As we gather information, make decisions, and deal with others in matters connected with our leisure, the personality types manage time in very different ways. This is probably the most obvious difference in the types. Extraverts manage their time so they can be in contact with others. Sensors are on a never-ending search for more information about possibilities, while Intuitives operate on less external data and make decisions about their free time based on their own hunches. Thinkers are logical and cool about their how to spend their leisure, focusing on their own goals more than those of others. Feelers depend upon the pleasure of others as well as themselves. Judgers look at the measurable aspects of free time, such as how many miles they have traveled in a day, while Perceivers focus on the enjoyable aspects of the trip.
Extraverts vs. Introverts
Extraverts like to spend their free time on external pastimes—that is, shopping, talking on the phone, attending parties, and so on. They enjoy activities that provide them with a lot of stimulation. On the other hand, Introverts gravitate toward activities such as reading, going for walks, and listening to music. Their favorite pastimes can generally be enjoyed in solitude and are more contemplative. While both types might enjoy attending concerts, their tastes run a little differently. The Extravert likes concerts that invite audience participation and excitement. The Introvert wants to sit quietly and take in the music.
Sensors vs. Intuitives
Sensors are literal in their interpretation of time and how they would use it. They talk in terms of minutes and hours, not weeks and months. Years may be defined as fiscal and calendar years rather than decades. They are not futuristic. They think of time as ticking away. On the other hand, Intuitives use more abstract words in their conception of time: fleeting, linear, flowing, internal, abstract, etc. The sensor is likely to think of free time as immediate pleasure to be enjoyed in the here and now. Intuitives think more in “far off” terms, such as next year’s winter vacation. When asked what they’d like to do for fun, the Sensor might answer, “Throw a party this weekend,” while the Intuitive might say, “Plan a ski trip to Aspen this winter.”
Thinkers vs. Feelers
Thinkers are more objective and literal in their use of time. Whatever activities they choose, they prefer having specific checkpoints to monitor their success or progress. The word “people” seldom appears on their list because they are concerned with their own satisfaction primarily, not the attitudes of others. For the Feeling person, the ideal ski trip might mean involve Aspen with several friends, taking ski lessons together, and finding mutual satisfaction in the trip. The Thinker might envision more solo activities on the ski trip. If ski lessons are on the agenda, they’re likely to be solo lessons with only the Thinker and the ski instructor present.
Judgers vs. Perceivers
Judgers will organize their time in objective activities and use their list for measurable accomplishments. Perceivers are more open-ended and prefer to spend their free time in activities for which they will be less accountable. If a Judging/Perceiving couple are looking for a cruise to take, the Judger will first go online for pricing, and then systematically visit websites showing cruises that match their budget. The Perceiver will prefer to “wing it,” visiting different websites on impulse. He or she will look at photographs and take pleasure in imagining what the real thing is like. The challenge is for the partners to meet on middle ground where they can make a decision that satisfies them both. The Judger will probably want to make a decision on the first or second day of looking at websites. The Perceiver would be satisfied to look for a longer, open period—enjoying all the options without closure on any single one.
Tips for Time Management
The experts have some time management tips for each of the eight types.
Extraverts: Avoid having to share everything. Extraverts can be so distracted by outside social interactions that they lose sight of their goals.
Introverts: Don’t stay inside. Introverts should sense when the time is ripe to emerge from their privacy and seek support and guidance from outside sources.
Sensors: Remember that there’s more to time than minutes. Sensors need to see beyond the exactness of time. They can be nitpickers when it comes to deadlines and time, to the detriment of a plan or project when flexibility is appropriate, such as sailing.
Intuitives: Be realistic. Most Intuitive have an unrealistic perception of how long it will take to perform certain task, usually on the side of underestimation. This is where the Intuitive could profitably borrow from the Sensors perception of time.
Thinkers: Consider others’ time. Thinkers tend to overlook the human, subjective elements of time, forcing others to conform to their needs. They should learn to consider the schedules of other participants in a plan or project.
Feelers: Define your boundaries. Because Feelers often put the needs of others before their own, they can be imposed upon easily. Whoever is most needy gets their attention and time. Feelers must learn to say no without feeling guilty.
Judgers: Keep in mind that time is not always of the essence. Although Judgers are often masters of time management, making the most of every minute, they are sometimes in danger of executing their decisions prematurely just to reach a decision. Going too fast can sometimes endanger the outcome of a plan or project.
Perceivers: Try to focus. Perceivers often jump from one project to another, failing to focus on any single one. They may even see this as a form of time management, not realizing that some of the projects may be left unfinished.
Time is a resource that can be used or abused. By making optimal use of Myers-Briggs traits, individuals can make the best of their time, finishing projects in a timely manner while maintaining the good will of collaborators—or enjoying the progress of a project without focusing on measurable checkpoints.