INFP Organizing Profile

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INFP Organizing Style

I am absolutely thrilled at the response to this series so far! If you’re just jumping in, I suggest that you go back and read Learn About Organizing for Personality Types and How does the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® work? for background information.

INFP stands for Introverted – Intuitive – Feeling – Perceiving.

INFP Organizing Strengths

Individuals with INFP type preferences typically use a calendar system effectively (more on that below).

INFP Organizing Challenges

People who prefer Perceiving like to live in a flexible, spontaneous way, seeking to experience life rather than control it. Detailed plans and final decisions feel confining to them – they prefer to stay open to new information and last-minute options. This preference causes INFPs to be easily distracted, and along with the Feeling preference, leads them to stop what they’re doing whenever someone wants to talk to them. In addition, they admit to having a tendency to take on more than they can handle.

INFPs indicated that they sometimes struggle with the following:

  • Forgetting about social activities, birthdays, anniversaries, other special occasions, meetings, appointments, and tasks that aren’t on their “to do” list
  • Prioritizing tasks and activities
  • Procrastination
  • Hoarding and clutter issues
  • Sentimental attachment to certain objects

This anecdote shared by an INFP describes it well.

Until recently, my living room was filled (boxes, piles on floor, heaps on tables) with “pretty” pieces of wood, interesting copper do-hickeys, intriguing road finds etc., that I might, sometime in the next 20 years or maybe only in my dreams, use in a sculpture or crafts project.

I say “until recently” because recently, I was forced to have a group of people to my house. No more meeting socially in pizza places! For a long time, I’d been getting my prescribed daily exercise by leaping over the piles of “whatever” strewn over my kitchen, living room, bedroom and backroom floor; with a bit more practice, I might have become a contender for some broad jumping championship. I knew that the cats enjoyed the challenge of such leaping too, so I had no motivation to clean. When I learned that I **had** to have people over and couldn’t whine or beg my way out of it, I panicked. “Just do a little tidying,” some said, but that seemed like a month-long project of blood, sweat and tears of boredom.

Well, I did capitalize on the social taboos about sneaking peeks at others’ bedrooms. My bedroom is now bed-high with clutter, but the kitchen floor is visible in most places, except where hidden under hairballs.

Meanwhile, my car is an archeological dig, with the earliest year’s clutter at the bottom and newest junk at the top. Fortunately, I haven’t suffered the fate of one INFP, who realized that a family of mice had taken up quarters in his car (well stocked with crusty, forgotten McDonald’s wrappers), when one darted under his foot at an intersection. Me, I say that the mess “burglar proofs” my car; what cop-dodging thief is going to claw through layers of my life, in hopes of finding a diamond among the moldy scraps.

Oh yeah, amidst all this clutter are about 10 clocks, supposedly to remind me of Time. All bought with good intentions – never mind that 8 of the 10 are stopped at whatever hour, that one runs but that I’ve never bothered to push the hands 5 hours forward to the correct time, and that only one registers the real time (within a half hour’s accuracy).

I tell people that I have a high tolerance for chaos because I’m oblivious to most of my environment. Usually, I just don’t see the cobwebs or the clutter; I’m habituated to them and they become invisible -until I smell a mouse rotting *somewhere* and have to track in through the mess.

INFP Time Management Systems

INFPs have a variety of time management system preferences, encompassing both paper-based and electronic systems.

Survey respondents described their systems (in the early 2000s) as follows:

  • One successfully managed her busy schedule with a PDA synced with Outlook on her work computer.
  • One used a Palm Pilot for scheduling and alarms. She liked being able to print her calendar and have the entire month in front of her.
  • One used a paper “when she thought of it,” sometimes recording completed tasks for reference. She occasionally used a computer calendar as well.
  • One designed her own multi-ring planning system.

Learn More

For more insight into the INFP organizing style, read about Organic Freedoms on Pixies Did It.

For a broader view of the INFP personality type, check out the following resources:

Keep in mind that we are all unique, and even people sharing the same type preferences will not be the same in every way. Personality type is only one factor to consider when developing organizing solutions for your clients.

Are you an INFP?

Help others understand your personality type and organizing style by answering one or more of the following questions in the Comments:

  1. What are your organizing strengths?
  2. What are your organizing challenges or weaknesses?
  3. What organizing strategies work well for you?
  4. What are your time management strengths?
  5. What are your time management challenges or weaknesses?
  6. What time management strategies work well for you?
  7. What type of calendar(s) do you use?

Photo © jacoblundphoto / depositphotos

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A former professional organizer, I now eliminate stress for my clients by hosting, monitoring, and maintaining their WordPress sites so they don’t have to worry about security, downtime or performance issues. When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

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  1. Avatar Jamie Steele on September 19, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    I am an IFNP! This profile fits me to a tee. I use a combination of Outlook and OneNote to handle appointments and tasks. I am almost never late thanks to my systems. I need to work on being too early. Although I have a schedule, I am happiest when I can bounce from project to project. I do have a clutter problem because I like to jump from project to project, but I am super fast at categorizing and whipping a space back into shape. I schedule maintenance for areas like my office so my piles don’t become too overwhelming. Thanks so much for the series, Janet. I am really enjoying it.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on September 20, 2016 at 9:27 am

      Thanks very much for sharing, Jamie! There is a lot of misconception that you have to be a “J” to be a professional organizer. You are living proof that anyone can learn to be organized.

  2. Avatar Matt Luy on January 30, 2019 at 10:34 am

    Hello! One of my organization habits that works for me is keeping business cards, notes and appointment cards clipped to my fridge. I used to keep appointments in my phone but I would often forget to check them. With them on the fridge I notice them frequently and since I enjoy rummaging through stacks of mystery papers I am inclined to look through them often. I no longer miss appointments =]. Also I am indeed infp.

  3. Avatar Lenka on December 5, 2019 at 3:46 am

    Hello Janet,
    thanks for great article 🙂 As an INFP, too, I can confirm the calendar thing – we have a big one in the kitchen and every event or celebration goes there and it works well for me. Also, we have a magnetic white board on the fridge where our running gorcery list is placed, sort of a meal plan ideas and a space for reminders. While working, I was using a simple weekly planner as well. Now, as a stay-at-home-mom of 3 little kids, I use a (never-ending) to-do list… I struggle with procrastination most. I need to be actively searching for motivation based on my values, or some kind of incentive or reward 🙂 to keep me going through daily repetitiveness. The best what I can recommend is to find a person on the opposite of the personality scale. My best friend is an ESTJ and our relationship has helped me a lot in this area of life.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on December 5, 2019 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you for sharing, Lenka! I’ve also had friends and co-workers who had very different personality types to mine and it worked well because we offset each other’s weaknesses.

  4. Avatar TBL on March 20, 2022 at 10:20 pm

    I absolutely can confirm with calendar thing. I dabbled with bullet journal, weekly and daily (hourly) planners and they all worked up to certain points. The one thing that worked most effectively is calendar — I have it set up so that I have multiple calendars for different categories and can turn them on/off as needed. This way, I can share some things easily with family for better awareness. I have monthly view of calendar as a widget on my smartphone one screen and a daily view widget as well so that always helps me keep on track with what’s upcoming. When I feel overwhelmed, I try to do hourly schedule but sometimes that starts to feel too restrictive and if I miss anything, there comes guilt…

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on March 21, 2022 at 12:37 pm

      As an ISTJ, I’m very detail-oriented, but even I find an hourly schedule too restrictive! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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