ENFP Time Management Tip

by Dan Johnston

ENFP Time Management Tip

“There’s the time that it really takes to do something. But then there’s the anticipation time. The procrastination time. The nervous time.”

If you are an idealist, you want to do so many things.

You want to change the world.

You want to take on as many projects as you can.

This is especially true for us ENFPs.

I’ve talked before about shiny object syndrome and how to focus and how to do one thing at a time.

But I’ve also talked very recently about how we do our best work when we are busy and we have pressure and a lot to do.

Someone said this to me the other day and I thought it was amazing. And I forgot who it was. I wish I could give you credit, I apologize.

I was talking about when you have a day where you only have one thing to do, say you have one meeting from 3pm to 4pm.

And they said:

“Yeah, you can build your whole day around that.”

It’s true, right?

If we only have one thing to do, we can end up kind of setting everything up around it and thinking way too much about it and wasting a lot of time.

While when we’re really, really busy and we have things to do every hour, we tend to be more efficient and more effective.

And at least in my case, I end up feeling a lot better at the end of the day as well.

The Nervous Curve

When you’re planning out your day, and you’re looking to see how much you can fit in, or even planning out a whole month and thinking about taking on new projects, one thing that’s really important to consider is both:

  • The Learning Curve
  • The Nervous Curve

The Nervous Curve is the thing where when you’re doing something new, you get a lot more nervous about it.

I’ll give you an example.

When I first started The Free Freelancer program, (I’ve now just started the sixth class) before every group training I would do, I would be nervous for like a day or two before I’d be thinking about it.

I’d be trying to prepare for it.

So there’s actual preparation time but then there was also just the nerve time where I was actually prepared.

There was no work I needed to do per se but I’d be kind of nervous or thinking about it.

So if I had one of those calls in the evening, a lot of my day would be taken up thinking about it, or I wouldn’t be nearly as productive as I would otherwise be because I was anticipating it and doing some kind of mental preparation in my unconscious, let’s say.

Whereas now three years into doing the program, it’s one of the highlights of my day.

I need very little preparation time and I have no problem having a full day before and then having one of these calls.

If anything, it’s something that excites me and adds more energy to my day.

But that wasn’t the case in the beginning.

I’ve had the same experience doing in-person events.

For the first event I did, the week or two leading up to it I would be nervous.

I mean, even now, I have an event coming up in Vancouver that’s two months away and it’s popping into my mind.

I’m thinking about different things.

I’m anticipating it and some of that is good – it’s helping me prepare to have a great event, but some of it is really eating up my time.

That’s something to really consider when you’re setting up your weeks and your schedule.

There’s the time that it really takes to do something – that might be two hours to write an article for you.

But then there’s the anticipation time. The procrastination time. The nervous time.

I don’t have a magical formula for how to factor that in for you, but I do have some tips on it that I’ll share at the end about things that have helped me reduce that.

But ultimately, it’s something that you need to think about when you’re trying to take on so many new things.

It’s one thing to be 3-5-10 years experienced at what you do and then you can pack your day with meetings and creative work and everything else – and it goes really smooth because you’re confident enough to handle it all. So you’re not anxious. You’re not worried about everything that could happen. You just go: Boom, boom, boom and get everything done.

But early on, those nerves can definitely get the best of you and take up time.

Now I’m not saying when you’re starting something new, do nothing else but this one thing and leave like a one-hour meeting the only thing you have on your whole week, so that you can be nervous all week for it.

That doesn’t make a lot of sense either.

But I am saying to try to factor that time in.

Whether it’s writing or leading a meeting or teaching a course or any other kind of work that requires you to be at your best, there is usually some kind of anticipation time building up to it that our unconscious is working away and figuring things out so we can be ready when we need to be and that isn’t time you can wash away and ignore.

You need to have that time one way or the other.

So there’s a few things that have helped me deal with this and reduce the amount of time I waste in worry before something happens.

Prepare Really Well

I’ve heard that worry is basically your brain preparing and trying to warn you of things that could go wrong.

And sometimes that is true.

For example, if I’m having my own example of this event coming up, some of those nerves I was feeling were probably because I hadn’t locked down every single detail.

So for the event I’m doing locally here, the other day what I did is I set up every restaurant we will go to for lunches for the evening. I reconfirmed the venue and I’m way ahead of the game of what I would normally be with this stuff.

But I realized that if I do all that in advance, then it really does reduce my nervousness because everything is kind of done and then I can spend the time focused on preparing the training and some of the more fun aspects of the event because I’ve got the logistics out of the way totally.

Some of the nerves I was probably feeling about the event were actually practical like:

“Hey, Dan, you should probably reserve these things. Prague is a busy city. Get that taken care of.”

So that’s the first thing:

If you’re feeling nervous about something, ask yourself:

“Is this just me being stupid and worrying too much? Or is this actually a bit of a clue like my unconscious warning me that I should prepare, I should do more, I should get ready for this?”

And if it is a clue that there’s more you could do in advance, then do that.

Get that work out of the way and that is a great way to reduce the nervousness you feel.

Accept How You Do Things

The second thing that has really helped me reduce the amount of time I waste in this kind of worry is just to accept how I do things.

(I’m fully aware this contradicts part of the first statement. So that is what it is, I’m an ENFP, I’m allowed to be all over the map! 😛 )

I basically accepted that I do some of my best work last minute.

Let’s say I have something on May 1 that’s really important.

Rather than worrying all of April about it, if I know that realistically, in the past, I always started two days before May 1, I do it under pressure, I get a little nervous, but everything gets done from April 29th onwards – if that’s what I know realistically, based on my past behavior, I’m going to do that.

Another solution is just to accept that and totally dismiss any worry leading up to that.

I know I’m going to do great work last minute.

I know I’m going to be able to pull off whatever I need to pull off, so I just say to myself:

Hey, these are two or three days that are set aside for finishing this work. The rest I’m not procrastinating. I’m not even thinking about it because I’ve scheduled in the last minute time to do it.

It may sound trivial, but it makes a really big difference.

If you schedule in and commit to your last minute work, you free up your brain from worry, from anticipation, from all that, and you allow yourself to just enjoy the time leading up to it or take on other projects – and then get it done during the scheduled time.

So there two ways to approach it;

  1. Do things in advance and be really well prepared, which is something I’m trying out now
  2. Admit you’re going to do it last minute anyhow. Just accept that and schedule it in and, that way, rather than procrastinating for three weeks leading up to something and then doing it last minute – you enjoy three weeks leading up to it and then you do it last minute anyhow and it ends up being the same result, but you’re feeling a lot better and more refreshed. Actually, I said the same result but you’ll probably end up doing a higher quality job because you’ve had all that relaxed time before you really got into crunch time.

So below in the comments, answer:

What are your strategies to deal with the unknown and make sure you get things done while preserving at least a little bit of your sanity?

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