The beauty of mankind is our diversity. No two people are exactly alike, and it’s our differences that make life worth celebrating.
But this uniqueness means there’s no ideal day-to-day routine. Personalities, interests, traditions, likes, and dislikes, after all, are nuanced, and what works for one person may not work for another.
That is why we turn to astrological signs, Enneagrams, and other tools to help us find kindred spirits for guidance. The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is, arguably, the most widely recognized self-assessment of personality in the world, providing more insight into our shared and most common behaviors. These observations and explanations are not meant to be sweeping generalizations about subsects of people, but they do aim to help us understand how our minds operate and how we can adjust our habits to become better versions of ourselves.
If the MBTI can help us better understand our psyches, it can also make us more effective and efficient human beings, starting the second after our alarm clocks go off in the a.m.
We chatted with Kenneth To, MBTI expert and owner of INTJ.fund, and Dr. Kyle Elliott, founder of CaffeinatedKyle.com and certified MBTI practitioner, to identify how each of the 16 personality types can enhance their morning routines by adopting only a few simple tasks.
What is a Myers-Briggs type indicator?
After answering a series of comprehensive questions, the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator reveals a person’s most identifiable personality traits, habits, preferences, and even leadership styles.
The questionnaire was developed by American writer Isabel Briggs Myers and her mother, Katharine Cook Briggs, in 1942, and its foundation is based on theories presented by famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung.
What are the different Myers-Briggs type indicators?
There are 16 total MBTI combinations that stem from four different cognitive function pairings:
- Extroversion (E) vs. introversion (I)
- Sensing (S) vs. intuition (N)
- Thinking (T) vs. feeling (F)
- Judging (J) vs. perceiving (P)
Here is a breakdown of each trait:
- Extroverts: prefer working on teams, multi-taskers
- Introverts: prefer working alone, like to focus on one task at a time
- Sensors: realistic, fact-oriented
- Intuitives: energetic, imaginative
- Thinkers: prefer to make decisions using logic, strive for fairness
- Feelers: prefer to make decisions using feelings, sensitive
- Judgers: organized, prepared, rule followers
- Perceivers: spontaneous, flexible
The self-evaluation will yield a four-letter abbreviation that incorporates the aforementioned personality dichotomies. ENTJ, for example, would indicate extroversion, intuition, thinking, and judging.
It is important to keep in mind that no acronym is better than the other. There are pros and cons for each type of personality, and these aren’t meant to over-compartmentalize everyone that falls under a specific personality type.
“People with the same type are still individuals and will have unique characteristics,” stresses Elliott. “For instance, two ENTJs may have completely different preferences when it comes to sleep, morning routines, you name it.”
You can take a free Myers-Briggs personality test to get more detailed results, but here is a top-level guide to the different personality types and their nicknames.
- INTJ (The Architect): independent, logical, insightful
- INTP (The Thinker): intellectual, imaginative, precise
- INFJ (The Advocate): organized, compassionate, gentle
- INFP (The Mediator): sensitive, caring, loyal
- ISTJ (The Logistician): responsible, trustworthy, hardworking
- ISFJ (The Defender): helpful, considerate, nurturing
- ISTP (The Crafter): adventurous, analytical, skillful
- ISFP (The Artist): balanced, realistic, flexible
- ENTJ (The Commander): efficient, ambitious, outgoing
- ENTP (The Debater): inquisitive, inventive, enthusiastic
- ENFJ (The Protagonist): communicative, diplomatic, idealistic
- ENFP (The Champion): creative, optimistic, spontaneous
- ESTJ (The Director): orderly, dependable, systematic
- ESFJ (The Caregiver): productive, friendly, people pleaser
- ESTP (The Persuader): curious, pragmatic, problem solver
- ESFP (The Entertainer): playful, tactful, practical
What Myers-Briggs says about sleep and how to improve morning routines
Aside from values, leadership styles, and inherent behavioral traits, your MBTI can shed light on sleep habits and how to channel them into more productive mornings.
“Morning routines can set a cadence for the rest of the day,” emphasizes To. “It's also uninterrupted time, which makes it useful for doing deep work.”
While you could delve into each of the 16 personality types and what makes them different, To claims that this level of specificity isn’t necessary and that sleep and morning routine tips can be applied by simply separating Judgers and Perceivers.
Elliott, on the other hand, argues that personalities are more complex and that you can be more particular in discussing each cognitive function’s preferences.
Here is a round-up of their expert opinions.
How to improve the morning routines of Judgers
“Judgers will likely have an easier time setting morning routines, in general,” explains To. “They will also be more likely to have a consistent sleeping routine.”
“Judgers often prefer to live in an orderly and planned way, so you might consider developing a more structured and organized morning routine to get your day off on the right track,” adds Elliott. “They can also feel stressed when pushed to the last minute, so be sure to give yourself enough time to get ready in the morning and move through your routine.”
Since most Judgers are also planners, Js will benefit from waking up to journal or writing a daily agenda. NJs (Judgers who are Intuitive) love a checklist, and they can add tasks as simple as “shower” or “brush teeth” to feel ultra-productive right out of the gate. It may seem insignificant, but there is joy in crossing off responsibilities.
SJs (Judgers who are Sensors) also appreciate planning, but they mostly value order. By starting the day cleaning, making the bed, organizing drawers, or filling a backpack, they prime themselves for the day. These mundane tasks can provide an unexpected burst of energy that will allow them to become even more dynamic as the day progresses.
“Importantly, though, you want to consider how your other preferences might interact here,” reminds Elliott. “If you're a Thinker, for instance, you might prefer to do things using a logical flow, while if you're a Feeler, you may wish to order your tasks based on what's most important to you.”
How to improve the morning routines of Perceivers
For perceivers, routine-setting and maintaining structure can prove to be more difficult.
“Perceivers like to take in more information before making a decision,” reveals To. This preference, referred to as “prospecting,” can cause the group to not settle on one habit that may be advantageous to their a.m. routines. Instead, they may constantly question whether or not something is worthwhile or if their time could be better spent doing something else.
They are also stubborn about maintaining a consistent bedtime due to their innate desire to be “open to possibilities.”
“Perceivers tend to prefer more flexibility and spontaneity, so consider giving in to your flexibility in the morning and allow enough room in your schedule to snooze your alarm a couple of times,” advises Elliott.
NPs (Perceivers who are Intuitive), specifically, can have difficulty turning off their brains when thinking about the next day. An effective plan would be to journal or write sticky notes with more urgent projects, assignments, and errands the night before to offload them from your mind, then plan to review that list in the a.m. This will make mornings feel less intimidating or like a burden since a lot of effort will be placed on simply waking up.
SPs (Perceivers who are Sensors), on the other hand, are motivated by any type of activity or stimulation. A good morning project may be a fitness class or preparing a larger, more complex breakfast that engages the mind and body. They can also use this opportunity to start the day with meditation or anything that taps into their overly active brain to set positive intentions.
“Again, your preferences regarding routine can vary further depending on the other aspects of your personality,” reminds Elliott. “How you prefer to direct and receive energy (Extraversion and Introversion), how you take in information (Sensing or Intuition), and how you decide and come to conclusions (Thinking and Feeling) all make up your personality preferences.”
Looking beyond Judgers and Perceivers
In contrast to To’s focus on Judgers and Perceivers, Elliott is a firm believer that the three other preference pairs, when dissected independently, can also dictate effective morning routines. Here are his biggest takeaways to keep in mind:
Extroverted vs. Introverted
- The I-E preference pair describes how you direct and receive energy. Those who are Extroverted prefer to focus their energy on the outside world, while those who are Introverted prefer to focus on their inner world.
- If you're Extraverted, you might consider developing a morning routine that allows you to connect with other people, socialize, and be part of the outside world. If you're Introverted, you might wish to have a morning routine that allows you to spend some time alone and engage in reflection.
Sensors vs. Intuitives
- The S-N preference pair describes how you take in information. Sensors prefer to take in information through the five senses, while those who are Intuitive prefer to look at the big picture and see the connections and relationships between facts.
- If you're a Sensor, you'll likely enjoy a morning routine that is specific and practical. If you're an Intuitive, on the other hand, you may benefit from a routine that allows you to be imaginative and focus on the bigger picture.
Thinkers vs. Feelers
- The T-F preference pair describes how you decide and come to conclusions. Those who are Thinkers prefer to decide things by removing themselves from the situation, looking at the facts, and analyzing the situation objectively, while those who are Feelers prefer to insert themselves personally into the situation, identify with others, and take into account what's important to them and others.
- If you're a Thinker, a logical step-by-step morning routine will likely be best for you. If you're a Feeler, you might want to consider how you can incorporate your personal values into your morning routine.
“If you're really interested in MBTI, you might want to take into account how each of your preference pairs interacts with each other,” reiterates Elliott.
How to adopt new morning habits for all types
MBTI aside, To says the most effective way to integrate a new habit is to attach it to an established one.
- Reading right after turning off your alarm clock is an activity that doesn’t require a lot of energy and can ease you into waking up.
- Meditating to encourage mindfulness, rather than immediately grabbing that cell phone to check email or scroll on Instagram.
- Journaling while sipping coffee will allow you to organize your thoughts and set daily goals.
Of course, most mornings are orchestrated by the quality of sleep you received the night before. To recommends, unsurprisingly, as a general rule, to reduce screen time an hour before bed and partake in breathing exercises that will slow your heart rate and allow you to catch Zzz’s.
Whether you choose to subscribe to morning tips that are influenced by MBTI or not, consistency is key in implementing any type of constructive change. Take it upon yourself to challenge the norm, and you may come out a more well-rested, prepared individual who is ready to conquer anything that comes your way.