Understanding more about yourself can help you improve the way you work
You’ve lived with yourself all your life, but you might be surprised at the new insights a personality test can reveal.
Personality tests are widely used in hiring and team building, but their value outside the workplace shouldn’t be ignored. Just like their professional use, a personality test not only predicts your habits, but also explores reasons why you do things a certain way.
This is one of the biggest reasons why personality tests are a mainstay in many companies, but you can put their findings to good use in other areas of your life, especially when it comes to improving your productivity.
The Myers-Briggs test is one of the most commonly used scales that measure personality types. Based on a theory developed by Carl Jung, the in-depth questionnaire explores four primary psychological functions – feeling, intuition, sensation, and thinking. For the most accurate results and a certificate check out this test. A free version of the test is available here.
The personality test is divided into 93 questions, each of which offers two answer choices, usually in the form of short statements or word pairs. Each answer is a matter of personal preference and represents two opposing views of the same dichotomy. Testers select the option that best reflects their preferences.
In total, the Myers-Briggs personality test has 16 distinct personality types. Each type is determined by the responses to four dichotomies: feeling vs. thinking, introversion vs. extraversion, intuition vs. sensing, and perception vs. judging.
The Myers-Briggs personality test is a measure of personal preference, not aptitude. Every person has qualities of both opposing views in each dichotomy (e.g., we all think and we all feel), but we also have tendencies that make us more likely to favor one over the other.
At the end of the test, results are aggregated by looking at which trait in each dichotomy was selected most often. The final revelation is a series of four letters, each one representing the trait that best describes your preference:
Often referred to as “attitudes,” introversion (I) and extraversion (E) depict how a person’s cognitive functions operate. They either exist in a world of people, places, and things, or they focus on internal thoughts, ideas, and reflections.
Extraverted individuals tend to be active and often rely on energy to maintain their momentum. Introverts are more thought-oriented, initiating action only after deep reflection. Extraverts seek more knowledge, while introverts crave deeper knowledge. Extraverts get their energy from being around others, while introverts recharge through solitude.
Sensation (S) and intuition (N) are the two functions that reflect how you gather information.
Those who choose the sensing side of the dichotomy prefer to see tangible evidence that can be felt, smelled, tasted, heard, or seen.
On the other side, intuitive individuals prefer to rely on instinct, hunches, or feelings that they connect with other known information, such as using one concept to explain another.
The two judging functions, thinking (T) versus feeling (F), represent how you make decisions. You either go with your gut instinct, or you consider your options rationally prior to making a selection.
Thinkers usually detach their emotions and use logic and reason to arrive at a conclusion.
Feelers prefer to make decisions based on their emotions. Their choices are often influenced by empathy, and they tend to consider others’ needs prior to making decisions.
The last dichotomy revolves around your lifestyle preferences. The two options here, perception (P) and judging (J), are better understood when combined with the other three dichotomies.
For example, a TJ (thinking/judging) person will view life from a logical perspective, while an FJ (feeling/judging) person will be empathetic.
Those with perception as the dominant preference will either be an SP (sensing/perception) or NP (intuition/perception).
This chart gives a breakdown of the 16 possible personality types determined by the Myers-Briggs assessment:
One of the biggest discoveries you might make is how your personality affects your ability to work. If you consider yourself a poor time manager or wonder why you can’t study well, your default tendencies might be part of the problem.
Of course, that doesn’t mean you have to change your preferences (that would be easier said than done anyway). But you might be able to make adjustments elsewhere.
For example, if you discover you are an introvert, think about your daily interactions. Are you around people for most of the school or work day? Are you forced to work in groups? If so, you might need to find ways you can limit some of your in-person interactions to give you time to refocus and do your best work.
If you’re an extrovert, you’ll want to do the opposite. You need to surround yourself with others because that’s where your energy and motivation come from. Without people around you, you may never experience the urge to increase your performance.
There are no failing grades for the Myers-Briggs personality test. Taking the test to find your own areas of potential improvement isn’t really about discovering your limitations. It’s about developing a deeper understanding of yourself and the way you see the world.
Knowing the reasons behind your productivity problems can be the first step toward a positive and productive future.
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