I just read this article on HuffPost Healthy Living, and it all-too-quickly reminded me of my past. You see, I am a recovering Type A personality. It's something I'll never truly leave behind because it's such a part of me. But I proactively choose to mitigate these issues in my life now. Having read their list of "11 Things Every 'Type A' Person Wants You To Know," I would like to offer the following:
5 Easy Changes Every 'Type A' Person Can Make to Enjoy Life More
1. Be present.
You like to be efficient and to avoid wasting time. This is a fantastic trait! Nobody should waste a single moment of life, because none of us knows how many moments we have left. However, it is indeed a very rare Type A person -- a unicorn of a person in fact -- who doesn't consider being to be a waste of time. Type A personalities must be doing something at all times so as to feel productive. But those same Type A personalities can do amazing things by simply being.
Sitting still and watching the world turn allows the mind and body to relax, which in turn allows for greater and more efficient productivity in the longterm. Running around like a headless chicken to complete tasks at a frenzied pace does not indicate productivity, nor anything resembling efficiency. Relax, be present, and simply be for a few moments every day. Those moments will clarify your thoughts and allow you to truly be and feel efficient and productive, without the added stress.
2. Fill your to-do List with life, not just tasks.
To-do lists are wonderful to have! But to live and die by them is a waste of your energy. Make a to-do list for yourself that includes life moments, not simply tasks. Include meditation, a slow stroll through the neighborhood with your dog or your partner, a designated timeframe to read something other than your emails/Facebook feed/Twitter feed.
Include these moments for you to relax in your to-do list, and eventually you will learn to include them without having to write them down. You will make them a daily part of your life, with the to-do list controlling less of your time and instead merely serving as a guideline for projects.
3. Take off the blinders.
You always aim for a goal, an accomplishment at the end of the tunnel. But those end-goals are actually distracting you. They are dominating your focus and taking your thoughts away from the process until you arrive there. Those are moments, days, maybe even years of your life that you are glazing over en route to the finish line.
You know the cliche: Life isn't about the destination, it's about the journey. Think about what that really means. Life's destination is death. If you're focused on your destination, you're missing out on the entirety of life. Don't miss your own life.
4. Stop wasting time in the past.
You're constantly overanalyzing and rehashing situations in your mind. You know what that does? Nothing. It accomplishes absolutely nothing except wasting time - which is precisely what you loathe! So let's all take a minute and agree that going over and over that conversation in our heads hours or days after it's already happened won't actually change the conversation. What's done is done.
The best thing you can do is catch yourself as you start slipping down that slope and refocus your thoughts on something more positive. Focus on where you are in that very moment, because going backwards is certainly a waste of time. Proactively choose to be positive and your thoughts will soon follow on their own. You will find yourself ruminating less, feeling negative about the worst-case scenario less, and being less stressed in general.
5. Don't be perfect. Enjoy perfect moments.
You're emotional and nervous -- even a bit neurotic. But these emotions can be used to make you even more productive. Did you know that? These aren't negative drawbacks to your personality -- think of how much energy you can derive from your emotions! You love your friends and family so fiercely and know that they deserve nothing less than perfection.
Use that devotion in your daily interactions with them. They don't need the most perfectly planned and executed birthday party once a year -- they need a perfect hug every day. And a perfect moment shared as you laugh at the same joke. And perfect memories made as you grow together, learn together, and love together. They don't need you to be perfect. Those people you love so fiercely just need to spend perfect everyday moments with you. That wonderful Type A you.
I know what you're thinking: "I can't just change who I am!" But I disagree. I once did all of those stereotypically Type A things -- the epitome of a perfectionist who always needed to do more. My personality now reflects my daily choices. I now choose to be present, and to ignore my to-do list when something better comes along. I choose to enjoy the ride and to forget about the past. I choose to relish in perfectly mundane moments with those I love. And when I slip up and find myself stressing out or focusing too much with blinders on, I actively choose to stop myself and to reevaluate. I am not perfect and I never will be. But I am thoroughly enjoying every moment my imperfectly perfect life.
Amanda Walkins is a freelance writer currently based on the Caribbean island of Roatan. She is a recovering Type A personality who finds Island Time to be the ideal way of life. She blogs about her accidental expat life at www.amandawalkins.com.