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
- 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
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:
Clean pump gear, package milk
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!