If you’re not particularly keen on your current job, you may be interested in learning ways to make it better. And even if you do enjoy your work, you might be interested in learning how to make it even better.
In the comments section of last week’s post, a few INFJs started a great discussion on this topic – making your work more enjoyable and bearable. One person’s comments, in particular, reminded me of what I’ve tried to make my work a better match for my personality and to change the way I think about and approach what I do.
To that end, here are four suggestions, based on the function stack, that you can use to improve your workday.
The Function Stack
First off, if you’re not familiar with the function stack, it’s a deeper part of Myers-Briggs personality theory that can tell you much about why do what you do. Every Myers-Briggs personality has a function stack made up of four cognitive functions, or mindsets, that are arranged in a hierarchy. INFJs have the following cognitive functions:
Incorporating each into the work you do can change how you feel about it, even if the job’s not your favorite and it’s just paying the bills. (To learn more about your cognitive functions, download a free copy of my book, The INFJ Personality Guide.)
1. Introverted Intuition (Ni)
To get the most out of your current work, even if it’s not your cup of tea, incorporate your introverted intuition (Ni) as much as possible. Because Ni is your dominant function, it’s the most influential part of your personality, so the more you get to use it, the more satisfied with your work you’ll be.
More specifically, Ni works best in uninterrupted quiet. If you can find a chance to work in a peaceful environment for extended periods of time, take it. While this may not be possible every day of the week, consider telecommuting or working from home if you can. Or move to other spaces, such as an empty boardroom, where you’re free from interruptions.
Additionally, whether or not you have the opportunity to change where you work, you’ll likely enjoy your work more if you can…
- Brainstorm future possibilities
- Learn new skills and strategies
- Communicate – especially via writing
- Help people undergo transformations
- Pursue your potential
Look for creative ways to incorporate these aspects of your personality into the work you do.
And if your job allows it, listen to audiobooks and podcasts that interest you. While I’m not able to listen during the workday, I’ve made a habit of playing encouraging, interesting books and podcasts on the drive to and from work each day. The ideas I’ve gleaned from those hours in the car have inspired and motivated me at work, while also boosting my overall mood.
2. Extroverted Feeling (Fe)
None of the INFJ cognitive functions operate independently. They’re interwoven, and each influences the others. So when you’re engaging Ni, you’ll likely wish to use it in the service of the other functions, including your auxiliary function, extroverted feeling (Fe).
Together Ni and Fe motivate many INFJs to study their coworkers and customers and investigate why each does what she does. Almost every INFJ I’ve ever met has been inexorably drawn to psychology in some form or another. These things in mind, capitalize on opportunities to study people and help them better understand each other and themselves.
You can do this formally, as a customer service rep, for example, or informally as the “office counselor,” as one INFJ has put it. But the bottom line is that you’ll likely be happiest when you’re helping other people…
- Work through problems
- And reach their potential
Exercise your Fe by working with people, especially one-on-one and in small groups. These are the types of interactions we INFJs tend to find most energizing.
3. Introverted Thinking (Ti)
Recently, I’ve met a number of INFJs who love designing original systems. And they owe this love to introverted thinking (Ti), their tertiary function.
Ti thrives on making processes more efficient and effective, eliminating unnecessary tasks. It also comes to life when solving problems, studying systems, and acquiring specialized knowledge. For INFJs, it has a special appeal, since it’s our tertiary function. We do well when we get to use it in conjunction with our Ni.
In my work as a teacher, Ti has helped me save time grading by researching and learning about automatic grading technologies. It’s also helped me digitize and automate my classroom management system, reducing the number of parent calls and emails I have to make.
If you enjoy creating processes and systems that help you accomplish major goals, put your gift to work on the job. You’ll help others eliminate pointless, redundant tasks and do their work more effectively while having fun in the process.
4. Extroverted Sensing (Se)
Finally, to further improve your work situation, consider engaging your inferior function, extroverted sensing (Se). Se thrives on beauty, novel sensory experiences, and whatever stimulates the five senses.
Whenever possible, sprinkle a bit of sensory variety into your workday. Go for a walk during lunch, eat out at a new restaurant, or waft a pleasing aroma. It’s amazing how simple joys can break up the monotony, giving you something to look forward to.
When you’re working on potentially boring, mindless tasks, listen to music. More specifically, explore new genres with Pandora, YouTube, Spotify, and similar stations. The novel music will stimulate your mind and make the time pass more quickly.