5 ENFP Organization Tips

posted in: homemaker, productivity | 12

By Betsy Farquhar: ENFP, homeschooling mother of three middle school students, and managing editor of Redeemed Reader.

How to Turn ENFP Possibility into Productivity

There are lovely pictures on Instagram of cheerful, color-coded planner pages, meticulously filled out; clever, completed habit trackers; and beautiful #BuJo spreads. Those people are not ENFPs.

ENFPs are busy instead managing relationships, enthusiastically brainstorming, and rising to the occasion (also known as “winging it”). “Friend” or “relationship-builder” are legitimate ENFP vocations.

Skills normally associated with productivity are our weaknesses: details, routine tasks, making decisions and actual plans, following through on those potential plans.

So sometimes, organization as an ENFP can feel impossible because we don’t fit the mold.

So both ENFP organization tips and productivity hacks are going to look very different from standard practices. However, that does not mean ENFPs cannot be both organized and productive – as long as we remember that both are about making it simpler to do the right next thing. ENFP organization might look different in practice, but in principle it remains the same.

If we think of ENFP productivity as a budget, then enthusiasm is the currency. Details and decisions are withdrawals. Relationships and ideas are deposits.

We become productive by balancing this budget.

ENFP Organization Tip #1: Recognize and acknowledge the withdrawals

Organizational demands such as managing a new medical condition for a family member are “withdrawals” from my productivity enthusiasm budget. Other examples include:

  • Executing tasks requiring multiple decisions, like decluttering
  • Tracking household finances
  • Managing chore charts or schedules
  • Keeping up with extended family birthdays/anniversaries/events
  • Planning and orchestrating a family trip

Recognizing these as withdrawals helps me appreciate their impact: even if I’m good at them or enjoying them temporarily, I can only handle so many at once. I start to feel like I’m drowning when I let details and decision-making crowd out meaningful relationship time or my initial enthusiasm trap me into monotonous, long-term commitments.

ENFP Organization Tip #2: Minimize the withdrawals

Those aforementioned “withdrawals” are good and necessary things. I’m not off the hook for them, but I can work smarter, not harder:

  • Delegate tedious tasks.

Pay a house cleaner. Let my daughter organize the hall closet. Ask a friend for decluttering or decorating help. I’m still a responsible, resourceful homemaker ensuring tasks get done; now, I’m also a cheerful one!

  • Automate routine decisions.

Examples include: basic cleaning tasks on certain days (“bathrooms on Wednesday”), regular grocery deliveries, automatic bill pay, Google calendar with reminders. Making a standard grocery list during Mystie’s Simplified Pantry Challenge was a game changer for me.

  • Outsource decisions.

Let someone else plan the family trip details or even ask the waitress to recommend her favorite entrée. (Besides, then I get to talk to the waitress!)

  • Be honest.

For example, let someone know: “I’d love to help you brainstorm or recruit volunteers, but I am not your detail person.”

  • Wait before adding new commitments.

Reply with a “Let me get back to you” even if it sounds amazing. Taking time for prayer plus verbal processing with my husband and a close friend (or four) usually brings clarity to my initial enthusiasm.

  • Act now for task victory.

In contrast, act now on sudden bursts of inspiration for moderate tasks like cleaning the stove. If the task could take a while (perhaps filing the last 6 months of papers from your kitchen command center… ahem), simply set a timer and leverage that enthusiasm! When the timer goes off, you’ve at least made progress.

  • Leave margin.

If we overcommit and have no margin, then we aren’t able to do the very thing the Lord has gifted us to do: be available for other people relationally.

Those people that call me when depressed or in need of counseling? If I’m too busy and stressed, then I’m too busy to serve in the very way I serve best. This does not mean I’m at everyone’s beck and call. It does mean that I try not to pack my schedule too full, particularly with too many “withdrawal” tasks that leave me drained. I’m never bored or left with an empty day, no matter how much white space I have on that calendar at the beginning of the month.

ENFP Organization Tip #3: Make the right deposits

Close relationships, meaningful work that matters to those we love, and discussing ideas boost are direct enthusiasm deposits. Examples include:

  • Small Group Discussion

Call it a Scholé Group, book club, study group, or whatever you want, but ENFPs benefit from some type of small group discussion related to things we value.

  • Volunteering

As long as the job is a good fit, both in terms of skill set and available time, volunteering is a boost for ENFPs. For example, teach Sunday School, greet visitors, help people brainstorm ideas, recruit other volunteers (ENFP Kool-Aid, our skill set at its best). Fixing a meal or cleaning the church is a win if it’s alongside a friend.

  • Relationships

Making time for relationships doesn’t look “productive,” but it’s essential. These are relationships that “give back,” not just the people who call us for counsel or encouragement. Call a friend instead of listening to a podcast during your daily walk. Meet your husband for lunch someday…without the kids.

ENFP Organization Tip #4: Turn possibilities into probabilities

Possibilities do not equal commitments. Tell other people your amazing ideas for the discussion groups you could have in that rundown house full of potential, and let them plan and execute the remodel. We ENFPs get ourselves in more trouble by assuming that we should act on all our fantastic ideas. We also get ourselves in trouble by failing to turn the right possibilities into probable productivity. Here are my strategies:

  • Reduce organizational clutter.

Fancy planner pages and elaborate systems? Not going to happen. Give me a plain notebook with room to “think on paper” and Google calendar for everything else from “remember allowance $$” to “piano lesson.”

  • Maintain a basic planning routine.

Weekly review: note commitments on Google calendar, list possible meals for my vague menu categories (i.e. “Crockpot” or “breakfast”), bring grocery list up to date, and start a running weekly brain dump/task list on a blank page.

Evening review: Evening fatigue curbs morning idealism. I pick ONE task to put on the next day’s to do list; I’ll tackle it first thing in the morning (or, as soon as possible the next day). Then, I star a few “top priorities” from the running task list for any other available time.

Morning review: I commit to a dinner plan and glance at the schedule. My starred “top priorities” are still in my head; I don’t really need to look at them again. I do the ONE selected task as soon as possible during the day before I get distracted.

Although ENFP organization might look different, the same structures still can work!

  • Design flexible traditions.

Rather than committing to making homemade pizza every Friday, I just call it “pizza night.” “Pizza night” works because Mom gets to make whatever pizza she invents with what’s on hand, or order Papa John’s at the last minute, but it’s still pizza on pizza night. My fellow “P” hobbits are totally cool with variety; the “J” hobbits love that pizza happens on schedule.

ENFP Organization Tip #5: Remember your strengths and your role.

ENFPs are social glue.

Use your relational intuition and overall cheerfulness to help your family members. Brainstorm solutions and ideas with those who struggle thinking outside the box. Help others express their feelings. Role play with those who have trouble picking up on social cues.

ENFPs might not be famous for achievements, but we will impact countless people, one person or small group at a time. Don’t let your planner determine your self worth. A detailed or crafty planner is not the same thing as productive and God-honoring.

Betsy’s recommended resources for ENFPs

Note: I must publicly thank my fellow ENFP, Megan, for helping me brainstorm and talk through this. ENFPs are never one-man bands!


Betsy Farquhar

Betsy fell in love with a handsome engineering student and the academic study of children’s literature at Covenant College. She married the one and pursued the other by earning a graduate degree in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and teaching middle and high school English in several Christian schools. She currently serves on World Magazine’s children’s books of the year committee and loves getting to read and review children’s books as the managing editor of Redeemed Reader. Betsy lives with her favorite engineer and their three children in the beautiful Northwest where they attend a small Orthodox Presbyterian Church, read a lot, and go hiking whenever they get a chance.

12 Responses

  1. Sara Fouts
    | Reply

    This was wonderful! I’m just starting to learn about the different personality types. I am an INFP, so a lot of this spoke to me. What do you think I should tweak for maximum productivity?

    • Betsy
      | Reply

      I’m no expert, but my husband is an INFP (Mystie wonders how we get anything done between the two of us!). Some of the same things help us both (like those morning/evening reviews, even though we don’t enjoy them). But his “deposits” look very different than mine. He’d much rather be hanging out with a few close friends, listening to good music or working on a shop project together. Not as much talking and not so many different friends as I gravitate to. But the same sorts of things are “withdrawals” for both of us, which is why automating some decisions has been so helpful! I think everyone has their own “productivity budget,” and we’re more productive when we figure out what is a drain and what is an asset. Work to your strengths and shore up your weaknesses.

  2. Kelly
    | Reply

    This is fantastic! I’m going to share it with my ENFP husband — there’s a lot that I think he could find useful. He’s giving our ENTP training in his business and I can see that some of this would be helpful to our son as well. If you happen to know anyone who has written anything similar for an ENTP, please share it!

  3. Julie Churchwell
    | Reply

    Oh man, I’ve never felt so understood! Thanks for this post. There were so many things that clicked for me… the relationship stuff, how that feeds me, the 6 months of paperwork on the command center, all of it. Loved this post!

  4. Katie DeVries
    | Reply

    You have no idea how refreshing it is for me to read this! I am 100% ENFP and I struggle with feeling like a failure because my skill set is not very obvious or measurable. And so much of homeschooling is about decision-making! Thank you for this fresh wind of encouragement.

  5. Ashley
    | Reply

    I LOVE this! As an ENFP Mystie’s courses have really helped me sort through all my ideas and find what I can focus on. And I agree, ENFP organization can happen, it just looks different! I have found I work best with a framework, and then I have flexibility within that. But these are all great tips, some I’m familiar with and others are new! I will have to implement them because I really think they could help me. Especially thinking in terms of deposits and withdrawals. That was very helpful. I really need to make sure I am including enough deposits in my week to help me cope with the withdrawals. 😊 Thank you!!

  6. Emily
    | Reply

    Betsy, this is AMAZING!!! I don’t know you, but you definitely know me!!! 😅 What a blessing it was to read this and feel a little “normal”, instead of a disorganized, hopeless loser!! Now I know why I feel overwhelmed by clutter, budgets, schedules and planning vacations! Thanks for the insight and the hope!! Instead of thinking that there is something wrong with me, at least I know now that these are inherent weaknesses of my character. Those resources sound great, and I will definitely be checking them out! Thanks, Mystie, for posting this!! 😊

    • Betsy
      | Reply

      Glad you found it helpful, Emily :-).

  7. Amy
    | Reply

    ENFP here. I might have to print this out.

    I’ve been feeling a bit embarrassed and guilty for using Christmas money to subscribe to a meal planning service – not the kind that sends you food, just menus/recipes/shopping lists. It’s ticked off about half of the items on Tip #2, and it has been so freeing to have dinner become something exciting and novel instead of tedious and draining.

    Something like this might not be the right thing for everyone, but it was definitely the right thing for me – as confirmed by your suggestions!

  8. Shawna
    | Reply

    Ahhhhhh . . . this was wonderful. I laughed my through the first bit and then felt inspired by the rest. It resonates so deeply. I’m (obviously) an ENFP, married to an INTJ. Ideas are some of the biggest deposits at our house. We just love ’em.

    I am all over flexibility through framework; and the idea of ACT NOW has such ka-pow! power. I keep a running task list, in my very malleable, spiral “organizing notebook”, and usually conquer tasks as inspiration hits. LOL . . . for realz. (And I know you know.) It’s amazing what can be accomplished when the enthusiasm for a task courses through my veins. I really CAN organize bathroom shelves or deep-clean kitchen cupboards. Otherwise I am a victim to inertia and can’t bear the thought. Boooooring. Though really . . . I am totally hamming it up . . . marriage and motherhood are refining fires and I have built the strength to hold my own, even if it is tedious. But details. Yuck.

    I’m late to the party, but this is fun. Have you read Besides Ourselves by Naomi Quenk? That book rocked my world pretty much all last year. So good.

  9. Alison
    | Reply

    I loved your article!! Thank you so much. I have a very hard time understanding myself even with the label ENFP. This idea that brainstorming is a strength but being able to articulate that I cannot be responsible for the details is such a relief.
    If you have time to discuss practical tips for homeschool planning I would be oh so grateful 😁

  10. LJ
    | Reply

    I stumbled onto this site looking for something entirely different and feel so grateful to have read this post. I feel like I have a new window into understanding my 10-yo daughter and her gifts. She is ENFP and I am INTP…while we share two letters, we often need and respond to different things. Thank you so much!!

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