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I always freeze with work projects. I feel like I never finish anything and it makes me feel sucky.

I can’t quite pinpoint why this happens. Maybe if I knew a reason I could resolve it.

Say, I have a work project.

I know I can do it.

I know HOW to do it.

I know I am not the kind of person who drops stuff, I usually finish what I started.

And yet I just sit there and procrastinate.

Or, say, I have about 80 drafts for articles I'd like to publish on my medium blog, and yet I feel like the thoughts are not polished enough so I just never make them public.

So then it makes me feel bad and I fall into this kind of stupor where I just binge-watch my favorite TV shows for days because it somehow soothes me. Maybe it’s because I stop thinking for a while. I’ve also noticed that the right amount of alcohol will dumb me down just enough so I can stop thinking and relax, and feel somewhat at ease. Drinking doesn’t seem like the best way to deal with this, because, health issues aside, alcohol is a depressant and it makes me feel even lousier the next day.

It’s like that with books and online courses, too. I start stuff, I get too hung up on some new topic and my thoughts kind of distract me from the actual book and course, and it takes too long to finish it, which makes me feel bad, which makes me not want to keep reading, and so on…

I go through long periods of either doing absolutely nothing at all or doing everything.

I know that finishing commitments and plans will make me feel better and inspire me to do more. So I know exactly what will make me get out of the rut, but just starting to do things again is hard.

I have several theories as to why this happens.

1) I want everything to be perfect so I always want juuuuust a little more time to finish something, and I end up never finishing it.

2) I get bored. As soon as I have a concrete plan about how to finish some task, it’s not intriguing anymore so even the thought of executing the plan makes me bored.

3) On the contrary, sometimes I want to do something and I don't know how to, and I don't even know where to start, which is intimidating, so I just keep talking about it but never actually start the research.

4) I have this idea in my head about how something should look, then immediately I realize there’s no way it will end up looking the way I imagine, so what’s the point of even starting it?

5) I burnout. I take on too much, I get overwhelmed, I have no time to sleep, so I drop everything. Then, when I only have one project to do, I get bored. And I do it all over again.

6) Some event, like a rejection from a job or in a relationship, or a failure in general will send me spiraling down into this nihilistic “nothing matters and people suck” state.

Is this something other INTJs can relate to?
 

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Are you some sort of clone of me? Because this is exactly me, most of you said anyway. What stood out the most is that I basically do EVERYTHING or NOTHING. For me it's usually depression that triggers the moping/freezing phase, which is a useful redflag that I should do a couple of therapy sessions or fix my coping habits, bring out the big guns.
So it depends if you have depression... if not, you could be "just" burnout. Have you tried typing yourself in enneagram? I can handle this situation much better from enneagram's type point of view. I know that as a type 5 I tend to close up, cut myself off from friends to wallow when the thing I should do is the exact opposite. It helps me to mentally simplify the freezing situation to a single problem with relatively easy solution. Frozen=depressed=alone type5 trying to do all by myself => see therapist, talk to friends, ask for help. Depression fades to lowkey level and I can function again.
 

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A dose of Ne could be the lubricant for these issues need to pass along

1. Perfection is different for everyone, just put the stuff out and see what works and what doesn't. Trial and error. Find the balance between public interest and self expression.
2. Incorporate more flexibility in the approach to tasks by planning less
3. Hey, even winding a nut on a screw is a start. Make it easier for yourself when things seem impossible by not overlooking your efforts however small
4. There are a countless ways something can be technically achieved, and still look nothing like what we expected
5. Spreading focus can help get things done, albeit slowly but at least in a less intense and more entertaining fashion. Please, have a day off for the world
6. Be light on the feet. The adage to keep moving when you get hit is true

I know that finishing commitments and plans will make me feel better and inspire me to do more. So I know exactly what will make me get out of the rut, but just starting to do things again is hard.
Maybe what you know that will get you out of the rut has become so subconsciously boring to you that your being is calling for a life change of sorts.

I remember in one interview where the interviewer asked Arnold Schwarznegger (INTJ) something about the secret in developing and upkeeping his well formed body. His reply was something to the affect of that it was important to shock the muscle, to approach it from different angles so the body will not get used to its treatment. The moment it adapts muscles gains slow.

I thought that could be easily be applied to people in general, in that sometimes we need to jump start our lives by doing something out of the ordinary and ride off its momentum until another shock comes.
 

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1. I have a task I should do but don't want to. Either I'm not sure how, or it is kind of unpleasant. There is a little tension there between not wanting to do it and needing to do it.

2. I dislike the task and the tension, so think about something else for a while.

3. The task is still undone. The deadline is closer. Tension increases, becomes anxiety.

4. I really dislike anxiety. Every time I think of the task I get anxious. So I do something else instead.

5. Task still undone. Now I feel anxious and guilty whenever I think about it. So I binge watch a TV show instead.

6. Task still undone. I have started having anxiety dreams. Whenever I think about it my stomach knots up. Better to not think about it and reorganize my closet instead.

And repeat. The longer it goes, the more anxiety and guilt is associated with some simple little task, until it feels insurmountable. I have been putting off going to the optometrist for TWO YEARS, and now I really can't see very well. The original cause of my reluctance? My old optometrist moved away, and I have to find a new one.
 

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OP- Yup. Wow. Yes. To everything.


Odin- get your crows outta here, I do what I want. :crazy: Speaking from living with an ENTP, a dose of Ne for us is just usually reverting to Se and that's not ever usually any good. Unless we are partying.

The only way to break out of the pattern is to just get shit done and take action (Te), whether we want to or not. Start off really small with a few easy things, and then work up from there until we get the ball rolling. Easier said than done, I know, especially if you have any type of depression, as was mentioned before, but it will definitely work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
OP- Yup. Wow. Yes. To everything.


Odin- get your crows outta here, I do what I want. :crazy: Speaking from living with an ENTP, a dose of Ne for us is just usually reverting to Se and that's not ever usually any good. Unless we are partying.

The only way to break out of the pattern is to just get shit done and take action (Te), whether we want to or not. Start off really small with a few easy things, and then work up from there until we get the ball rolling. Easier said than done, I know, especially if you have any type of depression, as was mentioned before, but it will definitely work.
Yes! Now that I've read about it more, this looks a lot like a Ni-Fi loop. I become "paranoid": usually thinking things will not work out or that people don't like me while having absolutely no rational proof; that, in the grand scheme of things, I don't matter, which upsets me, and I can't stop it because my Te is gone, there is no logic in any of those thoughts.

I believe my auxiliary Te is underdeveloped, which, considering I am going through a lot right now, would show even more.

I think doing anything connected to extraverted thinking, like solving riddles, could also work. And, much as I hate admitting this, talking to people usually helps (ugh). It gives some external perspective, even if not for long.

Any advice on how to effectively develop my extraverted thinking?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
1. I have a task I should do but don't want to. Either I'm not sure how, or it is kind of unpleasant. There is a little tension there between not wanting to do it and needing to do it.

2. I dislike the task and the tension, so think about something else for a while.

3. The task is still undone. The deadline is closer. Tension increases, becomes anxiety.

4. I really dislike anxiety. Every time I think of the task I get anxious. So I do something else instead.

5. Task still undone. Now I feel anxious and guilty whenever I think about it. So I binge watch a TV show instead.

6. Task still undone. I have started having anxiety dreams. Whenever I think about it my stomach knots up. Better to not think about it and reorganize my closet instead.

And repeat. The longer it goes, the more anxiety and guilt is associated with some simple little task, until it feels insurmountable. I have been putting off going to the optometrist for TWO YEARS, and now I really can't see very well. The original cause of my reluctance? My old optometrist moved away, and I have to find a new one.
Yes so very familiar. I have learned to recognize this pattern and stop around step 4 if it's a commitment for somebody. If it only regards myself, however, I will let it go on for years. I will put off fixing a decaying tooth because my dentist moved and now I need to find another one and that involves calling people (ugh) and asking people for recommendations (ugh).

But it felt so good when I finally did it! Go see an optometrist right now.
 

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@rxn Advice taken from Personality Hacker’s website that I personally like-

“The enemy of effectiveness (Te) is self indulgence. Effectiveness requires courage and the willingness to get out of your shell. Authenticity (Fi) can have you focusing on your fear instead of on the reward of getting things done. Getting into action is the only way you can prove that you have what it takes.” “You need to focus on what needs to get done and how to do it, rather than what feels good to you.”
“Done is better than perfect.”

Check out their website if you have time. They have a lot of really cool resources for INTJs.
 

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I'm in the throes of one such battle right now.

TL;DR version: I hated my job in tech support, so I took classes to allow a transfer to software development. Right after finishing the last class, upper management froze all transfers "for a few weeks while they figured things out" because "too many people requested the transfer". 8 months later I turned in my notice. Suddenly, my boss could secure a transfer if I stayed! So, I did. It's a 2 part transfer - Part 1 is 50/50 tech support/development, and if the quality is good enough, you move to part 2. Part 2 is 100% development, but sort-of on probation. A few months into part 1, I got pregnant after 3 years of infertility, and got put on bed rest just at the end of part 1. It was positive! I came back from leave straight into part 2, and about half-way through that is where things went south.

Depression hit pretty hard, because I feel trapped. Financially, I should do everything in my power to make things work here, due to the pay and benefits. Fi is really fighting me, though, because the company has screwed me over more times that I ever should have allowed, some of the worst aspects of the job weren't role specific so I'm still facing them, and none of my closest friends are here. I've been here almost 7 years and no one I've met here has come close to the level of trust of my friends back home. Plus, with a new baby and all, I haven't had any 100% alone time in over 9 months, so things keep getting worse.

Right now, I've been having such a hard time working on my projects. Like, I'll have a good day and be super productive, but then I'll burn myself out, and struggle for days. I think that subconsciously I'm gearing myself up for failure so that I can have an excuse to quit and run away. However, I'm also struggling to avoid that, because I hate feeling like I failed, and I hate going back on my word.

It's been an interesting 3 months, that's for sure...
 

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Discussion Starter #10
It's been an interesting 3 months, that's for sure...
Right, I will be your voice of reason.

Nobody except you actually wants you to be perfect.

When you think you're not great at your job, other people may actually think you are just good enough. Maybe noone even noticed you struggle sometimes. Maybe you're falling into the "omg they will fire me" thought spiral when in reality everybody around you is actually impressed. Happens to me all the damn time.

Don't leave the job quite yet, it seems like great experience in software development to have on your resume. Give it another year. Start looking for other options, that always makes me feel better. Maybe you'll find something better with better pay. Or maybe less money but awesome, inspiring people. Also, screwing over a toxic corporate company is fine. :)

Take a day off from the baby to just sit around in silence and eat chocolate. Yes, you'll feel guilty, so what. Yes, it's impossible. Figure it out.

I mean, you know all of this already. You're just ignoring your Te.
 

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Right now, I've been having such a hard time working on my projects. Like, I'll have a good day and be super productive, but then I'll burn myself out, and struggle for days. I think that subconsciously I'm gearing myself up for failure so that I can have an excuse to quit and run away. However, I'm also struggling to avoid that, because I hate feeling like I failed, and I hate going back on my word.
Also, can we just acknowledge here that you are learning a new profession while also taking care of a baby? And you are berating yourself for being burnt out? Jeez give yourself a break, lady.
 

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I mean, you know all of this already. You're just ignoring your Te.
I think that's the worst part of these spirals, is the fact that I can logic through it and come to the conclusions you presented, but still have Fi and Se take over and mess up everything. If I could get Fi and Se to crawl back into their dark little caves where they belong, everything would be back to normal.

Jeez give yourself a break, lady.
I wish I knew how! Probably the hardest part to get over for me is a long-standing fear of inadequacy brought on by my childhood, while pursuing a career in a predominantly male industry. I grew up where imperfection brought on punishment, and now I fear that I'm not as good as my counterparts due to my lowered productivity during these periods. I am producing less code than my co-workers on bad days, which is helping with the downward spiral thanks to the fear. Then I go overboard on good days and push myself to try to make up the difference, leading to the burnout, and back to square one. I really don't even know why my fear is so strong, as I have several contingency plans that I have vetted with my husband and am ok with should things go sour. But this is a far cry from the normal, confident INTJ that I used to be, and it bothers me.

I think what I need to do is take some time to really spend some quality time with my Te, find a way to soothe Fi and Se, and get everything back in order. You're right about feeling guilty leaving the baby - my husband is a stay-at-home-dad, so I do feel guilty asking for extra time for myself, because he's already spending every day with our baby, and relying on me getting home for a break. However, I think it would be in all of our best interest for me to do so, so I may just have to present that to him...

Thanks for the kick in the pants. :) You've got at least a few brain cells spinning productively again.
 

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Advice taken from Personality Hacker’s website that I personally like-

“The enemy of effectiveness (Te) is self indulgence. Effectiveness requires courage and the willingness to get out of your shell. Authenticity (Fi) can have you focusing on your fear instead of on the reward of getting things done. Getting into action is the only way you can prove that you have what it takes.” “You need to focus on what needs to get done and how to do it, rather than what feels good to you.”
“Done is better than perfect.”

Check out their website if you have time. They have a lot of really cool resources for INTJs.
Knowing about how our cognitive functions work is great for understanding ourselves. It helps a lot for understanding how we act the way we do and what we can do about it. As you can see for the responses, many of us relate to your situation... on a time of my life where I was really strugling with this, personalityhacker helped me a lot. I can't share links but just search on youtube: INTJ Personality: Mind Wiring For Personal Growth. They explain the cognitive functions with a great angle, definitely check it out.
 

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I do freeze and lose focus under stress and then I'm procrastinating along with sinking in the feeling of guilty of unfinishment; and searching for compensatory activity to redirect stream of my thoughts and to reduce the feeling of guilt by accomplishments in another topic from the one of several tabs opened in browser or opened in my mind.
 

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some random thoughts:

- i'm 52 and still dislike being subjected to 'outsider' inspection, type of verdict irrelevant. so that's one reason why i have to get a bit grarrgh with myself and force myself to complete things. because the thing about not completing them is, if you don't complete them you don't have to submit to review.

i got (partly) over this by just figuring out for myself how ridiculous it is. it's really not the end of teh world, and if i finish the damn work i can have fifteen minutes of discomfort no-one but me will know about and then the whole thing will be done. it's just irrational to not suck it up and do those fifteen.

- as you say, the relief of having the Dreadly Thing in the rearview mirror is one of the best feelings in the whole world. i've recently begun to suspect there are times now where i procrastinate on purpose in order to get that big rush of relief. just living along in perpetual good-enough standing with the world is far less exciting, but it carries more peace of mind overall.

- in my own opinion, there is a concrete but subtle difference between feeling genuine fear/aversion, and merely being conscious of something-you're-not-going-to-like on the way.

- "I really don't even know why my fear is so strong, as I have several contingency plans that I have vetted with my husband and am ok with should things go sour. "

because it's not about the material/financial consequences of being cut down? not that you asked me or anything :p sounds like of having an un-understood terror of catching the measles and trying to soothe yourself by saying 'it's okay, we have plenty of splits and bandages in the first aid cupboard'.

- some things just really are boring. some things really are hard. some things might be pissing me off for reasons that could be a long way away from the realm in which i'm trying to whip myself up into getting it done.

- sometimes i've found that i don't want to start something because starting it will open up some can of worms. and i already realise that once i have opened the can i'm not giong to be able to un-see the worms so i'll end up dealing with them. so i put off the simple actions like getting the can opener out.

- and sometimes, like back when i was at university in spite of not really wanting to be at university (but not even knowing the mental vocabulary it would have taken to get that somehow expressed), me not doing anything was a simple case of my psyche taking things into its own hands and bypassing my 'will'.
 

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That's really difficult. :unsure: I think I know the type of situation. When you've got a lot on your plate, it's easy to feel stressed out. Sometimes, my anxiety and general thought process triggers this. It just goes into the way that I operate. I know that I have felt that way on multiple occasions. I kind of go through phases. When I am actually procrastinating, I am ignorantly blissful but on a subconscious level, I am internally screaming and hitting myself. It can take time for me to feel motivated when I am in a stupor. Sometimes when I have a lot on my plate, I kind of freeze up and have to take a step back to take it all in.

I am okayish with deadlines but I take things slowly when doing them. That is why I usually try to start in advanced but it is easier said than done when I have a lot on my to-do list. It is a matter of prioritizing. I know how to do whatever it is I need to do but I can be slow. Some people who observe me when I get into this mode make the assumption I have no idea what I am doing. I do kind of freeze in the situation. I want to get it all done but I need to think about what I am going to do before I do it. It frustrates me when I am in the middle of one thing and people expect me to start another thing right away. I need some sense of closure. If I don't get a sense of closure, I obsess over what I have not gotten done and can't think about anything else or interact with people. Dealing with humans would just add to the already growing stress. I get frustrated with myself when I don't get as much done as I want.
 

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I will drop a project if it doesn't seem to be going anywhere or if it isn't holding my attention enough. And, I also will drop a project if it's causing too much stress/grief for the pay-off. I also tend to start projects to learn something and I'll sometimes cut those short if I learn whatever it is that I set out to learn more quickly than I first calculated.

- - - - - - - - - -

What the OP describes, though, is something discussed in Marie Louis Von Franz' Creation Myths which I recommend to those who are interested in Jung or Creation Myths (she studied under Jung and also knew Katherine Cook Briggs, one of the creators of the MBTI).

Anyway, she describes creative endeavor as always something that comes from "above", the "Heavens", or in the mind's eye as having a "perfect" quality to it. This is because it exists perfectly only in a place/plane where perfection is reached. In order to bring that creation to the real world, it must "fall" and be translated to the physical realm.

I know that might sound a little esoteric, but this realization has helped me get through some of the hurdles of creative endeavor in music composition, writing, or in other hobbies.

Another thing Von Franz talks about in this book is the idea of creation as "giving birth" to something. So, as one might expect, there will be some birth pains. There will be moments when one has no idea how they're going to do this, when they feel like they can't do it, when they feel as though they might fail and it could destroy them, etc... (insert metaphor of choice).

The whole thing is fascinating and when I see posts like this, it always brings this book to mind. I think there's a lot that can be learned from looking at the creativity process that way, but I don't know if that jives with other people as much as it jives with me.
 

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Hey,

So as a fellow INTJ, I have had this problem as well and I'm sure most can relate to it.
Look, I haven't researched it and don't have studies to quote because I've learnt how to get round it anyway.
From my experience, the cause has often turned out to be that I have felt that the task doesn't have an important meaning. This lead to crazy amounts of procrastination that I would never think I could do.

Anyway, this is my personal opinion, but don't think deeply about the task. That Ne or people telling you to think of how important the task is won't help as most INTJ's believe they have important futures ahead of them, and the task will seem more meaningless the more you think about it.

Instead, zone out, put on some music without lyrics, close off distractions, and just force yourself to start. The combination of music and no distractions helps me to not think about the work or project closely to start thinking too much, yet makes one work and bring out that perfectionist part of me that cannot let any project be left unfinished.

So zone out, music and force yourself just to start a little bit. Hope this helps :)
 
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