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Cedar Rapids Gazette (Newspaper) - April 25, 1974, Cedar Rapids, Iowa The Cedar Rapids Gazette: Thurs., April 25, 1974 Re-engineering Your Life To Cut Type A Behavior By Meyer Friedman, M.D. and Ray H. Rosenman, M.D. In this chapter we propose some practical procedures, ways in which you can "re- engineer" your "daily life. It would be unfair of us to sug- gest that this re-engineering will be an easy process or a painless one. It must go on for a period of years. You will find that it requires great persistence rather than a dramatic sort of courage; in a scries) the measures to be adopted frequently run directly counter to impulses that have become natural to you. Tyrannizing habits that have been in command of you for decades will not yield to mere armchair resolutions or a few days of desultory atten- tion. In our experience, the battle of new habits against old may have to continue in- definitely. Hurry Sickness The procedures outlined below have for convenience been framed in terms of those who work in offices. But let us emphasize again that Type A behavior is found among per- sons of every class and profes- sion. It originates within the person himself, not in his environment, and must be fought on home ground. If you could free yourself of "hurry at least 50 percent or more of your Type A behavior pattern would dis- appear. As we have repeated- ly pointed out in this book, al- though the Type A person fre- quently struggles against various challenges presented to him by his milieu, it is his battle against time that we suspect is the chief component sustaining his behavior pat- tern. The very first step you must 'fake is to revise your usual daily schedule of activi- ties so as to eliminate as many events and activities as possible that do not contribute directly to your socio-econom- ic well-being. Reverse Process Previously, you worked to crowd in events; now you must work to shed events, even if those events are close- ly linked to your business or profession. For example, let's presume that you are a dentist and that you previously scheduled your- self to treat a patient every thirty minutes, allowing your- self a five- to ten-minute in- terval of rest and relaxation every several hours (an inter- val, incidentally, that few Type A dentists Big George! Virgil Partch "Well, that's what you get for playing with your food.' Under your new anti-Type A program, you plan to see and treat a patient every forty-five minutes, even though his therapy will re- quire 'only twenty-five or thir- ty minutes. What change will this make in your life? Only this: You might make a little less money and feel strangely re- laxed and carefree for part of every hour of your working days for the rest of your pro- fessional life. Fewer Visitors Similarly, if you 'are a busi- ness executive, you will stop cluttering up your appoint- ment schedule so badly that try as you might to hurry each of your visitors, you in- variably fall behind and know that you are keeping your next appointment waiting. One of the surest ways of intensifying the stress bf Type A behavior is for you to keep someone else waiting. Allot more time to various events than you believe they will re- quire! What can you lose? Other activities in your life may require revisions if you are to recover from "hurry sickness." For example, you' may be one of those thousands of suburbanites who for years have arisen ijust in time to dress, eat breakfast, scan the newspaper, reach the station, and board your train. Why not arise fifteen min- utes earlier than you usually do? If you wish a second cup of coffee or want to dawdle a bit more fever your news- paper, you will be able to do so. If you wish to take a stroll in your garden, or even talk to a neighbor, you will have time without forever having to consult your watch. Telephone And let us remind you, inci- dentally, that the more fre- quently during the day you look at this monster on your left wrist, the more serious your "hurry sickness." You must also re-engineer your telephone habits if any person can telephone your of- fice or yaw store and be di- rectly connected with you, re- gardless of what you may be doing or with whom you hiay be talking. Unfortunately, most Type A persons instruct their secretaries or subordi- nates to put anyone through. The only reason why Type A persons allow themselves to be interrupted this way is that they are basically insecure. They always fear that a ter- ribly important client or cus- tomer may telephone and be- come furiously upset were he denied immediate access. If you have this fear, and permit yourself to he inter- rupted continually, you are aggravating your "hurry sick- ness." Unconsciously, you are likely to hasten the pace of your conversation with busi- ness associates in anticipation of a summons from the tele- phone. Lunches If you are a severely afflict- ed Type A, at noon you tend to substitute a restaurant ta- ble for your own desk. Indeed, sometimes you scribble num- bers on the napkins and the blank spaces of the restaur- ant's menu cards, as if they were your 'own office pads. Only the martini or the beer serve as a signal that a small change in your activities has taken place, except that the change is purely geographic. Luncheons, some of our pa- tients have told us, allow "out- side" committee meetings, as opposed to the normal "in- side" committee meetings conducted during the rest of the day. In re-engineering your life, you should seek to eliminate luncheons at which you con- tinue to talk and think about the same things you do the rest of the day. Obviously, such luncheons cannot be completely elimi- nated situations will arise when it will be necessary for you to mix your tiread with your business. But up to now you have probably regarded your lunch period as an ex- tension of working hours. We have already insisted that if you are a Type A per- son and are to break loose from your thralldom, you must begin to explore your- self and you must allot some time for such contem- pteiion. Your lunch period probably offers you the first true opportunity to consider yourself objectively. Finishing Burst Many Type A persons take considerable pride in the fact that they can almost always finish all their day's work by or p.m., an accom- plishment that is quite often managed by spurts of pres- sure and tension begining be- tween and p.m. Such spurts themselves may inten- sify your already severe sense of tune urgency. Of course, there are times when it is eminently desirable to finish a piece of work at the end of the day, but far too often Type A persons do it simply because of the pleas- ure, and a rather inane pride, they find in completing any sort of task. Such pride under- lines again the chronic fasci- nation that battles against time hold for Type A persons. We suggest that you no longer go into a dither as the evening hour approaches. No great harm will be done if you leave your office some- what later than usual. Tomorrow: Harnessing Your Hostility. Copyright 1974 by Meyer Friedman. Reprinted from Type A Behavior and Your Heart, with lha permission of Alfred A. 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