Seven To-Do List Tips using the Perceiving MBTI preference

If you have the MBTI Perceiving preference you often find To Do lists hard…to do.

You can do To Do lists better. Try these tips:

1. Get Curious

Ask ‘what’s engaging my curiosity within this To-Do list? If you follow the items that most speak to your interest, you’ll enjoy what you’re doing more, which makes you more effective.

2. Quality Counts (How > What)

Place a new column next to your To-Do items that says ‘quality’. Write down how you’d like to complete a task, not just the quantity of tasks. For example, ‘file my receipts playfully’ or ‘gracefully’, ‘exuberantly’, or ‘pretending I’m a musical robot’, whatever quality will get you interested in a looming mundane task. We all want a richer quality of life, and that can start with this moment by placing ‘process’ on the same level of importance as ‘product’.

3. Don’t Use Them If You Don’t Want To

To Do lists may go against your grain. You may struggle with them, thinking you ‘should’ use them, only ‘highly effective people’ use them. Well, it may be a good time to let the war inside be over on this one. People who prefer perceiving would leave doors of opportunity open rather than finishing and closing one. The very idea of completing a To Do list, as much as you may long for it to be otherwise, goes against your nature. You don’t have to use them –  I won’t tell anyone.

4. Use the Small Size Tool

There are times when the pain of a task sitting there for a prolonged period of time undone is greater than the pain of following a To Do list. Compose To Do lists task by task, breaking them down into really small chunks. Remember this is just a tool in your tool box; the list exists to serve you and your productivity, not the other way around. Use a prioritized, uncluttered doable list to complete a necessary task and then put the To Do list away.

5. Free Time Each Day

Give yourself some time each day during which you are guided by your natural inquisitiveness, free from a To Do list. This will feed your perceiving preference, and will allow you to be more comfortable when you do live in the land of the To Do list.

6. Take the Weekend Off 

If by the weekend you’re ‘To-Do Listed out’, you can be courageous and declare a ‘To Do’ list-free day or days. Allow yourself to amble out into the world in the unstructured way that best suits you. If you live each day all day by a To Do list, you’re going to end up drained, edgy, and dissatisfied because it’s going against your preference. If you find you enjoy your ‘To-Do List-free’ weekend move the concept out into parts of your work week.

7. Play with Judging 

If you’re feeling playful, want to stretch, and want to grow– Use a To Do list in a case where you wouldn’t ordinarily think of using one, give yourself a time limit and get the task done. If it’s a repetitive task, time yourself and see if you can maximize your efficiency. Tick your tasks off one by one in the most satisfying way you can. If you find yourself delighted by your productivity and feel lighter from having gotten a task or two off your back, you now know the joy of judging. You could even finish a task early, well before it’s due. Try something new and see how the other half live.

Bonus Tip: What Works For You?

There are really helpful universal hints to putting together an effective To-Do list (such as ‘small bite that can be taken in one sitting, physical action taken by you,’ etc.) that are well chronicled elsewhere. Keep your preferences in mind when working with that material. Many time management books and trainings could be more effective if they incorporated more information that appeals to perceivers. If the blanket advice is just to live a judging life with more organization, then roughly half of the population is being asked to live a life that’s not them at their best. Conversely, being told to ‘move with the cheese’ when change happens or to ‘play’ while at work will only really speak to the half of the population who are perceivers, and does a disservice to judging people. Filter the suggestions in this and all articles through your natural preferences. Act on what you’re excited about, and leave behind what leaves you unmoved.

Learn more: MBTI Team Quest - Discover and leverage the various ways your people make decisions, strategize and access information, using this organizational standard. Team members begin to recognize the strengths that other types bring to the team, and the power that comes from multiple types working together.

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