June 22, 2021

INTJ and INFJ procrastination causes

Superficial knowledge of MBTI or human psychology generally would suggest that INTJs, INFJs or types with a “judging” preference cannot fall into the trap of procrastination, but it may very well be that this kind of personality type is actually more prone to procrastination than the average person.

Maladaptive perfectionism

To understand why, you first have to know the most common root causes of procrastination. One of them, according to this dissertation, is perfectionism. Are many INTJs and INFJs perfectionists? Hardly anyone would argue that they aren’t. INTJs usually have huge standards for themselves and others, in all areas of life. This is both a strength and a weakness. It is a strength if you can live up to your standards. If you can’t, then it creates anxiety which can cause them to avoid doing a task at all. INFJs may be more lenient on others but towards themselves they also tend to be critical.

ADHD

Another cause of procrastination for these types could just be undiagnosed ADHD. No personality type is immune to this disorder and in types with a judging preference it can be masked so well that even the person in question isn’t aware that they have the disorder, since they may be coping with it well, either through the use of tools like schedules or just guilt tripping themselves into constant work, which is usually simple monotonous tasks which don’t require high performance on executive functions. This gives INTJs and INFJs a sense of control, but deep down they know they’re not living up to their full potential. If these types have ADHD it is usually the “inattentive” type (ADHD-PI) without obvious impulsive tendencies. They may be very good at controlling all kinds of urges, not eating too much, not spending too much… but they may have great trouble controlling their thoughts and curiosity which can lead them astray. They can be too curious for their own good.

Depression

Depression can also lead to procrastination since it has been proven to damage executive functioning and memory. Depression is more frequent among introverted and inhibited people [2], so INTJs and INFJs are a risk group for depression. More and more people in the field of psychology are moving towards the theory that procrastination is actually caused by poor management of emotions and psychological inflexibility. Since both types are really good at predicting the future and they usually know themselves well, they can fall into the trap of predicting and avoiding unpleasant internal experiences. They know doing some task that they’ve been putting off could cause an attack on some of their untested abilities or an idealized sense of self, if they perceive the task to be difficult, so they avoid it even more. This is a really bad strategy in the long run and a bad coping mechanism, because we need to have unpleasant internal experiences and reevaluations of the self in order to grow as individuals. In fact, we usually grow and learn more from setbacks and failures than from praise and winning.

How to fix it?

One of the main misconceptions about MBTI is that personality types are about ability, but they are all about preference. Getting a 4 letter type and a huge description of you, can play to your ego. Most of those descriptions tend to praise you more than show you your weaknesses, but it is important in life to be aware of your weaknesses, which may not even be related to your type but you specifically, and work on improving yourself. I think this article can be a good start and the fact that you read it means you have the self-awareness needed to fix your problems. Procrastination is usually a sign of deeper psychological issues and it’s not just laziness.

I would recommend the book Atomic Habits for a start.