfectionism and eye for detail ensure that thorough work gets done and all key parts of a project are complete by the deadline. Each of these personality types functions well on their own, but it is the synthesis of all of their strengths that produces the best results and is the most effective combatant to time-related distress.

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