Ever wondered why you have trouble staying focused on the task at hand, or a project you’ve been meaning to push forward?
As INFJs, we are constantly seeking meaning in a worthy cause. We need somewhere to channel our committed and earnest energy. This search for meaning in every aspect of our life is often the reason we lose interest in projects requiring our focus and attention.
When it comes to my job, I’ve always found ways to be successful at getting projects completed and going the extra mile to support my team. Dedicating time to work on my hobbies and personal projects was a different story. Many of my personal projects have ended up in my version of Never Land, where forgotten projects fly off to and remain incomplete. My discovery of my INFJ personality type, its weaknesses and strengths, motivated me to break my negative pattern.
Here are seven tips I’ve found helpful in my journey to become more task oriented and project focused
1. Write down your ideas immediately.
As an INFJ, you always want to feel connected to your work. Writing down your ideas and purpose for a project will remind you why it sparked your INFJ enthusiasm.
When I first signed up for Michaela’s INFJ forum, I wrote multiple paragraphs on why I wanted to be a collaborator. When I start to question my abilities to collaborate or my schedule became too overwhelming, I looked back on my notes to remind myself why I wanted to volunteer.
The truth is, the feeling you have at the start of a project is a hundred times more gratifying when you’re able to achieve closure on them. As INFJs, we understand that motivation and drive comes from within ourselves and not through external influence. Create a reminder for your future disoriented self and he/she will be thankful.
2. Pay attention to details.
Don’t get discouraged by repetitive day-to-day activities. As an INFJ, looking at the bigger picture comes naturally. Figuring out the details does not. Taking time to outline the details needed to reach your ultimate goal will help you stay on track.
When you have outlined your details, don’t get discouraged by the day-to-day action items you find unappealing. Executing details helps us get closer to our goals. I know, you’re an INFJ, and you strongly dislike the monotony that accompanies most routine work. You’re not alone. (If you suddenly heard the chorus of Michael Jackson’s You Are Not Alone then my friends, “I am here with you!” Don’t YouTube it. Let’s get back to focusing.)
3. Work in intervals by creating deadlines.
Once you have established the details needed to complete your project, give yourself deadlines. In other words, give yourself an opportunity to taste small victories. Even when I find a task boring, nothing is more fulfilling than the moment I check off an item on my to-do list.
4. Perfectionism is an imperfect idea.
Because of our idealistic nature, we tend to get lost in our vivid imaginations and in our own ideas of what is right. This innate tendency to follow our instincts can make us susceptible to discouragement when events outside of our control derail us.
Be flexible to changes and remember they occur as challenges to test your creative instincts. The perfect situation only exists in our beautiful imagination and not on planet earth where our project is unfolding.
5. Prioritize alone time.
When you’ve dedicated your mind and heart to a project, your INFJ determination kicks into gear and you find yourself 110% motivated by a meaningful force. Whether it is agreeing to be in your friend’s wedding party, taking on a new assignment at work, volunteering for a meaningful cause, or adding a new project to your list, you’re constantly using your altruistic nature to improve the lives of those around you.
Sometimes, our own INFJ strengths can also be detrimental to our heart and spirit, especially when we are not being proactive. Dedicating time to honor your mind and soul is key to being successful and following through on your commitments.
As an INFJ, your best ideas will come when you’re by yourself, where you can gather your creative thoughts without interruption. Make space for your alone time. It’s not a selfish act; it’s a necessary one to achieve the additional 10%!
6. Disassociate your self-worth from the project.
Because we seek meaning in every aspect of our life, we often connect our self-worth and success to the energy we put into our work. As an INFJ, we strive for perfection in things we are passionate about and can become discouraged when things don’t go according to plan. Even worse, we might start to wonder if we have the right skills to get us closer to the finish line. When you are facing roadblocks during the course of a project, don’t lose heart and question your strengths. Instead, use your creative nature to solve the issue at hand and don’t let it dampen your spirits.
7. Find your project haven.
This is one of the most important “truths” I’ve found during my journey to be more focused. When it comes to INFJs, nothing really escapes our observation. Even the slightest change in the sensation of a room can cause us to lose focus.
I encourage you to find your project haven. If you are like me, your project haven won’t be a designated spot or at a particular time of the day. Come on INFJs, we’ve already established our feelings about routines! Your project haven is the moment in time in a perfectly balanced space where your creative juices are at their height. It’s the place where you can put into practice these seven tips and focus on the project you’ve been daydreaming about.
Hello, Hanh with an extra “H”
I’ve been reading many of the articles in here since I found this blog yesterday. I’ve been wanting to comment on several of them but instead I always end up clicking on another link and there I go again to immerse myself in a new elucidating article.
This time I decided to stop for a few minutes and share my thoughts given the fact that your post is about not losing focus (Practice!).
Several things from this article got my attention. First, the title itself and how easily it is for me to get absolutely absorbed by something for a while and then *squirrel!* (“Up” reference), and I’m gone to something else, many times not to come back to the previous interest. I find myself feeling truly curious, passionate and absorbed by a different series of topics, but can’t get myself to stop on one long enough to bring it to full fruition.
I’ve started to-do lists that afterwards I fail to check, and sometimes I even get absorbed by the actual task of making that to-do list because it becomes ‘the art of the perfect to-do list’ and all its little details. It might turn into a mind map chart or might not even get started because now I need to find the perfect medium to bring that list to life in the most efficient way (you know, maybe browsing hundreds of apps to see which one would suit me best or which one of my notebooks should be used for this very important start of my passionate project). And that’s how after all this and losing probably a couple of hours of my day, I find myself, I don’t know, maybe taking a nap instead. It’s exhausting to even write this now here!
That said, I have found a couple of ways to keep to-do lists without having to go through that process again (at least not for now), so there goes one of the obstacles. The other more difficult obstacle would be the perfectionism in general throughout the entire project. I have found that even when I love elaborating the perfect plan, I love even more seeing my idea come to life. Therefore, against my instincts, I’ve been working on being a bit more impulsive at least at the beginning to get things in motion. Just jump!
Like you, my job wouldn’t suffer from this issue. It was a completely different story, focused and active. There are some other stories related to my job, but those don’t apply here so I’ll spare you.
About writing down my inspiration for a project, I think it’s a brilliant idea to add a summary of what my initial purpose was to pursue it. I have written down ideas sometimes in order for them not to get lost in time and space, and that has proven to help a lot, but adding the initial purpose or impulse can help push it to get done. Thanks for that!
I chuckled on your comment about going (or not going) on YouTube to see Michael Jackson’s video. Great touch 😉
But there was a phrase in your text that got to me the most because I don’t think I’ve heard/read anyone make a comment about it before. “Even the slightest change in the sensation of a room can cause us to lose focus.” Your choice of words takes me to a realization that I’ve had some time ago but I haven’t really shared. I’ve noticed that the light in the room plays a huge part in my demeanor, mostly if I was already working with one type of light and suddenly it changes (the bulb burns, night falls, someone turns on a different light…). This makes me lose focus and shifts my energy entirely. Of course, also variables like the organization of a room and if something has been moved, a new smell hitting the room like freshly poured coffee, a change in the temperature, and all sorts of big or small things can make me lose focus. But thank you for somehow validating this notion for me.
Also, if you actually did, thanks for reading my very long comment and thanks for your article. If this is never read, it’s fine, it served me to compile some ideas for myself 🙂
Have a happy, focused and productive day.
Hello! Im reading your comment with this article in 2020. I am curious about the ways of keeping to-do lists you mentioned? Also have you made personal growth progress and consistency since? I would love to hear more and have a INFJ guide because this whole perfectionism thing is urging me to ask for help! Im sensitive to moods within a room i.e space, lighting, temperature.. it could affect my productivity too!
This is such an INFJ post.
Like Hanh’s post, your comment helped a lot, not only because of the ideas but also because I felt extremely understood. I did read the whole text.
Never met an INFJ personally in my life but I’m glad there are people like me out there.
Btw I cracked up when I read the Michael Jackson’s song comment. I was about to look it up 😂
Hello, I’m reading this comment from 2022 and just want to say, I LOVE IT and of course so much relatables and lessons.
Thank you Hanh for the awesome article also. Greatly helpful and oh how I love your choice of words. I’ve smiled wildly so many times over reading
Hi there Hanh!
It’s really surprising that your above article has greatly mirrored in what I am as a person, and the things I went through.
After several takes of the myers briggs test, I always got the infp as a result but somehow, I am still lost. The one who brought me to this site was actually J.K. Rowling. It’s not that we’re close acquaintance or something, she even don’t know I exist. I was just so fond Harry Potter and so I researched about her and discovered that she was an infj. I research for this personality type and then I arrived in this site, there’s tons of interesting articles yet I can’t read it unless I signed up, so I did. Sorry to intrude your territory guys hehe but somehow, instead of being out of place because I thought that I am of different personality type, I never felt more belong. Thank you guys, its really heart- warming to meet people who understands you. God bless 😀
I apologize for some grammatical errors in my above comment, there’s supposed to be an “of” between fond and Harry Potter.
This is one of the most helpful articles I’ve ever read! Thank you for sharing your thoughts!!!
Love your text! Thank you so much!
Hi! I found your article at a needed time because i have been pishing and cant focus on writting an article for my phd. Its my third year, i have the data, but cant concentrate to put it to words. I am a working pediatric surgeon, with a toddler which ia chalenging enough and i have no time whatsoever because my mond wonders from taking best care of my patients and keeping my family happy to wait..my phd is almost at its end and i havent done anything yet! I really have that multiple interests thing too where i cant concentrate.. and my husband doesnt understand me being unable to work in any kind of noise or people being in the house.. so thank you, i hope your article will help me concentrate and finally write my articles and then phd. Wish me luck!