8 tips for INFJs to increase productivity
Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you have a really productive day? Do you swing from increased productivity to struggling with motivation? If you answered yes to both of these, I want to share eight tips that will help you set yourself up for daily success so you can have that feeling of accomplishment on a daily basis.
Many INFJ women I work with want to increase their productivity because it fuels their feelings of success. Yet many struggle with motivation to accomplish their tasks, even though they know it makes them feel successful. In a survey I conducted of over 100 INFJ women, 85% want to increase their productivity and 89% struggle with motivation either frequently or occasionally.
By putting a few routines, limits, and practical items in place, you can be productive on a regular basis and find your motivation when it disappears.
1. Set realistic limits on what you want to accomplish in a day.
INFJs tend to have a lot of ideas. In that same survey, 97% of INFJ women said they struggle with so many ideas that it keeps them from getting started. It's easy to create a list of 20 items that you'd like to accomplish in a day. Idealists have no problem seeing all the things they want to do. Creating large lists and consistently carrying items over to the next day creates frustration and overwhelm—two enemies of productivity. Start each day with a realistic list of what can be accomplished. In general, choose no more than three items you'd like to check off your list each day.
2. Connect your tasks to your values.
Connect your daily list of three things you want to accomplish to what matters most—your values. This means identifying your values and your big-picture goals that fulfill those values. Make sure every task that makes it on your to-do list moves you closer to your big-picture goal. It's hard to motivate yourself for tasks that aren't connected to your values.
3. Schedule each week.
At the beginning of each week, or the end of the previous week, determine what you'd like to accomplish. Schedule blocks of time in your calendar for your three tasks each day. Leave some open spots in your schedule to use for tasks that take longer than expected or for unexpected, yet high priority, opportunities. Keep your commitment to your schedule because it means you're doing what's most important and valuable to you.
4. Recognize your resistance.
If you find yourself avoiding a task or procrastinating, evaluate your feelings. Did you include a task on your list that's not actually connected to your values? For INFJs, this can happen easily. We're frequently focused on helping and serving others. You may find your entire schedule devoted to someone else's agenda and values if you don't follow through with #2. If there's a fear attached to the task, pinpoint the root of the fear. If you want the task to stay, see #2—connect it in some way to fulfilling your values.
5. Use tools to help you stay on task.
INFJs are planners. But we can still get distracted even with a planned and scheduled week. Some of my favorite tools to stay on task include the Freedom app for social media. Freedom allows you to control when you can access your social media sites. I also love to use a timer for the blocks of time I've scheduled in my day. I find that I can get very involved in a task and lose track of time. Awareness of the timer keeps me focused on completing the task at hand in the block of time I've given myself. Even if I lose track of time, the gentle alarm I've set brings me back to reality. If you're like me, you can also be derailed by a constant stream of ideas. I love using Evernote to capture all my ideas as they come to me. I feel confident returning to the task at hand because I know I've captured my idea for later use.
6. Make self-care a priority.
Build breaks into your schedule in which you do something just for yourself. Regularly schedule a self-care day in which you rest and recover and actively resist burnout. INFJs typically aren't great at taking care of themselves but self-care helps you maintain your productivity. Look at your tasks and decide how much down time you might need before certain activities. Then decide how much recovery time is needed with activities that take a lot of your energy.
7. Set and respect your boundaries.
This includes when you check and respond to email and the opportunities you'll take on. Respect the daily limits you set for how much you'll strive to accomplish in a day. Respect the schedule you've created. Decide what you can handle and be kind to yourself by staying within those boundaries. It's easy to help one more person or add one more thing to your list. Remind yourself that your limits will help you stay productive. If you find yourself outside your boundaries, take a break and start fresh instead of beating yourself up.
8. Keep track of and celebrate your progress.
Keep a daily list of what you've accomplished or regularly schedule time every week or month to review your accomplishments. This will remind you that you actually are making progress. This simple act of reviewing and celebrating helps you give yourself credit for what you've done. When you feel your motivation waning, revisit this list. In your review process, take note of the days when you felt highly productive. Identify any themes and replicate those conditions in your weekly schedule.
Have no fear of perfection; you'll never reach it. Nothing in life is to be feared; it is only to be understood. - Marie Curie