Are Introverts More Organized than Extraverts?

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That is, of course, a silly question. Both extraverts and introverts can be very organized, very disorganized, or anything in between. There are, however, differences in the ways that introverts and extraverts manage their time and space.

In terms of time management, introverts like fairly long periods of time to focus on their current task. For this reason, they prefer a workspace which allows for privacy and concentration, and view people who stop by or call to chat as interruptions.

Extraverts, however, welcome people stopping by or calling to touch base, and prefer a workspace which facilitates this type of interaction.

Because introverts think before acting, they may be slow to act. Others who don’t understand the importance of this process may view the time spent as non-productive.

Extraverts are more inclined to jump quickly into an activity, often without allowing enough time for reflection. As a result, they may need to step back and redo some steps, which also hampers productivity.

Introverts may have a tendency to procrastinate regarding activities requiring interaction with others, such as making telephone calls. An introvert myself, I find the “eat the frog” method works well. Getting phone calls out of the way before I start my other tasks gets them off my mind and lets me relax and enjoy the types of work I prefer.

Extraverts often dread such activities as organizing their home or workspace. They may find this task more interesting and effective if they work along with a group of people, whether it is friends, professional organizers, or a combination of both.

Introversion-extraversion is just one piece of the puzzle that makes up a person’s personality type, and their organizing style.

As you may or may not know, my first business idea had absolutely nothing to do with what I’m doing now.

After being laid off from the government, I decided to use some of my retraining money to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) Qualifying Program, often used as a career assessment. My main motivation was to add it to my resume, since I was working in employment services at the time.

During the program, I was amazed to discover that the MBTI applied to much more than career planning. I became so fascinated with the way that personality type affects the way we deal with time and space that I started a side business where I could use my new knowledge to help others develop organizing strategies that respected their natural preferences.

I spent a lot of time researching that particular topic, and shared the information I gathered in presentations and in an ebook, Organizing Your Life, Your Way. My ebook is no longer available, but I’ve summarized the content in my blog series on Organizing for Personality Types. Be sure to check it out if you haven’t already!

Let’s talk!

Do you adapt your strategies according to your client’s personality type? Can you share a specific example?

Photo © Janet Barclay

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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 Seana Turner on May 11, 2023 at 12:23 pm

    Love the way you explored the impact of extroversion and introversion on our organizing tendencies. I agree with everything you said, and can therefore see that you can organized with either personality type, but for different reasons.

    Most of my family are introverts. Compared to them, I’m a raging extrovert. However, I’m really somewhere in the middle. I’ll have to chew on this awhile to see how this may be impacting the state of our various spaces. Fun dinner conversation topic!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on May 12, 2023 at 9:55 am

      Wow, if one of my blog posts can trigger a dinner table conversation, I must be more brilliant that I realize! 😀

  2. Julie Bestry Julie Bestry on May 17, 2023 at 3:30 am

    I’m intrigued by your suppositions. I’m probably one of the biggest extroverts you’ll ever meet, and while I jump into TALKING without a lot of advanced prep, I never jump into DOING. I see interactions with other humans as a very different kettle of chatty fish than interacting with inanimate objects. I’m an overthinker, and put a lot of planning and thinking into almost anything I organizer, write, purchase, etc. Yes, I get excited and talk without much advanced planning; but I’m not sure extroversion makes one less likely to plan ahead or introversion (necessarily) makes one more likely to be more organized in advance. (One might guess that introverts might be less likely to have unexpected company and thus might worry less about having their home company-ready all the time, for example.) So, I’m not sure that I agree with each premise, I do agree that we are complex humans and so much more than introversion/extroversion explains our behaviors. And, for what it’s worth, I’m an ESTJ. (Also, maybe the world needs that ebook updated for the quarter-century?) Thanks for prompting me to think deeply!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on May 17, 2023 at 1:28 pm

      Thank you so much for your comments and setting me straight on some assumptions. Of course, introversion-extraversion is only one piece of the puzzle, and the other preferences (sensing-intuition, thinking-feeling, and judging-perception) all enter into it, so not all introverts or extraverts do things the same way. There are even differences within the same personality type. I was in a workshop with another ISTJ and our answers to questions about our time management systems were Very Different!

      I would love to update the e-book, but it would be a larger undertaking than I’m interested in right now. If someone else would like to have a go at it, I’d love to chat with them!

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