I’ve written a lot about how INFPs tend to have wandering minds. I appreciate this about myself because my ongoing desire to explore keeps me creative. Having a divergent thinking style and enjoying new ideas is part of what makes me who I am.
However, there are times when I do need to focus. Unfortunately, that’s when my brain is more likely to tempt me with new ideas, things that would be fun to look up online, or creative projects to try. My natural reaction is to get frustrated with myself. I’m all like, “Why am I getting all of these interesting random thoughts when I need to focus!”
This was especially challenging when I still had my office job. But the nice thing about being in an environment where I couldn’t indulge my need to explore is that I could come up with a simple solution that still helps me today.
Write It Down
When I would get a distracting thought during work, I would write it on a sticky note. Then once I got it out of my head, I could refocus. At the end of the day, I would look over what I collected and keep the notes I liked, sticking them in my notebook.
Nowadays, I don’t use sticky notes, but I use an app to catch my wandering thoughts. But like when I was using sticky notes, I always take a little time to declutter my collection.
I’ve mainly mentioned capturing distracting ideas, but if you feel safe, doing the same for distracting negative emotions is also effective. I’ve found that writing a sentence or two of frustration and then throwing it away can give me not only some relief but even a new perspective.
If you would like to capture your wandering thoughts, I recommend using something that you can easily grab at the moment, be it analog or digital.
I share more INFP-friendly tips for finding focus in my book Idealist Dreams: How I Learned to Plan as an INFP. And here are a couple more hand-picked articles that you may enjoy:
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