Coping With Real Life When You Have The Heart of a Dreamer

Ideas, ideas, ideas - they are like the blood coursing through my veins. They are the impetus that drives my passion, my purpose and my resolve. They are the driving force that motivates me to do bigger and better things and gives me single-minded focus.

As an INFP my mind is always engaged and fascinated by making meaning of the world and finding ways to make this world a better place. I am always looking towards self improvement and seeking to learn about my family and relationships. Understanding more about humanity and the way we live is like my personal quest. I soak up stories—the experiences of other’s—like a sponge. I can spend hours in that space – that space of exploration, curiosity, and philosophical musings.

But then there is everyday life.

What? I have to cook dinner? I have to wash those dishes? I have to fold those clothes?

The everyday routines, the (in my mind) boring tasks that just have to get done (and never seem to end) are sometimes enough to drive me crazy! It can be a challenge for any Intuitive perceptive type (or NP) to be content doing the mundane (and even aware of the necessity of it) when there are so many ideas to explore and so many issues in the world worthy of interest and attention.

Yet, life with three young children is busy, busy, busy and I realise that some things just have to get done to live a less chaotic life. I’ll be honest – sometimes it’s easy to feel like I’m just a little bit of a failure in the homemaking or housekeeping department. Some people seem to juggle career, kids, house, church (and whatever else they have on their overflowing schedule) with absolute finesse. That’s not me.

When I’ve got an uninspiring job to do, I am aware of how much my mind whirs and trips and yearns for something to wrestle with - other than what is right in front of me. I find myself easily bored, restless and distractible, beginning a task and then drifting away to read something that’s caught my eye or to attend to something that’s suddenly popped into my head. As a stay-at-home-mum and working from home, I can either get so caught up in something inspiring (like writing this article) that I’ll completely forget the practical tasks that need attending to (even to the point of forgetting to eat lunch). Or if a non-inspiring task is inevitable (like washing or cooking dinner) procrastination may rear its ugly head with mindless Facebook or internet scrolling, often in my desperation to find inspiration or motivation.

My levels of distractibility sometimes lead to frustration and I have to find ways to rein them in.

So what do I do to stay motivated and focused? How do I hone in on what’s important? How do I block out the thoughts and distractions that inevitably come my way? And when do I need to be kind to myself and recognise my ‘distractibility’ as a positive attribute?

Finding ways to get motivated and stay focused

At a most basic level, sometimes finding motivation and staying focused is a matter of looking to the accomplishment or completion, rather than at the task itself.

There can be motivation in knowing that my mind will be clearer, and I will feel better about myself, when I’m more organised and my chores are completed. Or that I will more quickly find what I need and achieve more if my desk is tidier. Or if the house is in order, my family life has the potential to be more harmonious.

Sometimes even reminding myself that getting the hard stuff done quickly and without procrastination means more time to spend with those I love and more time to do the things I love.

Some of the practical tools I also use to get motivated and stay on task are:

  1. Routines. If you are anything like me, this is not something that comes naturally. NP types tend to like to be flexible and ‘go with the flow’. Too many strict routines can lead to frustration. However, I’ve found that some basic routines serve as a great reminder and take the thinking and worrying out of the doing. Even a simple morning routine like: ‘get up, shower, get dressed, tidy bathroom, fold washing, have breakfast’, keeps me on task and helps me when my mind is wandering.
  2. Write a to-do list. This is crucial for me to feel focused. Not being highly ‘routined’, I often have so many thoughts and tasks swimming around in my mind. This can lead to feeling completely overwhelmed, and thus I don’t get anything done. Writing it down and then prioritising reduces the worry, the wasted time and the procrastination.
  3. Break it down into small tasks. At times the big picture seems tiring and overwhelming. If I break up my jobs into small tasks and do a small amount at a time I can see progress more quickly.
  4. Setting a timer. Knowing that I’ve set aside 10 minutes, 20 minutes or even 40 minutes can be enough to remind me to focus. I tell my kids I’m going to be ‘speedy mummy’ and stay focused 'till the timer goes off. This also helps to break down big tasks and not get too caught up in little details.
  5. Set rewards. This may be as simple as doing a 20 minute job and then rewarding yourself with coffee or a favourite drink. I used to always start my work day by making a cup-of-tea and checking emails before I did anything else. In reality, it was a little bit of procrastination. Getting into something straight up, then rewarding myself, helps me to plough through the uninspiring tasks.
  6. Work methodically. A chore like tidying the house can be overwhelming if you're not focused. I, too, easily find myself running from room to room not getting much done. If I start in one room, or one corner of the house, I seem to stay more on task and end up feeling much more accomplished.
  7. Listen to energising music. Energising or inspiring music can help to boost my energy levels when I’m feeling flat but have chores to do. A personal playlist or a Spotify mix is ideal for this. Blast it from the rooftops if it helps, or put it on your headphones and you might even find yourself doing a little jig.
  8. Plug into a podcast. This last one has saved me many times. Even with all of the above I can still find myself restless and distracted. Listening to an interesting podcast really helps to hold my focus. As my mind is engaged, I can immerse myself in the more ‘mind-less’ tasks that just have to be done.

Be kind to yourself

Finally, I am learning to be kind to myself!

As an INFP (most significantly the feeling part) the insecurities and the tendency to be hard on myself can be exaggerated. It is easy to feel inadequate when I perceive others to be more organised, more efficient, more motivated or energetic, and of course more focused or accomplished.

It is, therefore, important to remember that the beauty NP types bring to the world is in our creativity and innovation. Some of these types may seem less ambitious, but it is the drive behind our passionate values and conviction that contribute significance to the world. We bring a flexibility and open-mindedness to the table, greatly desiring to hear all the options and not making quick judgements. Although continually looking for meaning and possibilities, we are certainly not impractical, but rather able to create fresh and practical solutions as required. Particularly for the feeling types, the great well of compassion, empathy and willingness to see both sides of a story, often results in an acceptance of diverse ideas, opinions and people.

At times my distractibility, lack of routine and seriously challenged housekeeping skills may seem to bring an element of chaos into my life - but there is beauty in this too. A friend will find me available for a coffee and a chat without much notice. My children find a mum who will quickly drop what I’m doing to run out and see a bird’s nest, watch their latest skating trick (admittedly sometimes to the detriment of the dinner on the stove) or cheerfully grapple with their philosophical questions. My natural curiosity means I quite easily take time to ‘smell the roses’, happy to patiently explore with my kids at the park. I also have fairly high tolerance levels when it comes to messes—in the interests of creativity and exploration—and I do enjoy getting in there and getting my hands dirty. My attention on my loved ones is generally focused and compassionate and very often I will drop the to-do list to make playdough or build lego with my little one.

Having a spotless house is not high on my priority list, but managing my ‘everyday’ to live a full and productive life is. When I get weighed down by external expectations (perceived or otherwise), or I allow unrealistic comparisons to creep in, I don’t do anything well. It is crucial that I understand what is important for me, and my family, and prioritise accordingly.

I’m never going to get a ‘tidy house award’ but knowing I can cope with the everyday necessities, and still be true to who I am, is super important.

How about you? I’d love to hear your experiences.

Esther Murray

Esther Murray is a Social Worker, a writer and a mum to three animated young daughters. Esther lives in sunny Perth, Western Australia, with her wonderfully logical and dependable ISTJ husband. Esther finds joy in creative pursuits (like making beauty out of old finds) and loves to escape into an inspirational biography or other hearty piece of literature. Esther is learning to live authentically as an INFP and has a heart for others to also live to their potential.

Comments

Guest (not verified) says...

thanks so much for sharing your experience! i'm a somewhat stay at home mom and grad student... and an enfp. your struggles mirror my own and it's such a relief to know i'm not a disturbed crazy person...just an out of balance enfp. i'm making an effort to be real about what I need and to not shy away from doing all I reasonably can to meet those needs. thanks agsin!

Esther Murray says...

Thanks so much for commenting. I can so relate to feeling out of balance. Being real with ourselves about what we're feeling and then making appropriate changes is of benefit to ourselves and our whole family! I applaud you on your journey. Esther

Simon in the Cloud (not verified) says...

Hey,

All the way from South Africa. INTP. struggle a lot with routine. Your suggestions are quite real though. The timer gets me focussed, as does creating a list and breaking things down into smaller tasks. Its been a few months since i found this website - this period has been filled with much personal exploration leading to greater awareness of the processes of my mind. Much peace of mind is flowing in slowly. Im 27, oldest male in the house. always seemingly hard on myself - so thanks for asking me to be a little more gentle. there is definitely a reason for NP types to be in the world. Thanks for everything hey.

Greet the family. All the best.

Im stepping out to get some vegetarian curry up the road. Its cloudy outside so that warm plate will do Justice. lol

Take Care

Esther Murray says...

Thank you Simon in the cloud for your lovely comment. It's nice to know that some of the practical tips that work for me are helpful for you too and can add to your journey of self understanding and acceptance. Being gentle on ourselves isn't always an easy process but is a crucial part of finding peace with who we are.
I hope your curry was just what you needed on a cloudy day! :) All the best as you continue on the path of self awareness. Esther

Jennifer Smith (not verified) says...

Thanks for this today. I was telling my husband that I thought I was watching too many advertisements and facebook posts as I was feeling "not enough" - not good enough, able enough, young enough, free enough, happy enough... life has been so demanding that there is little time and energy left for enjoying life. Reading your piece makes me feel I am who I am, as an INTJ/INTP I love the ideas in my head but struggle with trying to make them a part of my reality.

Esther Murray says...

Hi Jennifer. I'm so glad that you were encouraged by my sharing. Finding my way through the haze of 'not enough' has been so real for me too. With the demanding nature of life and the barrage of images and expectations from the world around us we can so often feel 'less than'. I encourage you to keep going on your journey of self discovery and find the small ways you can regenerate and find how you are most energised when you've just got nothing left to give. Know you are not alone in this! Esther

Guest (not verified) says...

I would like to see a list comparing the NP to the NJ. I recently started testing as an NJ. There is so much making sense on both sides of the fence I wonder how fluid we are in these areas. The Intuition I have in Spades. Feeling? Oh yeah. Way too much at times. The P and the J remain a mystery to me. I do have strong convictions of the J, cannot tolerate an injustice or bad environment. But separating the two remains muddy.

Insight appreciated.

Guest (not verified) says...

Okay I fat fingered that. differences between an INFP...and an INFJ. The P and J...what separates them significantly?

Esther Murray says...

Hi there, thanks for your comment.
As I understand it, the P & J seem to be separated most significantly by how they interact with the outside world. A 'J' tends towards being more structured and decided in their plans - preferring to know where they are headed well ahead of time. They like to focus on a task and just get it done, feeling most comfortable when tasks are finished and decisions made and acted on.
A 'P' on the other hand, likes to keep plans more open and spontaneous, and prefers to gather as much information as possible to make the 'best' decision. They may not enjoy having to make a definite decision (especially if hurried) or lock in plans a long way ahead, just in case they've missed something or new possibilities emerge. Unlike the 'J', they will often 'play' first (or get caught up in something interesting) and finish tasks later.

When reading the TRUITY personality profiles of the INFP & INFJ, there are clearly many similarities between the two types. They share a compassion and desire for deep understanding and connection in order to see people grow. There are some slight differences that stand out in contrast however:
The INFJ feels other's emotions very deeply and has a desire to creatively help others reach their potential. They are perhaps a little more solution/action oriented than the INFP and desire to find creative and original solutions and move forward with a definite plan.
The 'INFP' is curious, open-minded and deeply empathic, but will tend to focus on exploring the possibilities to come to an understanding of truth and meaning to promote growth. They are not impractical, but may not be so definite about finding an immediate solution.

There is a fun blog post here on TRUITY called "Unmistakable Signs You're Dating a Perceiver". Although individuals will differ, it's a great look at some of the tendencies of a perceiver personality.

I realise this isn't exactly the list you might have hoped for, but I hope the insights are helpful. Let me know your thoughts and whether this resonates with you in any way.
Esther

http://www.truity.com/personality-type/INFP
http://www.truity.com/personality-type/INFJ

http://www.truity.com/blog/unmistakable-signs-youre-dating-perceiver

J. (not verified) says...

Thank you for this article and the breakdown between INFP and INFJ. I've been testing as INFP lately but I used to test as INFJ. But the fact that I've attended 15+ schools and had 15+ jobs across several fields confirms the INFP result. :-)

So I'm an INFP who has learned to be an INFJ to complete assignments. But I've worked in many types of environments: corporate, small business, small and large nonprofits, field work, etc. The most maddening for me was a government contract for a highly-regulated bank. Tight security. Constantly monitored. Required total concentration on mundane tasks (e.g., data entry! processing digital images!). No room for error. Laws are literally written on the walls.

I'm at my best in a lightly structured environment and/or a role that allows me to be creative about how to get my work done. I prefer flexible guidelines if the deadlines are hard and absolutely no micromanagement.

My favorite company to work for was...Intuit! I didn't even know what that word meant when I first started working there, but my manager just "got" me on the interview. He asked the best interview questions ever, was rarely in, left me alone to work however I wanted as long as my deliverables were on time, but provided guidance and protection when I had a problem. I had free time to study what interested me.

7 years later, I worked at a company where they claimed to have hard project deadlines but they were actually flexible. I managed the production schedule and coordinated the project deadlines, as well as created, edited, and formatted the digital content...and all of the team members and my manager regularly required deadline adjustments. That frustrated me! Until I realized their "flexibility" allowed me to indulge the P part of my personality.

Because I completed my work on time, that left me with plenty of free time to go on prayer walks, listen to/read the Bible, follow an idea tangent, learn a new software program (Adobe Creative Suite), etc. I listened to music while I did the mundane tasks (e.g., editing/formatting reports), but not when I did the creative ones (e.g., designing e-newsletters, graphics, etc).

Now I teach preschoolers...which requires flexibility, discipline, and a thorough understanding of many different personality types.

Guest (not verified) says...

so glad to read this; i feel like i'm the Jack of all trades, from Combo Welder to former Assist Music Director in a mega church... currently working in the hospital in Patient Access just getting out of Taxes. As an ENFP , i feel i can do anything but executing or sticking to one career is so bothersome. Now that i'm 26 and expecting a first child, i have to buckle down, but i'm just glad that i came across this blog. So much excite. Thanks

J. (not verified) says...

Congratulations on your firstborn! You'll find that your outgoing personality and varied work history has equipped you for parenthood (fatherhood, I presume). Children love to suddenly change activities, break stuff, and get sick.

My dad once told me that he's surprised I didn't go into the music industry because I was obsessed with all aspects of music as a child. As a Sunday school teacher, leading praise songs while praying over sick children is a necessity for sanity. ;-)

Esther Murray says...

Really great to hear your experiences J. Thank you for commenting and contributing to the discussion!

And to 'guest', good luck as you venture into motherhood and a new world of discovery! I'm so glad you are finding this blog helpful. Thanks.

Esther

J. (not verified) says...

Thanks and you're welcome, Esther (a great book and heroine in the Bible, btw)! :-)

Esther Murray says...

Or perhaps I should say good luck as you venture into 'parenthood'... :)

Scott Stratton (not verified) says...

Wonderful article! More on that in another comment, but had to add in: the best answer I have ever heard to "what is the difference between a 'P' and and 'J' as asked by above was by a Quora user whose name I cannot, unfortunately, remember:

"Consider speed limits: a J sees speed limits as laws that are clearly wrong to break; a P sees them as "guidelines" with "fees" attached, which you might have to pay if you decide to ignore them."

I am not saying it quite correctly - the original was pithier (is that a word?) - but I can'find it at the moment

Cheers! :-)

Miriam Gordon (not verified) says...

As a 53-year old INFP, I've learned that the more you know about yourself and your trait, the better off you will be. Because it will allow you to understand how you work. What motivates INFPs, as you pointed out, are idealistic ideas. The INFP brain generally responds to different kinds of rewards than most other types do, so modulating the way INFPs set up rewards for themselves will allow them to do the most important "mundane tasks" in their lives. For me, tidying up the house, paying bills, food shopping, cooking, etc. is all for the good of my family. I'm happy when my husband's happy and well (we have no children), so that's my reward.

Thanks for sharing your perspective. It's so important for INFPs to have resources like this so we know we're not alone.

Esther Murray says...

Thank you Miriam. I too have found that having an understanding of how we work leads to an acceptance of ourselves (and others) and helps to make sense of our differences and conflicts. Finding reward in other's being happy is definitely a motivator for me too, paired with knowing my home life will run more smoothly.
I too am encouraged knowing other's share my struggles and my understand my perspective!
Esther

Guest (not verified) says...

Wonderful article. As an INFP male it is hard to focus on sensory tasks - building spreadsheets, evaluating data etc. These ideas - setting a time limit to focus, rewarding myself, and most of all having compassion for my traits and disinclinations - look like they will help me get through my day.

Thank you!

Esther Murray says...

Great feedback! I'd love to hear if any of these ideas work for you.
Esther

Lindsay G (not verified) says...

Oh my goodness... I read this title and short description of the blog and immediately thought 'well this sums me up pretty much to a tee' - in fact I just wrote a blog post about why my husband and I are heading off to Uganda to 4 months to volunteer. Basically because working a 9-5 just seems so mundane. I'm sure we have many characteristics in common. Thanks for the wonderful blog! You can check out my very amateur blog at www.letsallagree.com

Warm Regards,

Lindsay

Esther Murray says...

It's such a great feeling knowing we are not alone! Volunteering in Uganda sounds like a wonderfully challenging adventure. I will definitely check out your blog! All the best for the next 4 months and beyond as you figure out what's next. Esther

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank you for your article! I feel like this personality type nails me to the T, pretty well. I have found that making a list in my calendar of things to do, and then checking it off, gets me going in a productive manner. Adding time limits to chores I would rather not do has helped me get started on them and get them done.

If it were up to me, I would be brainstorming ideas for a living. However, I am now a SAHM and finding inspiration in the Bible, library books, Facebook posts, and daily life with family.

Esther Murray says...

Great to hear that you've found effective ways to motivate you to be productive. I really believe that finding inspiration outside of the mundane is so imperative to keep from getting weighed down by the everyday. Thanks for your comment. Esther

Guest (not verified) says...

What if it's not a mindless task? What if it's homework or something?
Nice article, by the way~

Esther Murray says...

Thanks for your comment and question.
You're right, sometimes it's also hard to get motivated on non-mindless tasks but I think that a lot of the suggestions could work very well in these situations too. Writing a priority list of what is most important to get finished, rewarding yourself after achieving a certain amount of work, setting a timer and breaking it down into small, achievable sections could all be helpful. I find even playing music can help to stimulate my mind and help me feel less drained (during my exam preparations I often had the radio playing). Finding motivation from the possibility of negative consequences for an uncompleted task (consequences either in my mind or in reality)can sometimes be the best place for me to compel myself into action.
There are no magic fixes, but perhaps you could try a few different ideas to see what works and explore further from there.
I'd love to hear how you go.
Esther

Andelene (not verified) says...

I am so grateful that I found this site! Since I started reading about INFP's, I understand myself much better and don't feel like I actually belong on some other planet anymore. Thank you for writing down in detail what I often find difficult to make peace with. This site has given me understanding, acceptance and some inner peace.

Esther Murray says...

So great to hear from you Andelene. So, so good that you are coming to a better understanding and acceptance of yourself. I too have often felt I just might be from some other planet and have had to find a place of comfort and peace in my own skin. Thanks for commenting. Esther

HollySpaz (not verified) says...

So, for many years, every time I took the M-B, I came out as ENTP. I took it again this past January, and came out as INTP.

But reading your piece, I can totally relate to everything here -- particularly how challenging it is for me to conjure up the motivation needed to attack mundane day-to-day tasks!

For me, it's not everything -- but it is a lot, and it does frustrate me. For example, I have no problem with doing dishes or laundry. But wading through the endless stream of mail and paper that simply comes with adulting drives me nuts. I did manage a few years ago to break the habit of hanging on to catalogs -- I trained myself to adhere to a strict policy of not even looking at catalogs unless I'm already actively searching for something. Now it's all of the "official" crap -- I'm fine with bills (pay 'em and pitch 'em), but all of the other paperwork that I receive from my bank, and credit card companies, and utilities -- UGH! Not sure what it is in me or where it comes from, but I seem to have this tendency to be hyper-vigilant about paper -- like, unless I have a chance to review it, I worry that I may throw something away that's important -- ? When I know full well that EVERYTHING can be retrieved or replaced these days!

I tend to struggle with most repeated chores. Again, laundry and dishes being the exception -- though I pretty much live out of laundry baskets. Why? -- because it seems pointless to me to sort, fold and put away clothes and towels that I am just going to unpack to use again. And dusting! -- GAWD! There's something absolutely maddening to me about doing things that I know I'm just going to have to repeat again in the very near future. Same with washing the car. I think it's because chores like that consume a good deal of time, if you do them right -- but right at the point that I become comfortable about having a shiny car, or clean windows, or waxed floors -- it's time to do it again!!

#thestruggleisreal

Esther Murray says...

Yes Hollyspaz, the struggle IS definitely real!! And it's so comforting to know that we are in this together! The perfectionist tendency to do it right, if it is to be done at all, is something I know too well - and yes, the pointlessness of repeated tasks when there are so many better things to explore and discover!
Thank you so much for your thoughts. Esther

Laura Lee (not verified) says...

I enjoyed this article, i already have many of these coping skills so for me it was more of a reminder that i am not alone. I struggle with finding that feeling of acceptance and completeness in my life. From the outside view and when i logically think it out my life is perfect. Well trained dog, great partner/fiance, job benefits, school, my own pretty looks, etc. So i feel selfish that i still want more. My desk job drains my soul most days i work on a kids cancer hospital unit and i fight the feeling that i should be doing more, be more on a daily basis. I work out, do yoga and meditate every day and i still struggle. I need more people who want to talk about life's possibilities and the what ifs just because they can. If anyone knows of a site or some way more of us can connect feel free to share!

Esther Murray says...

Hi Laura Lee, thanks for your comment.
It's encouraging that you are already using a lot of coping skills and they are working for you. I totally resonate with the 'logical' berating of yourself to be more grateful but somehow still feeling dissatisfied and always wanting to make changes or improvements. It's a shame that your job is so draining on you and you haven't got an outlet to explore the ideas and possibilities that feed your soul.
There are forums on the internet that relate directly to personality types, including one that you can join here at TRUITY. While the working out, yoga and meditation are feeding and growing your body, perhaps you could also explore local groups like book clubs (if you enjoy reading) that share meaning and ideas around life. It can be hard to find just the right outlet for this deep discussion but I hope you can do some exploring and find ways to energise and feed your soul.
All the best, Esther

http://www.truity.com/conversations/types

Dan Laumann (not verified) says...

I'm an ENTP & I struggle with the "drain" of, well, anything that isn't new, different, experimental, etc. One heuristic that has worked for me is to drop the use of the term "coping". To me it implies a linear causality where your environment controls you. The environment never changes no matter what you do. Alternatively, from my research on the epistemology of evolution, sustainability, and resilience; I suggest using adapt, evolve, or better yet co-adapt or co-evolve. Would be interested to hear any feedback on the the idea!!

Esther Murray says...

Hi Dan, Thanks for your comment, these are certainly very insightful considerations. I'm not sure I can give particularly intelligent feedback as my understanding of this is limited. If I understand correctly however, at it's very basic, the idea of adapting or evolving to the environment is often the only way to go in order to thrive rather than only 'survive' or 'cope'. My reserve however would be to watch that we don't lose the essence of our unique personality in our adapting. Thanks again, Esther

Andrés Currea from Colombia (not verified) says...

Thanks for doing this post; your ideas to get focus and getting energy may be helpful for me; you`re pretty creative.

Esther Murray says...

Thanks for your encouragement Andrés. It would be great to hear whether any of these ideas are helpful! Esther

Paulus (not verified) says...

Thank you for this article. As an INFP male, enthusiasm for routine is not my default setting. Thich Nhat Hanh really helped me to employ the principles of mindfulness to the things that I do, which has helped to cultivate patience and awareness of what I am doing. Things such as washing the dishes and doing laundry, even picking up after the dogs in the back yard - all of these are opportunities to be 100% with where I am standing and not rushing to get through a task that is not my favorite.

Thank you again, I love this site and the articles by your team.

Paul

Esther Murray says...

Yes, mindfulness has so many benefits and is something I continually need to work on. Thanks for your comment Paul!

Sanjida Shaheed (not verified) says...

I am an INFP and although I understand the value of routine and habits, I struggle in these areas. I am learning to let go of what I CAN live without. It is okay if my home does not look stellar. It is okay if I am not as outgoing as others. I can live with that. Finally. I feel safe to be me. I feel ready to embrace who I am. A person who thrives when she deals with things that interest her - things like ideas and creativity and new learning opportunities. The world needs all types.

Esther Murray says...

That is a really great perspective Sanjida Shaheed. To come to a place of contentment and acceptance in who you are and the strengths you bring to the world is the best place to be. Thank you.

amira.firdaus says...

Hi,
Like you I am an INFP as well. And I usually tend to write really long (long winded??) comments. But I think this one will be short because I am sleepy. Just wanted to share that energizing music really helps me too. My "work" music is Sheen Easton's morning train. I used to play it on a loop - all day and all night(!) when I was writing my postgrad thesis.

And re podcasts, if want to stay awake or not feel like I am "wasting time" doing repetitive tasks or mundane activities - I listen to lectures and talks.

A running I joke I like to tell my husband and my son is - "I'll listen to a lecture so I can stay awake". I find it hilarious :-) But they always tell me I shouldn't tell jokes. They think I am ridiculously bad at it. Others may agree with them. But being an INFP, I am very comfortable with entertaining myself with my own jokes.

Yup - I am getting long winded.
I should shut off the computer and get some shut eye. Or do some chores. Or catch up with work...we'll see happens after I type the last letter.

Anyways, thanks for sharing your tools :-)

Esther Murray says...

Hi Amira, whether or not your jokes are bad, your comment was entertaining! :) Good to hear of others who find music and podcasts helpful. Thanks for your comment.

Vivek (not verified) says...

Hey...nicely put...it's like reading about you when you have actually not written it...it's identical to what i feel and how i react...i know you are not a therapist..but i think,as you have expressed so much,you can suggest me. I do feel that everybody else is so organized and is with a goal and believe me i feel like a plastic bag in the wind...Moreover every now and then i have to face comparisons with all those who have "achieved" something....i am a software engineer and had worked as a marketeer...but at the end of the day....i feel empty as my ideas are too difficult for the mass people to comprehend...though i see the connection...please tell me, i mean if you could, how to be realistic!! :P

Esther Murray says...

Thanks for your comment Vivek. It is certainly encouraging to know that there are others in the world so like ourselves! It seems you are working with people that think and function quite differently to you and this must be a constant challenge. I'm not sure I can give you any wise advice without knowing you or your situation in detail. I realise it is not always easy, but perhaps you could seek out someone outside of your work environment who is excited by your ideas. Perhaps you could engage with them at a different level but still get on with your job. I wish you all the best in finding ways to explore this dilemma. All the best, Esther

gabrielle.miller.h says...

Wow, that sounds exactly like me! Thanks for the ideas.

Esther Murray says...

Thanks Gabrielle! I hope some of the strategies have been helpful for you.

LW (not verified) says...

Thank you for this article! This describes me perfectly. I have been struggling with this exact issue. I found this so helpful

Esther Murray says...

I am encouraged to that this was helpful to you LW. I hope you have had some success in implementing some strategies.

Guest (not verified) says...

As an INFP I relate to this immensley. From the time I have been a young child, I have lived in constant clutter for the sake of creative endeavors. Mundane, but necessary tasks such as making doctor appointments or cleaning the house often seem unbearable and I find myself putting them off for weeks. Luckily, my partner is an INTJ and helps keep me Balanced! Strangely enough, in the workplace or in an academic setting I have always been highly organized and high achieving....

Esther Murray says...

I find it really interesting regarding your high level of organisation in the workplace and academic setting. I didn't mention this in my article but I too am very efficient, organised and high achieving in these environments. I believe this is partly why I am very hard on myself when I struggle to focus and achieve on the home front. Thanks for your comment.

Guest (not verified) says...

I have tested as INFP but it's curious how routines help me feel productive throughout the day. Otherwise, I would only feel bad for scrolling through things looking for inspiration.

Thank you for your article. This helped me a lot. :)

Esther Murray says...

Thank you. Routines are an interesting beast - so hard to keep (for me) but certainly can make for a more productive day.

Rachel Winchester (not verified) says...

Oh this is so helpful! I struggle so much with accomplishing daily mundane tasks and now I understand why. Dinner really is so much easier to cook when I listen to a podcast while cooking! I'm going to start trying to implement a few of your suggestions.

Esther Murray says...

Fantastic Rachel! Good luck with making them your own. Esther

Gemika (not verified) says...

Yep! I find the podcast tip soooo true and helpful. I can't stand doing housework without something to engage my brain while doing these mundane things. I am a SAHM with three boys as well.

Guest (not verified) says...

Thank you for allowing me to know that I am 1) not alone and 2) not entirely crazy.  Always feeling I have to hide who I truly am because I am not as organized, consistent, etc. as others.  Now I know that this is me and there are ways to address the impulsiveness and to be comfortable with the me that I am.  I think that I will revisit this article as I attempt to begin cleaning and organizing more, etc.  LOL.  Again, thank you.

Esther Murray says...

Thank you 'guest' for your comment. It can be such a breakthrough when we really come to understand that we are not alone in our struggles and also learn to appreciate the beautiful parts of ourselves that we can share with those around us! Good luck with the cleaning and organizing! 

Oana (not verified) says...

Wow, thank you Murray for taking the time to write this article. It comes to me at a time I'm struggling to get out of a personal low and I've basically ran out of ideas. I started going to sport group classes (machines are too boring) and calling out to my friends in help. Your article reminds me of the usefulness I have, the good I can bring into this world. I hope I can put in practice your advice :) Hopefully in time I can get my spark of passion back. You know an ENTP is not well when she is hiding quietly in a cubicle not doing the stuff she is ordered to do. If only I could turn this around somehow...

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