Thanks for visiting my blog. Hope you find some helpful hints for organizing your time and space. My passions are to help you make home a refuge instead of a crisis center, and to help you function in peace rather than chaos - at home or at work. I have switched my main blog to 1-2-3 ... Get Organized on WordPress, so please visit me there.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How Personality Style Affects Organizing - Introversion/Extraversion

The other day I had my first appointment with a new organizing client,  - husband and wife. We started out, though, looking at their personality styles - a great choice on their part. As a result, they now have a mutual understanding of each other's preferences, giving them insight into how the other may prefer to declutter and downsize. 

Their new "personality type vocabulary" takes the heat out of differences. They can use this vocabulary to discuss their differences in an objective manner. They can see their individual preferences as just that - preferences. Neither preference is right or wrong - merely different.

Since I am both a Myers-Briggs personality type facilitator and a professional organizer, I thought it might be fun to do a series on how personality affects organizing preferences. Today we'll look at the effects of introversion/extraversion on organizing. 

People who prefer introversion process their information and decisions internally. They like to think about something before talking about it. Even then, it may not occur to them to talk about it. 

People who prefer extraversion process their information and decsions externally. They like to talk while they think. 

An introvert might think an extravert is making decisions when he is merely processing. The extravert may not even verbalize his final conclusion. So you can see how misunderstandings happen: the introvert thinks a decision has been made when it has not. 

An introvert likes to have quiet to be able to think and work. If paired with an extravert who is constantly processing externally, it can be irritating and work-inhibiting.

The introvert may wonder why the extravert can't just work without talking. The extravert may wonder why the introvert doesn't share aloud the process leading to a decision. Many introverts will communicate their conclusions or decisions with no details - just the opposite of extraverts. 

An extravert needs encouragement from others, whereas an introvert is self-motivated and self-reinforcing. Many times introverts don't even think about expressing support for others and must intentionally do so.

An extravert will freely express emotions whereas an introvert will hold them in.

Do you see why we're having problems here!?!

Some applications:

- The introvert needs to say "I'm thinking" to let the extravert know he/she has been heard.

- The extravert needs to give the introvert time to make decisions regarding clutter.

- The introvert needs to be sure to communicate what he/she has been thinking once processing is complete.

- The extravert can draw out the introvert by asking, "What are you thinking in terms of getting rid of this item?"

- The extravert needs to say "I'm processing" so the introvert knows a conclusion or final decision may not have been reached. 

- The introvert can clarify by saying "Is this your conclusion or are you processing?"

- The introvert should applaud the extravert during the decluttering process, especially if the extravert is struggling with it.

- An extravert will easily express emotions regarding the decluttering/organizing process or attachments to possessions, whereas an introvert may not be as verbal. If an introvert's emotions are held in too long, there may be an eruption - tears, anger, etc. An extravert can try to draw out some of those emotions before an eruption occurs. 

- If the decluttering/organization process has become too emotional or exhausting, take a break. The extravert should look for such signs in the introvert, who may not readily express them. I recommend around three hours at a time, especially if you are downsizing. Studies have shown that next to losing a spouse, downsizing from a long-time home is the most tramatic experience you can go through. 

- An extravert may prefer decluttering and organizing with a professional organizer or another person.

- An introvert may prefer decluttering and organizing alone once he/she has learned the process. 

Now wasn't that fun?

More on decluttering/downsizing:
Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence
Three Steps to Decluttering
Three Steps to Becoming a Downsizing Professional