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ISFJ Organizing Profile

ISFJ Organizing Style

The other day, we looked at the organizing strengths and challenges typically faced by individuals with the ISTJ personality type.

Where ISTJ stands for Introverted – Sensing – Thinking – Judging, ISFJ stands for Introverted – Sensing – Feeling – Judging. Sharing three of the same preferences, you might assume that they are very similar, but although in many ways they are, it’s important to note that your personality type is more than just the combination of your four preferences.

The way your four preferences interact has a huge effect on your overall personality, and is beyond the scope of this series. If you’re interested in learning all about it, I encourage you to consider MBTI® training.

ISFJ Organizing Strengths

ISFJs tend to be naturally organized and show a strong preference for an organized lifestyle.Click To Tweet

They are generally adept at finding places to put things, getting rid of things, and finding what they need. They don’t tend to keep piles of unread magazines and newspapers around, or to waste time continually rearranging things.

They usually have well-organized bookshelves and storage space. One survey participant shared the following:

I organize my books by how I use them, e.g. (sections):

  • textbooks and binders for current semester by class
  • texts for previous semesters
  • books I read/refer to often
  • books I don’t use often
  • Bibles and Bible reference
  • Spanish books
  • Other reference books

They have clear goals and priorities, and finish what they start. With the help of an effective calendar system, they remember tasks and events.

ISFJ Organizing Challenges

Similar to ISTJs, ISFJs can become frustrated when something interferes with their plans, and frequently consider themselves disorganized, citing the following problems:

  • Forgetting to complete tasks that aren’t on their “to do” list
  • Procrastinating when they don’t want to do something
  • Hoarding items that may be useful “some day” and those with sentimental value
  • Clutter resulting from not knowing where to put things, leading to a reluctance to have visitors
  • Forgetting about social activities, birthdays, anniversaries, and other special occasions.

It’s possible that ISFJs don’t actually forget about social events more often than ISTJs, but are more likely to see it as a problem, as they’re more people-oriented.

ISFJs are easily distracted by disarray and often have difficulty working when things are out of order.

ISFJ Time Management Systems

ISFJs show a preference for a paper-based system – again, please keep in mind that it was the early 2000s.

One survey participant stated that although she loved technology and was given a Palm Pilot®, she had no desire to give up her paper planner. Her preferred format included:

  • a monthly calendar that allowed her to see her commitments at a glance
  • two pages for each day, with spaces for a to-do list, daily schedule, phone messages and important thoughts

Others were less concerned with scheduling, but made daily to-do lists.

Learn More

For more insight into the ISFJ organizing style, read about Classic Freedom on Pixies Did It.

For a broader view of the ISFJ 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 ISFJ?

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 © grinvalds / 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.

13 Comments

  1. Avatar Seana Turner on August 22, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Another great entry in this series, Janet! How we organize our books can be quite telling. Some prefer to make it “look” good, while others want to have it function more like a library. Of course, children’s books are a whole other topic, and one that challenges many families. Maybe a blog post idea? You’ve got me thinking!

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on August 22, 2016 at 10:23 am

      I think that’s a great blog post idea! Organizing children’s books isn’t just about ease of finding and putting away, but ensuring that special ones are protected from damage, and keeping track of what’s been borrowed or lent out (for older kids). I would love to read that!

  2. Avatar Jill Robson on August 22, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I am an INTJ, Introvert, Intuiting, Thinking, Judging, i have never really looked into how that influences my organizing. I did read that i tend to see the big picture, which i actually recognize in myself. I love posts like these, really gets you thinking how you can hone your strengths and improve your weaknesses.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on August 22, 2016 at 10:25 am

      Your profile will be coming in a few weeks, Jill. I’ll look forward to your comments as to whether you find it accurate!

      • Avatar Jill Robson on August 24, 2016 at 11:38 am

        Good to know, i will definitely check it out.

  3. Avatar Sabrina Quairoli on August 22, 2016 at 10:58 am

    Since I haven’t done hands-on organizing with clients for years, you are helping me understand the different personalities. Thank you, I am enjoying this series.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on August 22, 2016 at 11:36 am

      I didn’t realize that you weren’t doing hands-on organizing, Sabrina. So you are more of a consultant then?

  4. Avatar Andi Willis on August 22, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    I am a ISFJ and I relate to a lot of what you say. The one difference is that I prefer a digital calendar now that my family’s life is busy but back in high school and college and for many years after I had a Day-Timer that I used religiously. I am a paper girl when it comes to making lists for sure.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on August 23, 2016 at 6:29 am

      Thanks for sharing, Andi! I imagine that the time management systems piece is the one that is most likely to have changed since I conducted my research.

  5. Avatar Kathleen Starks on August 25, 2016 at 4:27 pm

    AWESOME SERIES!! When I was reading my personality type ISFJ in organizing style, it was kind of freaking me out how it nailed me to a tee! Your blog posts will definitely help me with my organizing clients. Thank you for your expertise, Janet.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on August 25, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      That’s fantastic, Kathleen! I’m really pleased to hear it.

  6. Avatar Kimberley on September 13, 2016 at 7:06 am

    I am ISFJ as well and I like to have some order before I can actually do something I am wanting to do like sewing or working on a new project. I like my paper lists too – still old school in that way. I like to be organized for the most part but certainly am not a perfectionist. I actually like the lived in look in my home.

    • Avatar Janet Barclay on September 13, 2016 at 9:50 am

      Very interesting, Kim – thank you for sharing!

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