So you’re now overwhelmed with “laziness” and started searching for a cure. I feel you.
INFPs, also known as the Dreamers in the 16 Myers-Briggs personality types, are known for their procrastination and spontaneity. They rarely follow schedules and love to cancel trips planned way ahead of time.
INFP means Introverted-iNtuitive-Feeling-Prospecting. I don’t know why, but these 4 aspects of INFPs just shout “Procrastination” to me.
- Introvert – prefers time alone
- iNtuitive – loves imagining the future
- Feeling – decides by what they feel
- Prospecting – waits for last-minute changes
See? The worst combinations for productivity, really. But don’t worry. I’ll tell you a solution to your procrastinating problems in the next few minutes.
Why do INFPs procrastinate?
Let’s go in-depth with why INFPs procrastinate. Here are a few reasons:
1. Disliking forced obligations
INFPs are free spirits who feel overwhelmed with forced obligations. They love freedom and flexibility whether in jobs, businesses, or household chores. When someone obliges them with responsibilities they already know in the first place, it irritates them. Worse, they become anxious about it. The more they feel locked up in the situation, the more they abhor doing it.
2. Easily distracted with new interests
How’s your novel going? Did you just start another story and leave the previous one unfinished? Wow. Sounds familiar.
Since INFPs’ minds never stop reeling, new ideas just keep popping out. Today, you’re writing a romantic short story. Before you even finish chapter one, you start writing another storyline. Hence, you don’t finish any projects at all.
3. INFPs love instant gratification
INFPs get excited with new ideas because they envision how success would look and feel. They dreamt of becoming a multi-millionaire. They reckon on fame and popularity. In the midst of their fantasies, INFPs just feel overpowering success despite having no plan, yet.
However, many INFPs surrender to boredom when their first few steps haven’t made any results. Since there’s no instant gratification, INFPs immediately resign from an idea and procrastinate on their dreams.
4. They got a lot of free time
According to Parkinson’s Law, the more time you have, the longer you will finish a task.
Remember when you were a high school kid? You will only do your projects a day before the deadline. It’s the same for INFPs. If they know a project will only take an hour to complete, they will procrastinate on it for the whole week. Free time means procrastination time.
How can INFP stop procrastinating?
Now, how does an INFP overcome procrastination? To be honest, there’s no quick fix. Becoming a prospecting type means your preferences and strategies towards work include spontaneity, flexibility, and waiting out for last-minute changes. We can change it, but it would be a gradual process.
Can an INFP stop procrastination? INFP and procrastination can work together. Let’s think about it this way: procrastination isn’t an affliction, but an attribute we can sail with. We don’t dispatch it, we use it for our own benefit.
We can’t batter our INFP selves just to overcome procrastination. From my experience, the more you break away from it, the more it takes a toll. Instead of becoming more productive, you fall to a lot of burnout.
5 Healthful Ways INFPs Overcome Procrastination
I’d say forcing ourselves out of our character would do even more damage. As I experimented with what works and what doesn’t work for me as an INFP, I discovered a healthier way how INFPs stop procrastinating. Here are the 5 ways I do it:
1. Stop looking at success way ahead of time.
I learned to set a goal, and then leave it at that. Don’t think about it too much.
INFPs are idealistic, ambitious, and success-driven. However, we have tendencies to live success within our own fantasies. Because imagining success is already ecstasy, when we look back to the imperfect reality, we’re like, “nah”.
You say, “Oh, I didn’t imagine it like this. There’s gotta be something wrong.” And because the current reality doesn’t make you happy, you become demotivated.
Did you know, your imagination often fools you? The grandiose success you’re imagining is overrated. Success is a temporary feeling. After reaching the top, you move on. That’s it.
I challenge you to start living in the present.
The real fulfillment lies in gathering experiences and seeing yourself grow. Here’s my challenge to you:
Challenge yourself for 60 days. Start growing your skills. Disregard fantasies. Disregard material outputs. Let’s focus on skill (which means you must have experienced it, not idealized about it). Whenever you learn a skill, however small, list it down.
Here are a few of my examples:
- I learned how to make a video file using Microsoft PowerPoint.
- Using the “Brittany” Font on Canva looks better than using “Playlist Script”
- I learned how to put my e-signature on a PDF file.
- I learned that badminton smashes require forearm rotation.
The skills above are my own little experiences. I’m in awe as I tell myself, “Wow, I didn’t know this until today!” Bam. Do you realize that’s growth?
After 60 days, ask yourself this question, “How much did I grow in 2 months”?
Success doesn’t always have to be monumental. You will be fascinated by how much you can grow from little things. And you will start loving it, just like I did. Stop looking at success way ahead of time. But start watching out for what you’re learning today.
If you did this challenge, drop me an e-mail and show me your list! I’d love to hear about it!
2. Do every plan you want, and put it on your schedule.
Parkinson’s law – when you have a lot of time, you have a lot to waste. You’re wasting time because you don’t know what to do with your spare.
Yet, we INFPs have a lot of interests and we want to do everything. You want to write, cook, and learn video editing. Do sports, attend seminars, and feed your spirituality. You have different career paths in mind, too.
But your only problem is, you can’t decide what to do. You’re so talented that you feel like everything’s your calling.
Unfortunately, procrastination sometimes rooted in INFP’s indecisiveness. People tell you to focus on one. But because you can’t choose one, you feel stuck.
Thankfully, I have advice for you that has worked for me. I go by my own saying, “When in doubt, I do everything out.” Do everything. Don’t suppress yourself. That idea will keep stomping on your peace of mind, just like your annoying niece. You need to do something about it.
Trying is a crucial part for INFPs. Only by trying you will realize what you really want in life and which ones you can let go of.
As the list narrows down, at the end of the day, you will be left only with the activities that truly resonate with your values.
3. Involve other people
If you have goals, you need to get moving. To get moving, you need to set deadlines. As a matter of fact, INFPs hate deadlines, but they need them. It makes you all panicky and that’s good to keep you working. The best deadlines aren’t those they set for themselves. Sometimes, you can’t trust yourself to follow your own schedule. You need a 3rd party here.
Have other people set deadlines for you. Maybe it’s an employer or a busy friend whom you don’t want to disappoint. The more professional these people are, the better. ENFJs or INTJs are implementers and are great personality types to work with an INFP. Their actions will surely inspire (and terrify) you to finish deadlines and complete your tasks.
4. Monitor your productivity by the hour
I count my productivity by the hour. It makes me panic, so yeah, it’s effective. Furthermore, as what I’ve said in #2, my schedule is packed with plans, and #3, people are already involved so I must not waste my hour.
I’ve set up my own schedule and had people involved in it. I need a lot to do so whenever I waste my time, I’m like:
“What the heck, I spent an hour scrolling? I could’ve written a draft post with that.”
“If I go now, it would only take me 2 hours, then I will be home by then.”
“In 3 hours, I should finish this blog post.”
“I will play badminton at 4:30. I’ll play for 2 hours and be back to finish more work.”
Make a lot of plans that involve other people. Then, scare yourself with how many hours you wasted compared to the number of hours you could’ve been productive. It’s effective!
5. Allot time for procrastination
Here’s the thing. No INFP can go on and on with a busy life and not get burned out. I, too, feel burnt out despite doing the list of tasks I love. I go hermit mode and it’s alright.
Put rest time on your schedule. Because if you don’t, you will hate the whole process and never step back at it again. When you feel like all these things are draining you, stop for a while. Take your moment of peace. It’s alright.
- Deadlines set pressure for us to work.
- Procrastination allows us to recharge.
Productivity tips that don’t work for INFPs
Rewards don’t work on INFPs. At first, INFPs think that earning money is their top priority. But in the long run, when the job becomes meaningless and toxic, INFPs will leave it despite the great benefits.
Rewarding yourself after completing a task won’t make you feel more productive. We don’t feed on rewards. We feed on inner peace, fulfillment, and meaning. To really avoid INFP procrastination, you must involve yourself in what you’re passionate about that resonates with your core values.
Following a strict schedule
We love planning, alright. I don’t know how much paper I wasted to write a strict schedule for myself. But you know what, I never followed any of those schedules.
I know you’re guilty, too. Don’t you dare deny it.
The better solution for INFPs is to just flow with it. Follow the steps above like, filling up your week with things you want to do, involving or inviting other people to work with you, and monitoring the little growths.
However random your schedule might be, as long as you’re not down there mindlessly scrolling on Facebook or watching Netflix, then it’s gonna be worth it.
INFPs need to embrace their character. Truth be told, some INFP attributes are troublesome. But if we go back to the core of why we do things, we will realize that there’s a different, yet better response to our own character and identity.
Going back to the basics, INFP procrastination isn’t an affliction. It’s part of who we are. Before, I tried to go against my character and become an extrovert, become so friendly, so disciplined, and such. But in the long run, it’s torture.
Do you know what that means? We’re not built that way, so after getting tired of pretending to be someone I’m not, I went back on my own track. Realize what’s in you and use it to your advantage. There’s strength in it.
I believe we function differently for a purpose. We are created this way to consummate a bigger plan. We must accept and love ourselves while nurturing the best of what’s given to us.
That’s how to deal with procrastination as an INFP. That’s how we INFP through life.
Take care, God bless!
For a more in-depth discussion about INFP procrastination, check out my “Not Lazy, Just INFP” E-book
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