No matter what kind of personality test you take, there’s always a Type A. And those who aren’t type A can sometimes look longingly over the fence and wish they had the same kind of inborn motivation, a natural desire to get things done. If this jealousy didn’t exist, self-help and productivity books wouldn’t sell as well as they do and people like Stephen Covey would be out of a job.
But I think there can be a dark side to every personality type and I’m realizing the wisdom in examining my own type A weaknesses. Possessing a natural motivation to get things done isn’t inherently righteous. If I’m not careful it can become a breeding ground for pride but also for anxiety. Let me explain that one.
I used to salivate over productivity books. They really appealed to me. They still do. The itch to do more things in less time received a satisfying scratch whenever I saw book titles with words like ‘get things done’, ‘efficient’, ‘ to-do’, and ‘stop procrastinating’. It didn’t really matter who wrote it or how the information was presented. It could be a book, a YouTube video or a magazine article. If it had the magic words, I would be drawn like the proverbial moth to a flame.
Why do they appeal to me? I think it’s because they offer a promise. A promise of peace and control. A promise of a kind of machine like smoothness and efficiency to life. If only I implemented this or that system, my life could run like a fine tuned Swiss timepiece. Now there’s nothing wrong with getting things done. Work is good and Scripture tells us we should work as unto the Lord and redeem the time. But working as unto myself is not good. What’s the difference? I can feel the difference in my spirit. It’s like everything is dependent on me. I feel agitated and rushed as if there’s some looming deadline. I feel controlled by time and set up unrealistic expectations as to how much I should be able to get done in one day. Then I end my day by placing myself under the microscope, hoping for a passing grade.
But this is all idolatry. I’m allowing the clock and my flesh to be my master, not the Lord. I’m using my checklist to validate my existence. I’m certainly not abounding in thanksgiving as God desires me to be. In using any productivity system, I am tempted to believe I have more control than I really do and look to the system and my ability to perform the system to give me peace and fulfillment.
Like I said above – there is nothing wrong with wanting to be more organized with your time and desiring to be more productive. But for this Type A woman, this upholder kind of gal, all those systems tempt me in the wrong direction.
What do you think?