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.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

How Personality Style Affects Organizing - Thinking/Feeling


This is the third in a series about personality type and organizing. As a facilitator for Myers-Briggs personality type and as a professional organizer, I often see the effects of personality type in the way my organizing clients like to organize. It also explains some conflicts when people try to organize together!

Today we're going to look at how people make decisions - a huge part of decluttering and downsizing. People take the information they have gathered through sensing or intuition (see the previous post in this series) and then need to make decisions about that information. This is done either based on objective fact (thinking) or based on values and/or how the decision will affect people (feeling). 

We use both thinking and feeling. Your preference is just that - your preference as to whether you use thinking or feeling most often. If you base your decisions on logic or objective fact, it doesn't mean you don't feel. And if you base your decisions on values and how your decisions will affect others, it doesn't mean you don't think.

Can you see the conflict brewing? Let's take Mary and John. Mary trusts her rational analysis and impersonal logic and wants to get rid of the doilies Aunt Trudy made for them as a wedding present.  They don't use them and the doilies don't really go with their decor. 

John thinks about how Aunt Trudy will feel if she discovers they got rid of the doilies after all the work she put into them. And he's picturing how nice it would be to pass them on to their children someday as heirlooms. 

Two different perspectives, neither wrong or right. Just different.

John may feel that Mary is too blunt or even harsh when making decisions based on thinking. Mary, on the other hand, may feel that John is being irrational or too sentimental when making decisions based on feeling.

Uppermost in Mary's mind is fairness. Combined with bluntness, it can come across as cold and unfeeling. Harmony is uppermost in John's mind. He is very compassionate and diplomatic. Can you see how John could give in to Mary just for the sake of harmony, when he really doesn't agree with her opinion? 

However, if Mary crosses a values line with John, he may come out fighting, which is surprising to all since he is normally so bent on harmony. 

- The person who prefers thinking needs to realize that logic, analysis and objective fact may not be the only factors upon which to base a decision.
- The person preferring thinking needs to understand that it's okay to love a possession or be attached to it.
- The person who prefers feeling must realize that just because a special person gave a gift, the gift doesn't need to be kept. That person will still be special whether or not the gift is kept.
- The person preferring feeling needs to understand that in order to downsize or declutter, discarding some sentimental items may need to take place.
- The person preferring thinking needs to try to be diplomatic and compassionate when sorting with a person who prefers feeling.
- The person who prefers feeling needs to try to be objective and logical when sorting - whether alone, with a person who prefers thinking and especially with another person who prefers feeling.
- Both types need to communicate honestly so that both views and opinions are heard. They need to realize that they make a good team - looking at both sides of a decision before making it.
- If necessary, work out a deal with one another that is a win-win for both parties. 
- If a person has trouble letting go of a treasured possession, he/she could take a picture of it or give it to someone who will treasure it, too.  The treasured item can even be visited on occasion.

More on personality and organizing:

How Personality Style Affects Organizing - Introversion/Extraversion

How Personality Style Affects Organizing - Sensing/Intuition

Overwhelmed by Unfinished Projects?

Three Steps to Downsizing to a Smaller Residence