A ‘Type A’ Approach to Balance

April 22, 2019

How to balance creativity, spontaneity, and thoughtful planning as a ‘Type A’ or ‘OCD-leaning’ person.

Strategic thinking and planning and project management typically lend themselves to the ‘A’ personality type.  That is if you subscribe to the Type A, Type B hypothesis that is decades old and has received some criticism.  The Type A and Type B personality hypothesis describe two contrasting personality types. In this hypothesis, personalities that are more competitive, highly organized, ambitious, impatient, highly aware of time management and/or aggressive are labeled Type A, while more relaxed, less ‘neurotic’, ‘frantic’, ‘explainable’, personalities are labeled Type B.

I’m fortunate to have a network of both types and while I appreciate an organized and thoughtfully executed life, I have profound respect and admiration for creative, passionate people who are comfortable taking things as they come and sometimes flying by the seat of their pants.

A balanced life requires organization and creativity, planning and spontaneity, careful consideration and risk-taking.  Practicing yoga has taught me a lot about balance, and not just balancing the body but sometimes, more importantly, balancing the mind and the soul.  My ‘type a’ approach to life can sometimes be a hindrance.  When it comes to my health and wellness, I have a hard time seizing whatever time is available for self-care and often fixate on being able to plan on the days and hours I’ll go to the gym or sit in silence to meditate.

Ideally, I would like to run three times a week and practice yoga every other day.  When I miss my first run of the week because I have to work late, I’m inclined to say, “to heck with it” and let the rest of the week pass without getting a run in.  Instead of trying to achieve a perfect formula for exercise, I realized I need to simply do what I can when I can and not worry about the schedule or the symmetry of things.  If I run on Tuesday and Wednesday because there’s time, instead of Monday, Wednesday and Friday – I still got out there, I still got to log some miles.

My ‘type a’ brain is wired for schedule and symmetry though.  A less critical example is with movies, I can’t tell you how many terrible movies I’ve watched simply because I struggle to start something and not finish it.  Well, type a’s – life is too short for bad movies!  It’s ok to turn them off and go for a run – maybe that wasn’t the plan but sometimes abandoning the original plan just creates space for a better one.

For the creative and spontaneous project starters out there, don’t stop!  If you have a long list of unfinished projects don’t let yourself feel discouraged, because the world needs you and all of your brilliant projects and creative efforts, you are part of the balance equation.

These are opportunities for us to help one another.  If you’re a starter, you may have the inspiration a finisher needs to get going on the next something great.  If you’re a finisher (like I am) you have the tools and techniques to help starters finish things.  The outcome on either side is more amazing, completed work for the world to enjoy.  Let’s come together to create amazing things!

If you aren’t sure of your personality type, or just enjoy personality tests, check out this quick A/B personality test.