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INTP Organizing Profile

INTP Organizing Style

Today we continue our look at the organizing styles of the 16 personality types, with the INTP Organizing Profile.

INTP stands for stands for Introverted – Intuitive – Thinking – Perceiving. Since Perceiving-Judging is the dichotomy that addresses the way we deal with time and space, and this is the first profile we’ve featured with the Perceiving preference, I think you’ll see a remarkable difference between this one and the others that I’ve published so far.

If you’ve missed the previous posts in this series, I encourage you to go back and begin with Organizing for Personality Types.

INTP Organizing Strengths

INTPs prefer an organized lifestyle, but have their own views as to what that looks like.Click To Tweet

Here’s what one survey participant reported:

“Generally what works is when I carry around a little notebook (the tiny ones with the rings on top) and write down whatever info I want to keep with me – appointments, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, addresses for places I’m going, impromptu to do lists when I start to feel nervous and overwhelmed. That way I don’t feel like there’s a wrong place to put info, or I have to decide where to put something (do I write down an assignment on the day it’s due, or the day it’s assigned??) and I know that I will have anything that was important to me all written down in one place if I ever need to find it.

When I run out of space, I go through the old notebook and rewrite everything that was useful or I think I might need in the new notebook. For really important appointments I use the calendar/alarm function on my cell phone.”

INTP Organizing Challenges

INTPs often face difficulties with procrastination and clutter, attributing the latter to not knowing where to put things.

In addition, they acknowledge the following difficulties:

  • Fear of throwing away things that may have future relevance and those that have sentimental value
  • Forgetting about birthdays, anniversaries, other special occasions, social activities, appointments, meetings, and tasks that aren’t on the “to do” list
  • Prioritizing tasks and activities

They’re often reluctant to have visitors due to clutter in their homes, and believe that others perceive them as disorganized. In fact, they see them themselves that way as well.

INTP Time Management Systems

INTPs are unlikely to use the structure of a formal planner system, and are likely to develop their own approach to using it.

One INTP reported using one paper calendar as well as two electronic ones. Another shared his experience as follows:

“In the past, I used a variety of PDA’s (Palm, etc.) thinking that the alarms would remind me to do things. In actual practice, the alarms wouldn’t be loud enough, and would go off at the most embarrassing and inopportune times… I also found the PDA to be useless if it wasn’t recharged religiously. The small screen real estate also never let me see “the big picture”.

Since then I’ve used a variety of day planners with a little more success (forgetting to do the “to-do’s” despite having written them down in the planner is a familiar refrain). Last year, I used the Harvard system and liked it because it would let me carry forward ‘to do’ items. On the other hand, it is a relatively complex system with a bit of a ‘learning curve’ attached. It’s probably the best system for a busy executive managing multiple projects across differing timelines, but not so for an average worker trying to balance work and life and the odd appointment.

This year, I’ve used the Day-Timer system, which is much simpler. Comparing the two, I’d say the week-at-a-glance layout (in the Harvard system) works much better for me. I find it easier to orient myself if I know what’s ahead for the week and the general direction I’m headed in.

I’ve avoided using the Covey system. It’s theoretically neat, but I find the “Quadrant” system of time management is a bit abstruse, hard to understand and apply.

This year I’m going to experiment with an organizer of my own design, and possibly even the D-I-Y Planner from Douglas Johnston (it’s free, and draws upon many organizational systems including David Allen’s GTD system). I’ll see how that little foray works.”

Their plans are mainly abstract and are therefore seldom specific or fully developed. When they do write something down, it is often imprecise and may seem incomplete to others.

Learn More

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

For a broader view of the INTP 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 INTP?

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 © thodonal / depositphotos

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Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

Gravatar mystery man

A former professional organizer, I'm now a Website Design and Care Specialist. I love helping others succeed by sharing the knowledge and insight I’ve gained through marketing my own business for over 15 years! When I’m away from my desk, I enjoy reading, photography, watching movies, and cooking.

6 Comments

  1. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on September 7, 2016 at 6:45 pm

    This must have been what my father was because he would always have a small notepad with him writing down notes and to-dos.

    The Covey method is great in theory but I understand why it doesn’t work for everyone. My husband took the class through work and found it quite informative but it was hard to implement.

    Always learning when I read your blog, Janet. Thanks for sharing.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on September 8, 2016 at 6:00 am

      It’s always interesting to try and figure out someone else’s type, but it’s so complex that even a trained professional can’t do it based on one habit or trait. I’m glad you’re enjoying the series though!

  2. Avatar Seana Turner on September 8, 2016 at 8:21 am

    I am a fan of having a way to capture ideas, but I have also worked with people who just capture everything in one disorganized place. This is a challenge when it comes time to retrieve and act. I worked with one client who I think fits this profile. We set up different notepads for each client (with their name on printed labels along the top). She couldn’t let go of her yellow notepads, but with one for each client, she could at least easily move between them and keep notes in order. Then the pages could be removed and scanned for easy access and storage. So important to find solutions that the client is comfortable with!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on September 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

      I think it’s very challenging to keep track of information for multiple clients, regardless of personality type. I’ve tried many methods over the years, and currently I put all my phone call notes in one notebook, but index them in the back so I can (somewhat) easily find my notes if I need to refer back to them.

  3. Avatar Whitu2 on September 25, 2018 at 9:49 am

    “They’re often reluctant to have visitors due to clutter in their homes, and believe that others perceive them as disorganized. In fact, they see them themselves that way as well.”

    I disagree…I feel organized. I know where everything is. It’s only when an ISTJ gets their hands into an INTP’s organization that an INTP loses things.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on September 25, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      Thanks for sharing! The information in the post was based on my research, including surveys I conducted, but of course not all INTPs (or any other personality type) are the same.

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