4 Steps for ENTPs Who Want to Make Their Ideas a Reality

Clinically Reviewed by Steven Melendy, PsyD. on October 07, 2015

As an ENTP, you love to brainstorm and take great pleasure in throwing out a never-ending stream of bold new ideas. Yet how many times have you failed to implement an idea because you couldn't manage the mechanics of it? Assembling the pieces is grunt work - something you will avoid at all costs. And it leads to a bunch of missed opportunities.

If you want your plans to see the light of day, you're going to have to hack your own personality code. Here are four tips that will help you get your ideas from concept to reality.

First, Capture the Ideas

It's not enough to generate ideas at breakneck speed. The ideas that come flying out of you will disappear like feathers in the wind unless you figure out how to capture them. But how? Checklists, schedules and routines are an unnecessary hindrance to an ENTP. Keeping a conventional "to do" list would feel oppressive and demotivating, and the chances are you wouldn't sustain one for long.

A good alternative is to write your ideas down into a "wish list" - a love letter to yourself about all the possibilities that are available to explore. To make the most of your wish list:

  • Do not include numbers, categories or deadlines - this is not a to do list. You don't even have to complete the tasks on the list. The wish list is simply there to help you keep track of things, and it works better if you give yourself the freedom to abandon projects at will.
  • For each item on the list, ask yourself, "What do I want out of this project?" The answer can be anything - a scenario, a visual image or a feeling. Whatever you want, write it down.

You now have a list of potential projects that are nice and clear about what you want out of them.

Then, Get Real

Let's be blunt: some of your ideas will be duds. And you could waste months or even years trying to bring a dud idea to life and it will still take a nosedive off a cliff. To figure out which ideas should be tossed on the compost heap:

  • Do a gut check. Intuitives are good at following their instincts. For every item on your wish list ask yourself, "Do I believe in this project? Is there passion here?"
  • Stick with what you know. If an idea is already proven, you may be able to expand it and squeeze out more value.
  • Select the ideas that are flexible. ENTPs need the freedom to start with an idea and tweak it along the way.
  • Let go of the emotion. Put your T side to work and gather the facts, information and logic that will allow you to vet your ideas properly and accurately.

Next, do what Warren Buffet does and circle the five or six projects that make the most sense based on these criteria. Focus on these projects and avoid everything (yes everything!) else.

Get to Work, Consecutively and in Parallel

As an ENTP, you work more efficiently when you can focus on only one project at a time. At the same time, you get bored very easily which means that you may quickly lose interest in the project you are working on. The answer? Have several back up projects on stand by.

Running a variety of projects in parallel is not the same as multitasking. The idea is to immerse yourself completely in a single project and beaver away at it until you lose energy or start flying off at a tangent. At this point, you need to quickly write down the next step that needs to be taken. When you're next motivated to work on this project, the fact that you have your first action mapped out will make it easier for you to jump right in.

Next, select another project that you're excited about from your wish list. Repeat the process until your energy burns out.

To a system-oriented personality type, this approach might look a lot like procrastination. But it isn't procrastination if you are putting off doing one task to work on another one that is equally valuable. It may take you longer to cross the finish line on individual projects, but you will end up delivering a greater number of projects in the long run.

Find an Accountabuddy

As an Extrovert, you are far better at gaining motivational energy from other people than you are at motivating yourself. As an Intuitive Thinker, you don't need the people around you to be loyal, supportive or Heaven forbid, bootlicking, about your ideas. In fact, the last thing you want is for someone to tell you that you're right. You have much greater respect for people who can hold their ground in an argument and lay your faults bare.

These personality traits can help you stay focused. Find someone with a structured and decisive approach to goals and have them teach you the benefits of finishing. Give them permission to bug you if you do not produce the goods. If possible, get an NTJ or an STJ to hold you accountable as these personality types will MAKE you work.

And that's it - the ENTP's guide to getting stuff done in four (relatively) painless steps. Now it's over to you. What are you doing to make progress on your goals? We'd love to hear from you!

Molly Owens

Molly Owens is the founder and CEO of Truity. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She began working with personality assessments in 2006, and in 2012 founded Truity with the goal of making robust, scientifically validated assessments more accessible and user-friendly.

Molly is an ENTP and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys elaborate cooking projects, murder mysteries, and exploring with her husband and son.

More from this author...
About the Clinical Reviewer

Steven Melendy, PsyD., is a Clinical Psychologist who received his doctorate from The Wright Institute in Berkeley, California. He specializes in using evidence-based approaches in his work with individuals and groups. Steve has worked with diverse populations and in variety of a settings, from community clinics to SF General Hospital. He believes strongly in the importance of self-care, good friendships, and humor whenever possible.


Colin Taylor (not verified) says...

Great Blog. Delivered for me at exactly the right time in my plans. This will help me, I can tell.

Keep it coming.



Molly Owens says...

Really glad to hear that Colin! Good luck with whatever it is you're working on.

Sharon Denny (not verified) says...

Thanks Molly! Some big deliverables at the moment, and I'm spinning my wheels a little bit - great application of strategy! Great blog. Please keep it up!


Molly Owens says...

Awesome, hope these tips help you get dialed in again!

A_Guy (not verified) says...

Thanks very much for this. I have recently come to learn a lot of these points through years of frustration and experience, and this post has really helped me to consolidate my thinking. I have 5+ projects that I am working on, and as long as I cycle and keep the momentum going, I can direct energy and creativity to them until their completion!

Samuel21 (not verified) says...

Thanks so much for this piece! I just figured out my personality type and quickly thereafter stumbled across your post here. Super helpful!! I'm actually on fire right now with a sense of clarity and direction that I have been confusing with "laziness" because of my difficulties with follow-through on my countless ideas. Not to mention getting bored! I'm building a business (on my own terms, obviously) and I've felt demoralized because of my waning interest and seeming passion. Then it hits me some nights at 11:30 and I begin writing down new ideas that I'm excited to execute on. Clarity is profoundly helpful, and your tips here will help me to navigate some of the crazy and make it useful. Thank you so much!

Max Pierson (not verified) says...

I've been using self hypnosis and affirmations in attempt to get a project done. It really helps with self doubts and negativity from within implanted by jerks in my formative years but I really am nonetheless unable to self-motivate! The advice about getting an accountabuddy is by far the best thing I've found. I am not sure that NTJ is the best person for that though, the whole naggy thingy becomes offputting. NFJ might be better in the long run. I asked my accountabuddy to just be like a School Principal expecting me to finish projects and have a successful life. Having the right accountabuddy in place and meeting regularly [mine is a psychologist who I meet with weekly] and expecting me to give an account of myself with regard to projects just makes all the difference in my motivation.

Max Pierson (not verified) says...

Update: I just could not make the accountabuddy work... I hired a guy, he was bright enough but all he did was set schedules for me an push me to work harder: very counterproductive! I'd recommend a psychologist that understands personality types.

I found that affirmations didn't work for me, they are almost psychopathic in nature ["I deserve...", "I shall do (regardless of the ethics)" , etc. ]

I did some work to get rid of ANTS [automatic negative thoughts] by the oddest of methods: imigdala tickling! Look it up.

I did autosuggestions, not to leap into action, but to FEEL LIKE working on my software project. It's all been great since. My GF accuses me of never finishing anything  but i've gotten the idea that i need to work on things in parallel and when i feel like it. Her opinion is worth what I pay for it right? [not much]

Lexie1 (not verified) says...

I totally needed this. I couldn't understand my bouts of flip flops of energy / distinterest in multiple projects. Seemingly like a headless chicken even in my 30s.

Your article really gave me clarity and helped me find a way to make my personality work for me. 


Thank you!

Ace Anderson (not verified) says...

Wow! This was incredibly helpful and even more so, timely. I really appreciate this. My wife and I are coming up with a plan for all of my goals and dreams. She will be my Accountabuddy. I was struggling yesterday when all of my ideas hit me at once. I'm super excited about chipping away at these projects. Writing the next task down when you get to a stopping point is so simple but brilliant. Thank you, thank you, thank you! 

Josh t (not verified) says...

How's your goals coming along? Has this page helped you and the steps worked for you? 

RosieNugent (not verified) says...

How about one for school and teens. It would be cool to see the differences.

Gigi (not verified) says...

I dont know if it is only me but as an ENTP, I believe this suggestions wont work. And to be honest, kinda sounds stupid. Because I did the writing, Even i didn’t  write down my steps in detail, i wrote down my goals. And non of them happened. I am 22 and still havent decided to what to do for a living. It feels like i have so many options and i can do all of them!! And the worst thing is, i unconsciously think about what if i go for a specific thing and it turns out to be a bad choice. This thought is the one that keeps me away from choosing and acting. Any suggestions about this? 

Ashley Magnuson (not verified) says...

I had this problem at your age, too. My advice would be, make a list of things that you want to do. Under each thing write down why you would be good at it, why you would like it. Then I would say, you should make sure whatever it is, has enough potential to continue to challenge you, so you don't get bored. At 22, I was already moving into my second career choice, and have since switched twice more-- I'm almost 29. At your age, it seemed like I needed to figure it all out and get to work so I could be the best at the job and not waste time. But I have learned so much from all the jobs I've had and they have provided unique and valuable knowledge into my next career. If I'm not the best, I certainly have the most unique insight to give! You don't need to figure it all out, now! The sooner you try something, the sooner you will be able to learn if its right and what you need, instead. 

Ashley Magnuson (not verified) says...

Thank you!! I am an ENTP Entrepreneur and having a very hard time getting projects completed, instead of jumping to the next big idea. I LOVE this idea and cannot wait to apply it!

Tyler M (not verified) says...

I know this is a bit older of a post, but it is awesome!

Thank you!

Writer / marketer / entrepreneur (not verified) says...

I've written 2 books, recorded 1 online course and more. Finished; 100%.

Sometimes I struggle hard. It is pathogenic.

What I observed is that I kind of work in "bubble" bursts of energy. Then I turn off. If I insist I just get sick. Mental and if needed my mind gives me some physical remind.

I am not doing bad, it is just every ENTP knows that we have so much potential, so much energy and we are not progressing in life; because life, planned as we know, is not made for us but for masses.

So I've realized with this article that if I have this bubble (and it is not hard to fill it up), I have to use it as much as I can and when feeling down, respect the moment, and switch to another, maybe completely different activity or theme of interest.

Because when you feel down, you actually are just bored about that topic. So if you keep forcing, you prevent your bubble to fill up again, because you are interfering the natural process. Then you start feeling bad, lose its momentum and get in a bad cycle.

I am definitely going to try this sudden change of topics in a professional way. I've experienced this many times but didn't realize it could be systematized.

Thank you, Molly.

Emman (not verified) says...

Superb work molly

But can an enfp type use this method . Enfp and entp are somehow alike 


Rebecca Alvarado (not verified) says...

Would this help with picking a career? Having a hard time choosing one, I know I am great at researching, creative, problem solving, and being resourceful as an ENTP but everytime I think I am about too my entp jumps in and is looking at something else

Rebecca Alvarado (not verified) says...

Would this help in choosing a career? I am having trouble be in a loop for over 5 years not knowing

Share your thoughts


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