Quiz Time: Are you more of a What-er or a When-er?

May 15, 2024

In our almost two decades of training others toward Togetherness, we have noticed that people tend to Together themselves across two different dimensions. There are those people who seem to favor the calendar a bit more (we call them When-ers) and those that strongly prefer lists (called What-ers). We do not believe one way is superior to the other. In fact, we want everyone to have both What and When in their toolkits. Sometimes people instinctively know what their particular bias is, but in case you’re not sure, we are here to help you determine your own personal preferred Together Style.

So, without further ado, a bit of a quiz:

  • When you arrive at work in the morning, which do you look at first:
    • a. Your To-Do List?
    • b. Your calendar?
  • When receiving an incoming task, do you tend do:
    • a. Jot it on a list?
    • b. Enter it as an appointment or event in your calendar?
  • When someone assigns you a task, do you wish they would:
    • a. Send it via a To-Do app or project management software?
    • b. Just give you a deadline and block time on your calendar?
  • When you feel TRULY Together, it is because:
    • a. Your To-Do list is robust. It includes priorities, tasks, and even personal stuff!
    • b. Your calendar is airtight. Your meetings are loaded, your To-Dos all have neat time slots, and you have enough wiggle room for emergencies
  • If you have a big project, is your preference to:
    • a. List out all the items to complete it and then start attacking each step?
    • b. Calendar out all deadlines and estimate how long each will take?

Okay, now count up your answers.

If you answered 3 or more As, you likely fall in the What camp. This means you prefer flexibility in your work, and you may not like to be locked in time slots. You likely operate with a lot of optimism about what you can take on.

If you answered 3 or more Bs, you may be more a natural When-er. This means you want to pin down those tasks in time slots within your calendar, and you can sometimes be rankled when things change. You probably operate with a lot of realism around how long things take you.

If you were close to an even split, you fluently shift between What-er and When-er – which is a really helpful skill! There are times when it makes sense to live in What World, like when you may have an independent project, and times when you need to jump into When HQ to ensure items are completed in time.

So, why does all of this matter anyway? (Side note: One recent class tried to slice by Whats/Whens, birth order, astrological sign, Enneagram type and MBTI personality type. A slight diversion from the topic at hand, but very fun! (When-Oldest-Leo-3-INTJ, thank you very much)). But, seriously, it can be helpful to know your natural preference and then what your job actually requires because sometimes they match and sometimes they don’t. Live in a world of last-minute requests? This is going to be very tough for a When-er, but maybe you try to get one hour of protected time per day which is YOURS to plan ahead for. Is your day full of non-moveable meetings and time-sensitive deliverables? Well, then you may need to be a When-er and live out of your calendar more, but hopefully find little pockets of time to just dwell in your list and follow your gut about which task to tackle next.

To be clear, When-ers likely have lists, but they may be smaller, and What-ers have calendars, they just prefer their calendar to hold only scheduled meetings and not To-Dos. And we need all kinds in this world! Our only advice is to know your preference and lean in to that as much as your role allows. We’ll never tell you there is only one way to be Together!

So, what are YOU? Can’t wait to hear from When-ers AND What-ers in the comments, or those who fall right in the middle!