Do interruptions stress you out, fellow INFJ?
Have you ever been working on something and getting to the point of optimal focus and productivity only to be unexpectedly interrupted by someone or something? Your focus shatters and falls to the ground like shards of glass, while you’re left feeling angry, frustrated, anxious, and a whole slew of other negative feelings.
It’s especially tough for us INFJs because we require quiet to do our best work and to employ our greatest strength, introverted intuition. In The INFJ: Understanding the Mystic, Susan Storm writes:
“When using Introverted Intuition, INFJs enter a nearly meditative state, where they consider how various insights could lead to a future outcome. Noise, bright lights, and any type of interruption can all unsettle the INFJ and make them lose focus and composure.”
Once you’ve been interrupted, it often takes 20 to 30 minutes to get back to a state of flow, assuming you’re able to quickly fight off the emotions. Then, you’ll need to do the work of remembering and piecing together what you were working on before.
The good news is that you can make some minor tweaks that’ll make a big difference for you. Try any one of these 4 strategies, and it’ll almost instantly lead to more quiet, fewer interruptions, and increased happiness for your INFJ brain.
1. Buy earmuffs.
One stellar solution is to buy a pair of earmuffs – the kind that construction workers and heavy equipment operators use. While you can spend $350 on noise-canceling headphones, a pair of earmuffs will only cost you about $20. I got the pair below for $19 this morning and am really enjoying them so far.
If you want to listen to music while you work AND block out the noise, try slipping a pair of earbuds under your earmuffs. The reviews I read online said this strategy works just as well if not better than the noise-canceling headphones.
Now, if you have the money and you’re a connoisseur of music, go ahead and buy the headphones. Go for it! But if you’re on a budget like me, the earmuffs are a great alternative.
2. Work early or late.
Another option is to get up early or stay up late. Early in the morning, before anyone else awakes, there’ll be no interruptions: No one to burst into your room, no loud noises, no conversations – nothing! And as a bonus, you’ll start your day with the satisfaction of knowing you’ve already invested in and accomplished something important, something that allowed you to put your top strength to work. That’ll do wonders for your mood.
If you don’t consider yourself a morning person, an earlier bedtime, the right motivation, and a cup of coffee are all you need to become one. I didn’t consider myself a morning person a couple years ago, but when push came to shove, I gave it a try. I’m glad I did. Getting up early worked so well that I eventually started setting my alarm for 4:30 a.m. some days.
That said, mornings aren’t your only option. You can also stay up late. You can still get good results then too. Just keep in mind that you won’t have as much energy or willpower since both are exhaustible resources and you’ll be working at the end of the day.
3. Find a quiet room.
Depending on your living arrangements, you may have the benefit of a quiet room you can escape to. Ideally, you want one with a door you can close that’s away from the busiest places in your house or apartment.
If you’re worried about noise coming through the opening at the bottom of the door, trying stuffing a blanket there. While it’s not a perfect solution, it blocks out much of the noise. I routinely use this strategy when I’m recording videos and podcasts.
4. Establish a quiet time.
A fourth option is to establish quiet hours. Set up a time when you and your family or roommates won’t disturb each other and can work on projects in silence. You don’t have to do this every day or for eight hours straight. Just start by designating a few hours during your week for quiet. For example, you could make Mondays and Thursdays from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. your silent periods.
This strategy can help you overcome one of the biggest obstacles to getting more quiet time: communicating your needs. While you may know what you need, your spouse or roommate(s) may not. Establishing quiet hours will help you “get on the same page,” respect each other’s space, and honor one another’s needs. You may even be able to compromise and trade quiet time for social time.
The beauty of this kind of routine is that you don’t have to make a plan every week. After the initial meeting, you only need to revisit the routine if it’s not working or needs to be tweaked.
For more stress-reducing strategies, check out this recent podcast with Susan Storm, creator of the site psychologyjunkie.com.