Many of us spent half (or more) of 2021 working from home in our pajamas with few schedule constraints. How many times did you find yourself sleeping in until 10 am or still working at midnight? Did you find you had too much time on your hands or that you were struggling with too much on your plate?
So how do you get back on track? Look to your personality type! The secret to successful time management is working with your personality’s strengths. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, or MBTI, can help with that. It’s an assessment, formulated from the work of Carl Jung, that divides people into 16 distinct types. If you don’t already know your type, go ahead and complete a free online assessment.
Once you have identified yours, see the list below for tips related to your personality type.
ISTJ needs a plan and is very task oriented. You have a strong sense of responsibility and must use a calendar and lists. Check off tasks as you complete them to keep yourself motivated. Interruptions and disorganization are a problem for this type, so keep this in mind when deciding on a workspace. Try to work at times when others are not around. Working from your living room sofa with the TV on might not be ideal!
ISFJ needs a plan, but you also need goals and to see that you are following through on them. Being overextended because you can’t say no can be an issue. A 40-hour job, homeschooling your children, going to school part time, and now saying yes to organizing a charity online auction might not be the best idea! Be sure to manage interruptions—working behind a closed door helps.
INFJ is a big picture type who has a big plan that becomes more detailed as it gets closer to fruition. Underestimating how much time a project will take can be an issue and cause you to become overextended. You need to single-task—no multitasking for this type. It might be a good time to commit to just one work task at a time, as working from home is enough of a distraction.
INTJ do NOT like daily to do lists. A long-term planner with broad categories, you work best with a week at a glance so you can see the bigger picture. You manage in broad categories and can find yourself with too many commitments. Be sure not to get pulled off track. What is already on your schedule and what is already pulling you? Are you homeschooling your children? Do tasks that take less mental effort while your children are doing their schoolwork. That way when they need you, it’s easier to help them and then get right back to what you were doing.
ISTP is a very flexible and adaptive. Pandemic, —you’ve got this! You are going with the flow and respond to whatever pops up, using planners only for the most important things. Because your planners are not full, you continue to add to your day. Be careful not to try to squeeze 10 hours of work into an eight-hour day.
ISFP is flexible and adaptable but also needs a sense of urgency. Like the above type, you’ve got this but you need to interact with your coworkers. Instead of sending an email, why not Zoom or Teams chat with a coworker about a project? Keep track of your goals as core values. Learn to say no and be careful of timelines on projects.
INFP focuses on the big picture and likes flexibility and fluid plans. You are the ultimate go with the flow. This may be the most challenging type in terms of time management, as you may not really care if you are working at eight AM one day and midnight the next. But you can be a perfectionist, so set limits. You don’t want to burn out working 60 hours in those yoga pants.
INTP’s are long-term planners. You work well with blocks of time and a general schedule but need five-minute breaks to refocus. Get up from your computer every hour. Use a fit bit and try to get 150 steps each hour. This type often overextends themselves by thinking a project is going to take less time. Try to be more realistic with those estimates to avoid falling behind.
ESTP’s are action-oriented and value completed tasks. A to-do list is useful for you, while boredom is an issue. Spread out the menial or easy tasks through the day and make room for the high-profile tasks you prefer. For change and variety, volunteer for a new project or learn something new by taking a college, MOOC, or community education class.
ESFP types are more prone to act than to plan. You are adaptable and realistic and prefer to respond to emerging needs. You get a job and start on it right away. An issue can be starting too many jobs without finishing, and over-commitment and pushing deadlines can be an issue. Be sure to use a planner, a to do list, and reminders to monitor deadlines and open tasks.
ENFP is spontaneous and likes to try new approaches. 2020 was certainly a new approach to work/life balance! This flexibility allows you to try different time management strategies until you find the right one. Use a to do list if you get off track. Try virtual post it notes on your desktop. Be careful not to try to do many things at once or respond to spur of the moment opportunities. Allow yourself a mental break.
ENTP wants to jump right in and start tasks without a plan. You have a flexible and adaptable approach to work and an eagerness for knowledge. Make sure to stimulate your brain with more than just Netflix, or boredom will lead to procrastination. Check out the Pomodoro method, which forces you to work for 20 minutes at a time and provides a break to refocus before you start again. With so many from home distractions this has really helped me focus. who can’t commit to something for 20 minutes?
ESTJ requires planning to do your best work. You need clear priorities and objectives. Just because you work from home doesn’t mean you have to throw out the structure, so continue to keep a calendar, to do list, and clear goals—try SMART goals.
ESFJ likes to plan. You need structure, you need things to run smoothly, and you need to see the tangible benefits of your work. You typically try to finish a task before starting a new one and do not like things unfinished. Because of this, large projects can seem daunting. Break that project into manageable chunks so you can complete them in one sitting.
ENFJ is a natural planner. You like short-term, long-term, and big picture plans. You may like a traditional planner and wall calendar, and a white board for your office wall. Daily to do lists may not work for you. Try working when others are not around so you are not distracted.
ENTJ sees planning as a natural first step, as you like to be productive and well organized and are great at seeing the big picture. You may like a big picture planner more than a daily to do list. You’re easily bored with detailed tasks, so don’t multitask—you need your full focus to complete the boring stuff and deal with the challenges. Check out the Pomodoro method, mentioned above.