Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Check Please!

I am an INTJ.

I have just neatly segmented my readers into those familiar with the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and those not.

When I was classified an INTJ in my early twenties, I carefully planned the remainder of my life in accordance with the dictates of this personality type—no, I’m totally BS-ing. I took the short form on a whim because my husband’s employer paid for it. Honest to Pete, I’m not even sure I remember what half the letters mean. “I” makes sense. I am, in fact, an introvert. A borderline introvert. My dramatic tendencies frequently push me into a position of performance, which is sometimes mistaken for extroversion. And, to be fair, there are times I do draw energy from groups of people, generally those working together on a creative production of some kind: choir, theater, etc. But by and large, my introversion means that gatherings of large groups of people suck the life right out of me. I need time absolutely alone, regularly, to restore my mental energy.

The only other letter in my type I remember clearly is the “J.” It stands for Judging. I don’t know what that means. All I know is that the part of my personality that is classified as a “J” makes lists.

I love lists. I remember watching my dad make lists all the time when I was growing up and thinking, “Dude. Chill. Why so formal?” But as I grew to adulthood and took on more and more responsibilities, and then even a few more, and a few more yet, I began to realize that if I didn’t write things down, I just sort of didn’t do them. Which wasn’t appreciated by the people I told I would do them. Moreover, I found that if I didn’t write things down, I spent most of my time in a fog of general overwhelm, frantically rushing to complete whatever task I was currently doing while thinking of the next task I had to do and all the while certain that there was something else I was forgetting (and I was usually right).

Did I mention my daughter was recently diagnosed with ADHD? Hereditary? You think?

Lists ROCK. They’re magical. As soon as the information is transferred from my brain to a piece of paper via the wand of ink, it disappears. It lives on the paper and leaves my brain free to focus on the task at hand. And then, when I finish my current task and consult my list: Voila! It reappears! Even better, when I finish a task and use the ink wand to put a check-mark in the box beside it, the information disappears again, and I’m free to go on to the next one.

I make a list every single day. Sometimes multiple lists. My “to do” list may say, “grocery shopping” and then, there’s a secondary list of items I need to purchase, without which I would undoubtedly return home with three packages of hot dogs and no buns. Bagels without cream cheese. Coffee without filters (the horror!!!) When an unexpected task crops up that requires immediate attention, I still go back when I’m done and write it on my list just so I can check it off. It gives me a sense of accomplishment.

My question is: am I a “J” because I make lists? Or do I make lists because I’m a “J?” My answer: Who cares?

Tuesday Blog Entry: CHECK!


  1. In general, you are not supposed to check off "boxes" to show you have completed items on a list. You put CIRCLES next to items so you can check the circle when you have completed them. Of course if you make a phone call and no one answers, you do check the circle and then put a box by the circle to indicate you need to follow-up on this item at a later date. And of course you put a tirangle by an item when you are waiting for a response from someone else to an item. I don't know why this isn't obvious. It makes perfect sense to me. ;o)

  2. Thanks for clearing that up, Dad. :)

  3. INTJ-Introverted, Intuitive, Thinking, Judging.

    I need to tell you this because I am obviously an ENFP.
    ENFP-Extrovered, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiver. (I was borderline E/I as you were as well.)



  4. Rebekah, I am also an INTJ, so I TOTALLY get the list groove. They DO free my mind, allowing me to spend my precious mental energies on more important things than trying to remember what to get at the grocery. I love 'em!