It’s no secret that INTPs are not the most organized, but there are steps you can take to get better at it — and even excel at it.
If INTPs are known for anything, it’s that we’re not the most organized. When I first attempted to get more organized, I thought it would help me complete my projects and goals. But instead, it led to a flood of emotions. I was able to plan a lot, but because my plans were still unorganized, I had a hard time implementing the steps to actually achieve my goals.
For example, I’d nonchalantly switch from Concept A to Idea B. I often felt lost since I had so many interests — I could never figure out what I wanted to do or what to focus on first.
Someone once advised me to concentrate on only one thing at a time and master it. As Taylor Swift sings in “Cardigan,” “A friend to all is a friend to none.” As a result of trying to juggle too many things at once – and constantly switching from one to the next without a game plan — I was unable to complete any task.
Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore and devised a workable plan so I could actually get things done. If you’re an INTP — and even if you’re not — hopefully the below can work for you, too.
(What’s your personality type? We recommend this free personality assessment.)
7 Ways to Be More Organized as an INTP
1. Write it all down.
I’m carrying three notebooks — one for expressing gratitude, one for writing, and one for planning. Because I am a daydreamer — like many introverts are — I come up with a lot of ideas. So, to clear my head, I jot down all of those thoughts in my planning notebook. I discovered that the reason I couldn’t focus, or occasionally forgot about my ideas the next day, was because my brain was always pursuing new ones while discarding old ones.
I, like many other INTPs, spend much of my time in my head. So, more often than not, I become lost till the day is nearly over and realize I haven’t accomplished anything. This is why INTPs are often labeled as “lazy,” although we’re simply overwhelmed and lost in our imagination.
Taking notes, on the other hand, changed my life. I still forget things from time to time, but my notebook is a great tool that holds me accountable. Even if it’s only a simple thing, like buying a new item of clothing or wanting to view a certain YouTube video, I write it all down.
2. Be specific in writing things down.
Once you do the above, you need to get specific about what you write down. The majority of INTPs enjoy planning, but struggle to put their plans into action. I’ll admit that I’ve been guilty of this, too, and procrastination also plays a role.
We generally aren’t a fan of details, yet they’re essential if we want to get things done. If you want to buy a car, for example, research is key, from determining the kind(s) of car you’d like to how much you can afford. So writing out the steps you need to take to get from “thinking about buying a car” to “buying a car” is important.
This applies regarding other facets of your life, too, of course. For instance, you can track your mood from day to day. Later on, perhaps a month later, you can read through your notes and look for patterns: Did certain things trigger a bad mood? A good mood? And so on.
3. Narrow your focus and combine your common interests.
It’s understandable if you’re unable to narrow your focus: You have numerous interests at the same time and it’s hard to choose just one. You also may have trouble letting go of any of them since you may be “attached” to the idea of each of them. So if you can’t decide, try combining them all.
I’m interested in psychology, astrology, witchcraft, writing, business, and digital marketing, for example. I was having trouble deciding which one to focus on first… until I saw a YouTube video that motivated me. I started by writing down all of my interests on a sheet of paper, and then I brainstormed about each one. The spiritual realm includes psychology, witchcraft, and astrology. But I’d like to start a fashion and culinary business, as well. And I aspire to be a writer. However, my ultimate goal is to open a spiritual restaurant with a library and fashion store. I may use internet marketing to promote my company. I may create a book about my subject matter and sell it in my restaurant. As you can see, I can implement them all in different ways without having to discard any.
4. Become a minimalist as much as you can.
Once I’ve written everything down, I ask myself, “Do I truly need to do all of these things? Or am I just fascinated with these ideas or things?” Having a lot of things to do might make us feel overwhelmed to the point that we can’t make a decision.
There are several reasons why humans want so many things at once. Perhaps we saw something online and are now inspired to have it — even though we may change our minds the next day. Does this sound familiar to you? The secret is to ask yourself, “Of all the things you desire, which ones make you feel the most excited?”
For instance, if my list is full of new clothes I want to buy, I look through my closet. I ask myself what I wear the most and what I wear the least. You can try this, too. You may not get rid of the outfit you don’t wear very often since you may be emotionally attached to it and think you’ll wear it “someday.” (It’s difficult to let go, I know.)
But, that said, the next time you go shopping for a new item of clothing, ask yourself, “How many times will I possibly wear this?” “Another thing we may consider is the price. Let’s assume a dress costs $500 and you think you’ll only wear it four times a year (since you’ll purchase another one eventually). As a result, each wear will be $125. Are you satisfied with the $125-per-wear price?
By thinking like this, I’ll sometimes cross out “things to buy” in my notebook once I really think about them more. And, the fewer “to do” (or “to buy”) items I have listed, the more manageable they all are and the less overwhelmed I’ll be.
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5. Start small: Focus on one goal per day.
When you have a lot on your plate, it helps to set deadlines for each item on your to-do list — not just work tasks, but personal ones, too. If you have seven tasks to complete today and only have 12 hours to complete them all, figure out how much time each will take and which ones must be done today. Can some wait?
If you try to do them all, you may get overwhelmed — even thinking about trying to do them all can be overwhelming, too. As a result, you may decide to do none of the items vs. at least one or two.
But if you tell yourself you’ll focus on one goal per day, it’s more manageable and realistic. And soon, you’ll do more than one task a day, as you’ll realize that that one thing didn’t take as long as you thought it would. Plus, if you just do one (or a few) a day, you won’t exhaust yourself and will have enough energy to tackle tomorrow’s tasks.
6. If one method doesn’t work, try a new one.
There is no such thing as a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Even if a dress says “one size fits all,” it doesn’t necessarily guarantee it will fit you nicely. Strategy A may not work for Project B, and vice-versa.
So there’s no harm in experimenting to see what works and what doesn’t. This is one of the advantages of being an INTP. We have a number of backups ready for our next strategy. Test each one until you find the one that is ideal for you. This can help alleviate stress, too. Going back to the dress analogy, if the “one size fits all” one doesn’t fit, move on instead of struggling to make it work.
Another reason INTPs can be labeled as “lazy” is that when things don’t work, we quit and go on to the next task so fast that we don’t finish anything. The trick here is to give each approach a chance to work; otherwise, you could become discouraged and think your strategy is ineffective. But, in actuality, it could be more about your approach and how you go about doing each task — which is where patience comes into play, too.
7. When you’re struggling, go back to your notebooks.
At the end of the day, keep in mind that you tried your best. (Of course, it helps to actually try your best every day in order to have this mentality.) To this point, I recommend keeping a separate notebook and writing down all of your accomplishments, as well as any challenges you’ve had, so you can keep track of what you need to work on. It also acts as a reminder of what you’ve accomplished thus far, which may help you avoid getting discouraged and keep your momentum going.
It’s natural to get discouraged sometimes when things don’t appear to be going your way, but it doesn’t mean you should give up. INTPs are passionate and dreamers, but it’s even more satisfying when we put our thoughts into action.
INTPs, what would you add to this list? Feel free to comment below!
Do you ever struggle to know what to say?
As an introvert, you actually have the ability to be an amazing conversationalist — even if you’re quiet and hate small talk. To learn how, we recommend this online course from our partner Michaela Chung. Click here to check out the Introvert Conversation Genius course.
You might like:
- 21 Signs That You’re an INTP, One of the Rarest Personality Types
- 9 Things INTPs Absolutely Hate
- These Are the Ideal Careers for Each Introverted Myers-Briggs Type
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