The most recent Happier podcast episode struck a chord with me. There was a discussion about Compartmentalizers vs Integrators, with emphasis on how people choose to handle work, and I realized I am a total compartmentalizer, perhaps to the extreme.
Integrators tend to be very casual about the passage of time at work. They are happy to take long lunches, but also to stay until 8 pm. I work next to a classic integrator. She keeps extremely long hours (and is an AMAZING physician) but will have no problem with a long social conversation between patients or during admin time (which is not something we have in abundance!). I fear sometimes that she thinks I am a lazy millennial, which I am not*.
Compartmentalizers are — well, pretty much the exact opposite. When they are at work, they are quite focused and long random breaks make them twitchy. The goal of every day is to get as much @*&! done as possible and then to get out and not think about any of it. In my case, I am a natural compartmentalizer with a firm end-point**. While this doesn’t mean I don’t file the occasional camp application form during a break***, I am pretty much all business during the day. Sometimes this means I struggle with fitting in “non-urgent but important” tasks, like teaching or quality improvement projects. I try to counteract this by setting fairly concrete goals so that these tasks do take on more of an urgent and defined quality.
My compartmentalization tendency is probably also one major reason why I hate call so much.
Now that I think about it, I wonder if I would have been a happier shift worker. Probably not, since I am terrible at night and really do love my field, but areas like the emergency department or NICU likely would lend themselves more to the natural compartmentalizer, since they are typically either ON or OFF.
I don’t think this tendency is something I can really alter, or necessarily should. I think that instead, it’s nice to have the awareness so that I can better understand how others may see things. I also think I should honor my preferences when I can, such as avoiding work email at times when I want to be fully ‘off’.
** Though really, I probably could have more flexibility there if I wanted. So maybe I have to admit to myself that the firm endpoint is there partially by choice
*** How is it camp signup season already!?!?
Last week’s run report:
Monday: Nada, out late at concert Sunday night
Tuesday: 6 mi with 22 minutes at tempo. Total 9:52/mi, tempo portion at 8:32 – 8:45/mi, 73F
Wednesday: 5.5 mi recovery, 10:52/mi, 72F, quick leg workout
Friday: 5 mi with hill sprints at end, total 10:09/mi, 66F, quick core workout
Sunday: 9 mi long, 10:04/mi average, HOT 77F start, 79F at the finish
total = 25.5 mi