Sunday, December 23, 2012

INFP - structure, routine

Yesterday, I wrote about MBTI personality types.  I'd like to expand on this, offering some tips for those that are hopelessly INFP.  In other words, I hope to discover ways to capitalize on these STRENGTHS, and downplay those WEAKNESSES. 

INFPs typically do not like to be bound and gagged to a schedule; however, many of us desperately need some structure (but are really poor about implementing it, lol).  I'll offer a few tried and true ideas...

The To-Do List
To Do lists aren't just for -J types anymore, baby!  As long as we keep our to-do list balanced, it can offer some much needed structure.

Make a list of mundane tasks that need to get done.  Don't overdo it.  Start small. 
  • Load of dirty kitchen dishes
  • Start a load of laundry
  • Change kids out of PJs
  • Make breakfast
  • Pull out schoolbooks
Make the list small and manageable, so you can check those items off.  Once those items are checked, take a coffee break!  Then, come back and make another small, accomplishable list:

  • Empty clean kitchen dishes
  • Wipe down counter surfaces
  • Put wet laundry into dryer
  • Check last 2 school subjects with kids
  • Get kids back on task
  • Start lunch
There.  Look what you've accomplished so far!  LOL.  Rinse and repeat.  Plan on an absolute end time, and give yourself a big block of time to just *be*.  I like to end things around 2 or 3pm, and let everyone have some unstructured time until 4-5pm.  Then, we all run around tidying things up and preparing dinner (psst, on a good day, when I'm actually on the ball).

The 3-Hour Tour
I call this tactic the "3-Hour Tour" from the Gilligan's Island theme song.  This got started when I had to pump breastmilk for my preemie while chasing a 2yo toddler.  I had to pump every 3 hours, around the clock.  This meant everything tended to fall within a 3 hour span of time.  I put post-it notes on the fridge: each post-it listed items for the 3-hour span.  It went like this:
Post-It #1
Pump breastmilk
Clean pump gear, package milk
Feed baby
Feed toddler
Clothe and diaper everyone
Load of dishes
Load of laundry

and then it was usually time for Post-It #2.  This is very similar to the To-Do list, but with the idea that everything is planned within a 3-hour flow.  This works for the family, because meals tend to fall within a 3-hour period of time.  Some items fell within 2 hour frameworks (diaper changes and bottle feedings).  So sometimes Post-It #2 might start and end with Feed Baby, Change Diaper.  I still like to implement some down time, especially when good things have been accomplished.  If a few things can get tidied, then allow a 15-min book read, or begin a craft, write a song, stare at the wall, etc.

Wake Up 1-Hour Early, Totally YOU Time
I've heard many Christian moms talk about this one.  They use it for their Bible study/prayer time.  This isn't a bad idea, but some of us other types can't seem to stick with it.  I've noticed that if I can give myself 30-60 mins of unstructured time in the morning, I'm much happier to conform to a routine for awhile.  Make it a totally unstructured time for yourself to come to terms with...yourself, lol.  Some days I exercise, other days I play piano...sometimes I blog, research on the computer, journal, or read forums.  Other times, I feel super-motivated and get a jump start on the things I need to do (get the fireplace stoked with wood, take my weight, make dh's breakfast, tidy the kitchen).  It's all good. 

Note: although I think the Bible study/prayer time is a fantastic idea, theoretically speaking, I think it can make many of us moms (not just INFPs) feel like a failure if we cannot make it work for us every day.  "Yes, Lord, I just skipped prayer time again because Johnny was up all night, and I would rather spend an extra 30 minutes sleeping than spending time with You."  If you really need a specific prayer/study time, then maybe put it somewhere else in your day (right before bed? while kids are eating lunch?) so it doesn't have that huge failure price tag attached to it if you can't make it work.  Also, I think for the INFP especially, we need to praise that one-time event that happened ("yay! I spent some time in Bible study and prayer today!") rather than berate ourselves for not making it a habit.  So pat yourself on the back if it happened once, but don't punish yourself if it didn't happen again the next day.  You are a random work in progress, and whatever you did was beneficial. Let's celebrate that!


Kelley Hagemeister said...

I have no idea what type I am anymore (E something that's for sure! lol!) I do the "wake up early thing and have time with God thing" but I don't get down on myself if it doesn't happen, I just remember God gives me grace for that...for me, it just helps my whole day go better if I fill my God tank first...that being said, I have about 1.5-2 hours of quiet, mommy only time in the morning, and I don't spend that ENTIRE time in prayer/the word...I do various other, changing things depending on the day...much like you suggested...some days I do VA work, others I sew, or crochet, some days I read, some days I play on the computer, etc etc...for me, I need the discipline of at least aiming for a set time to spend time with there are definitely days it doesn't happen in the morning and I will still read at night...the goal is never to make it into a "chore" but to just be intentional about it. I get the whole "setting yourself up for failure" thing, and I definitely don't think you should do have to do what works for you, but I don't think it's a bad thing to set a goal of a certain time every day either. ;) When I have more time I'm going to go through this whole series! It sounds interesting!

Jamie said...

Oh, dear! For some reason, the very thought of making a "to do" list gives me major heebie-jeebies! LOL!!! I don't know what it is, I guess it just feels SO BOOOOORRRRRING.
I might make a list if I am packing for a camping trip or something, but, for the most part, I typically keep my lists up in my head.

I think that's why I don't want to write them; it feels too redundant to me!! I might try one if I need a visual about all that I get done in one day, though!! Good tip to keep in the back pocket!

I'm already up before the kiddos as often as possible. You're right; it does wonders to have that bit of time to "gear up" for the day!