Podcast – Episode 0112 – How Personality Types Manage Energy

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In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about how to manage energy based on your personality type.


In this podcast you’ll find:

Time management isn’t always about managing time. It’s about managing energy.

The management of energy is key to understanding everything else we do. Energy is very important for us as people.

The world is plagued by stress and burnout.

This requires us to manage the information we take in, who we communicate with, and the way we manage priorities and to-do lists.

Time/energy management is not a one-size-fits-all approach.

What works for one person may not work for another.

Begin by making sure the energy in the food we take in is high quality and nutritious.

Make sure to get enough rest and R&R.

How does each type manage energy?

8 Cognitive Functions in MBTI system.

4 are perceiving processes – how we learn info. What we find interesting to observe and explore.

4 are judging functions – decision making. Natural vetting process to determine the value of things.

4 Cognitive Functions are particularly influential to each type. These we call the Cognitive Function Stack.

2 will be our biggest strengths – 2 will be our biggest weaknesses.

Each Cognitive Function has a mirror opposite. If you are using one function, its direct opposite will be getting ignored.

Outliers Malcolm Gladwell

We spend 10,000+ hours working on our strengths.

Car Model

Driver is dominant cognitive function. Flow State. How we see ourselves.

Copilot rounds us out and keeps us balanced. If Driver is an introverted perceiving process, the Copilot will be an extraverted judging process.

Copilot isn’t a flow state. It is a conscious process that doesn’t feel as good to use as the Driver. It is a growth process because it will round us out as individuals.

There are 2 passengers behind Driver and Copilot. Exact opposites of Driver and Copilot.

Behind Copilot is the 10 year old process. This is where we go to in times of defensiveness. It can become a very insidious energy drain.

Behind Driver is 3 year old process. This is the least sophisticated part of you. Don’t let it run the house, just get its occasional needs met.

Driver gives us energy when we are using it. This makes our energy needs unique to type.

Copilot has some skill. It can give us energy, but it can also rob us of energy.

Driver/Copilot used in tandem can create flow and huge amounts of energy.

Focusing on Copilot and singling it out as a growth exercise can cause fatigue. Like building muscle.

Stress can be caused by over engagement. Constantly burning hot. Inefficient energy loss.

Burnout is a lack of engagement. You’re done. Nothing left to give.

Stress comes when Driver is trying to solve the problem and it doesn’t have the right tool for the job.

Burnout happens when we don’t feel we are allowed to use our driver. If we are in a context where we can’t be in our Driver we won’t be able to regenerate our batteries. So we will eventually burnout.

(Stress and burnout can have causes unrelated to type (diet, nutrition, temporary life challenges, etc. If there are no obvious reasons for stress/burnout in life, then it is time to look at your Cognitive Functions and find out what is missing.)

Driver/Copilot form an unstoppable team.

If every day is a bad day then you may not be exercising your dominant process enough.

Create an environment that honors your Driver. Like the little daisy that pushes through concrete, our flow state will force its way to the surface.

  • INFJ & INTJ: Driver is Ni – the opposite of Se. Ni works the best when it is not gettting sensory input. INxJs often complain of lifelong insomnia. If they aren’t honoring the needs of their Driver during the day, it will wait until they are quietly in bed before firing up and getting the attention it needs. This puts the person in flow and gives them energy which makes it hard for them to sleep. INxJs should allow themselves some sensory deprivation earlier in the day so their minds can relax when it’s time for bed.  

Driver always needs to be supported.

  • ESFP leads with Sensation. This process requires sensory stimulation. A job that removes sensory stimulation (desk jockey, cubicle rat, etc) will cause depression and fatigue to an ESFP. Solutions: Ride a bike to work, Play basketball with some friends at lunch, engage with the community in some team sports, go to the gym.

Strengthening the Copilot and gaining ability to use it in conjunction with the Driver give the Driver the adult companionship it needs.

Oftentimes, we find it more comfortable to pair our Driver with our 10 yr old. Driver will have either a Extraverted/Introverted attitude. Copilot rounds us out by having opposite I/E. 10 year old is opposite of Copilot, so it goes back to being of the same attitude as the Driver. So, it is easier to use at times than the Copilot.

We can cruise along like this for awhile, but eventually a barrier will occur that a child can’t help us overcome. As stress builds the 10 year old becomes more unreliable.

Look at exercising the Copilot as going to the gym. And using 10 year old sitting on the couch as eating potato chips.

Exercise gives us energy. Not exercising and eating fatty foods robs us of energy.

When you do decide to exercise or use your Copilot it may seem really hard at first, but the muscles grow and it becomes easier.

10 yr old can hijack us if it is completely ignored or dishonored in some way. Whatever is making the 10 yr old feel icky needs to be solved or it becomes an energy drain.

  • Harmony – Fe – 10 yr old can feel “dirty” or dishonored if interpersonal relationships devolve somehow. It can hijack the Driver and Copilot – all mental and emotional real estate – until a resolution is reached.
  • Effectiveness – Te – 10 yr old can feel dishonored if projects don’t get completed.

If there is something you need to handle and you aren’t handling it a lot of psychological energy will be drained.

  • INTJs lead with Perspectives – Ni. Their Copilot is Te. 10 yr old is Authenticity – Fi. Fi is about how things impact the user on an emotional level. The average INTJ has a lot of protective mechanisms here, but if you dig down you may find a lot of offense or injury. To clean out Fi and get back into a fully functioning Te, the INTJ needs to remove the hurt pride or fear of injury. Energy can be drained by old pain.
  • INxJs perfectionism usually comes down to a dishonored 10 yr old. INTJs Fi can be about artistic expressiveness, so to an INTJ it can show itself as “I’m the only one who can do it right!” INFJs 10 yr old is Accuracy – Ti. Precision. Perfectionism can be a massive energy hog.

Last process in car model is 3 yr old.

Top performers always need rest and the 3 yr old allows our Driver some time off.

We don’t want to live in the 3 yr old because it causes burnout.

But we can use it strategically and it gives our driver a much needed break.

Schedule time to be in 3 yr old.

  • For a Memory (Si) inferior – watch old movies, listen to music from the past, read a favorite novel, look at old photographs, etc.

We can manage our energy by fully comprehending how our Cognitive Function Stack interacts and either robs or replaces energy.

In this episode Joel and Antonia talk about how to manage energy based on your personality type. #MBTI #personalitytypes


Resources Referenced in this Podcast

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Showing 26 comments
  • Melanie

    I’m an INFP and to grow my 3 year old process of extroverted Thinking, I copy-paste people who use it as a primary or secondary cognitive function. I have ISTJ, INTJ and ENTJ mentors who, to me, represent a healthy and successful version of their personality type. I observe how they use their extroverted Thinking function (primary function for ENTJs. secondary for ISTJs and INTJs) and try to identify processes I can use in my life or daily routine. It works best with my ISTJ friend as she uses Si and Te, which is the order in which I would use these judging functions. For instance, I observe how she organizes her studies and her household. I then “copy-paste” a few essentials and readjust them so they better fit my organisation.

  • Randy Caba

    Awesome and useful information. While no insomnia for this INTJ, likely because I protect my mornings, I now clearly see that a dirty-hurt 10 year old resides within. When necessary, the car model helps me move out of that position by visualizing myself moving from that crumb infested child seat into the more adult can-see-where-I’m-headed passenger seat. It feels like moving through molasses and probably only takes 20-30 seconds but once accomplished, I feel more calmly effective back in my Te mode. Bike riding, walking or working out for just 15-30 minutes several times per week helps keep balance too. Love these podcasts!

  • Alison

    This podcast really got me thinking. I’ve always thought of cognitive functions as a unit that forces a type to act a certain way. For example in an INTP: Ti makes them come up with systems, Ne makes them brainstorm and expand or connect systems, Si makes them stationary (to accomplish/work out complex thoughts), then Fe eventually communicates it to everyone. I’ve never really thought of them as separate entities to be individually worked on -it’s an interesting perspective.
    When you guys said in the podcast that Ti and Fi is draining for you, do you think that ENTPs and ENFPs have more in common with each other than with intp/infp- their introverted type (since the introverts are pros at Ti and Fi). Ive heard that NTPs, NFPs, NTJs ect. are basically the same type because they share the first two functions. But in this podcast it seems that the types that share the dominant function is closer in relashion; like ENTJs would be closer to ESTJ than INTJ because Te is really developed while Ni isn’t (unless really worked on).
    -sorry if the wording is confusing, it was difficult to write my thoughts out clearly.

  • EB

    I enjoyed this podcast. I took the test and came out as ISFP though I relate a lot to INFP and INFJ as well, so… Hmm. I work as a nurse in an ER which exhausts me to no end (but I enjoy it). Not sure if this had to do with my 10 yr old but a lot of times I start to feel insecure and down on myself and feel like an outsider. Any advice?

  • Taj

    I am in between jobs and I am currently living with my parents. I feel almost always stressed since I can’t seem to get many opportunities for personal space without external noise and distractions. I do occasionally go to libraries and coffee shops. However, my survival work and job search makes it hard for me to have a steady schedule. What do you do if you have limited control of your environment. I am an INTJ.

  • RED

    You mentioned the book “Getting Things Done” was probably best for a specific type of personality. Would you mind saying which? It’s on my To-Read book list, and I’m curious. If you think it’s excellent for my type or a similar one, I’ll probably put it up higher on my list.

    • Joel Mark Witt

      In my opinion… I think “Getting Things Done” will work well for ESTJs and ENTJs. It will be AMAZING for ISTJs and INTJs. Other types may or may not get mileage from it. But the four TJ types will be served the best.

      • RED

        Cool, thanks. I’m an INTP, so it likely won’t be quite as effective for me. But I’ll still read it. For one thing, it will give me information about how other people work, especially TJ’s, which is always interesting. But also I often can pick up one or two tips from books like that, even if they aren’t suited to me in many aspects.

  • Mel

    OMG – you’ve absolutely hit my insomnia on the head (I’m INTJ). I think that’s why I smoke, to give me mini-sensory breaks but obviously I need to give myself more (and then maybe I can give up smoking).

    I recently had a 10 year old extended tantrum because we were encouraged at work to put forward suggestions/ideas but none of them were really acknowledged let alone actually acted on and I think this made me feel rejected – I reacted with perfectionism, sarcasm, snarky comments, etc.

    I made the decision that I needed time off to get my mojo back and took a week to do gardening and think. That did the trick and although things haven’t changed at work, I’m now able to let stuff slide off me – I’ve given you my good advice, you’ve chosen not to take it, your problem, I’ll just move on to the next good idea.

  • Ray

    Phenomenal! I was engaged throughout the discussion as each quadrant of the “car model” was viewed through another lens. As others have said, the new understanding results in cognitive dissonance as we seek to integrate the new information into how we see and understand ourselves. I need to review this again before I articulate where I am unable to reconcile the differences.

  • Evelyn

    Also, I have always loved astronomy, simply for its own sake, for as long as I can remember. Right now my job is in academia in a fairly free environment, no,strict hours and I can just sit in a library all day…as long as there are people around me. I HATE sitting in an office! I live the camaraderie of a class-like, team-like environment. I quit my job at a law firm because of the technical minutiae I had to go through. I kind have to do that now, still, yet it’s much more manageable because of the freedom of the environment. Hope this helps. I pray for an answer from you guys. Been struggling to settle on a type for at least 6 years now. Thank you, Evelyn.

  • Evelyn

    Antonia…..Heeeeelp!!! After this podcast, I’m much more confused than ever! It seems I might prefer NE over NI after all!!!! Your description of how you engage your 3 year old fits me to a T!!!. I have programs that I keep going back to when I’m feeling a certain way, I watch them over and over again. Certain music that I already know I like. I will revisit it again and again.

    I was confused between ENFP and INFJ not only because your tests keep coming out INFJ but because I’m 100% sure Ti plays a very significant role in my mind, especially in the last 10 years or so (I’m in my early thirties now). I have been doing lots of philosophy and “logic” work in that decade, but not out of any deliberate developmental intention. I just was driven by an innate, insatiable curiosity! When I was in my early to late teens, I was driven by a similar curiosity but was focused more on reading about diverse religious cultures around the world and also about ancient History which I totally loooooved! When I was around 10-11, it was comics like Tin-Tin, all those puzzles he solved! When I was smaller, it was fairy tales! I was obsessed! I became our school librarian”s favourite kid for being so well behaved in the library even though I got in trouble everywhere else for noise-making!

    Now looking back at all that, I see that I have always been obsessed with imbibing information but what sort has changed over the years.

    Another thing…Ever since my teens, I have been incredibly argumentative! It”s a shame spot for me, because it was always shunned and I lost friendships over it and couldn’t seem to stop. It’s only in the last 3 years or so that I have somehow managed to soften that urge in me where I can let things slide in order to maintain relationships and even so, I will occasionally still mess up! I would like me to be a demure attractive fi female, but alas! I can’t be one. It has been so shameful to me. So unladylike. Not to mention how horrible I am at housework!

    I was assuming these are TI and SE weaknesses, that I am INFJ, because I am thoroughly introverted, don’t feel the need to explore my immediate physical environment. Will use a road 100 times before I notice something rather concupicuous on it…the 101th time! People around me usually think i am joking when i say I express surprise at that strange tree or building or whatever, which apparently has been there for months. I thought yhis surely MUST mean i am NI dominant. I explore the environment in books (and people too, in conversations), not my physical location! Some people have said that I ask sooooo many questions, so sometimes I keep my questions to myself. I love travelling on occasion, but it’s not a dire need. I just really enjoy it, as long as it foes not involve chores (no hiking or camping for me, thank you very much!!!) I love to travel through europe in comfortsble trains. And i am a chronic procrastinator.

    Lastly, I assumed I was NF because I love people and people-causes first and foremost.

    Now I wonder if I may be neither INFJ nor ENFP, nor NF at all but rather ENTP! !! LIKE Antonia? I have bought tools/packages for the INFJ….would there be a discount if I bought a second package for ENTP?? IF this is too long, I would appreciate if Antonia, you might consider doing a podcast about this? Thank you, Evelyn

  • Meme

    what about ISTJ? memory effectiveness..
    how do i develop my copilot?
    and how do i relieve stress and regain energy?

  • Tracey

    This episode was HUGE for me. It gave me so much insight into how I have been managing my own energy since learning more about my personality type, as well as some major reassurance about something I’ve been avoiding dealing with. THANK YOU.

    So, I am an ISFJ who is very aware of how quickly I can become drained when I am using my co-pilot (harmony/Fe). Even though I know of your advice to develop my co-pilot, I’ve been finding myself avoiding using it lately, because I just feel burnt out on meeting everyone else’s needs all the time. I’ve been avoiding looking for jobs that have too much of a “people” component, even if they might be more satisfying overall, because I’m so content in my office job with little interaction where I rely on my driver (memory) and 10-year old (accuracy) day in and day out. I’ve also been completely terrified at the idea of trying to become a parent in the next few years, because I have been worried that I just do not have the energy to meet a child’s needs.

    HOWEVER, this episode helped to remind me that when my driver (memory) and my co-pilot (harmony) are working together, it’s actually NOT draining! When I am meeting customer and colleagues’ needs in my current job and relying on my experience and expertise in my field to do so (memory), I’m actually kind of in flow. And when I am helping to meet the needs of close family members and close friends, whose needs I am familiar with and understand deeply, it’s not nearly as draining as trying to meet the needs of strangers or people with whom I have not spent time. I have always found children rather draining, but the more I get to know a child, the less intimidating (and draining) it is to figure out what he or she wants and needs and how to achieve good results. So, it’s likely that the depth of the intimate experience I would have with my own child would be intense enough that I wouldn’t be exercising harmony alone in caring for my child, but MEMORY as well — which I feel so much more equipped to handle!

    I realize there is a lot more to think about when it comes to something as serious as becoming a parent, but you have no idea how much this breakthrough has eased my overwhelming fear of it! I feel like I can think about it much more rationally now and understand that it may not wreck me in terms of energy management as much as I might have feared.

    Your muscle-exercising analogy was just brilliant. I’m definitely going to give this podcast another listen, and I’d love to hear even more about this topic. I mentioned this above — but maybe an examination of how each process functions when its in the driver, co-pilot, 10-year old, and 3-year old positions, and how people who have a process in a particular position might exercise or rest it alone or in combination with other functions.

  • Jaime

    This was a really good episode and it makes me want to look more into my cognitive functions and how they work. I am considering getting the genius assessment (I think that’s what it’s called) for my type, ISFJ. Does this assessment go in-depth into the car model and give practical tips for how to develop the co-pilot and “manage” the 10-year-old, etc for each specific type?

  • Amanda

    Thank you Joel and Antonia, This episode really helped to open my eyes. Being an ENTJ, after hearing this podcast really showed me I use my Extroverted Sensing way too much. I would often feel like I have to keep going and taking in more to keep up with the world. But Introverted Intuition is powerful for me. I recall using it as a teenager a lot and being able to complete and do tasks that others were amazed by. I will try and take this part of me more seriously, but in this world…. It won’t be too long.

    This has really helped my growth in life. Love your podcast and listen to it often. Keep up the great work you too!

  • Steven

    This is the part of personal growth that I have been struggling with the most. Trying to find a way to integrate energy management into all of my daily responsibilities. Sometimes I will get systems set up, and they’ll work for a while, but then something will throw me off balance, I’ll lose my momentum, and then I’ll have to build myself up to it all over again. It just feels like the being “thrown off balance” thing happens way too often, and that it has way too large an impact on me.

    Also, my work relies heavily on my dominant and tertiary functions, so that provides me with a very challenging environment for accomplishing integration of Fe. I’m an INFJ programmer who is surrounded by extraverts, thinkers, and sensors– and as much as I love them all, they drain me so much. So much so, that I can get hugely (enormously, really) annoyed at someone for typing as though they are endlessly torturing their keyboard day in and day out– like it had committed some unforgivable sin. ( Just as a random, totally hypothetical example, of course. *coughs* )

    And sleep is something that I struggle with as well. One look at my eyes usually reveals my cumulative sleep deprivation. I’ve isolated this as the first thing I need to tackle, but didn’t understand quite why it was such an issue for me. I gave up caffeinated drinks (and most soda in general), thinking it was that, but now I know why that didn’t work, I believe.

  • Alice

    Thank you so much for an incredibly helpful podcast. I’ve been ill for several months now and it made me realise that I am actually in serious burnout. I am an INFJ and so will now be consciously trying to spend more time in my driver process of introverted intuition in order to help expedite my recovery. Other than complete sensory deprivation, do you have any suggestion of activities that might help to get me into flow? I am in a pretty difficult place right now so any suggestions would be very welcome! I’d particularly like to hear of any workbooks or exercises that you might recommend? Thanks.

    • Michelle

      As an INTJ, you and I have the same Driver and 3 Year Old, so this may help you. I got into this amazing flow state once when I was copying some information. I was in a quiet room, no distractions, and it seemed to distract me physically, while not requiring any mental real estate. It was like I gave my eyes and hands something to do, and my brain just disengaged. It started processing all this information I’d been absorbing from the PH podcasts. It was almost like Antonia and Joel were analyzing me. Like, I could “hear” them talking about me and how the podcast information applied to me. LOL That probably sounds totally weird, but like I said, it put me into this flow state for about 4 hours, and I was on top of the world afterward. Hope this helps.

  • Lindsey Birch

    So what can I, as an ESFP, do to give chill time to my Ni? Like practically, exactly what are some things that I can engage in?

    Lindsey 🙂

    • Tracey

      I have this same question about all of the functions! I loved the practical examples given in this podcast for some of the cognitive functions, but I wanted more. Maybe future podcasts on each function with examples for each?

  • Emelie

    Thanks for an interesting episode! I am an INFP or INTP, not 100% which one (identify more with INFP but find flow in accuracy-type activities.)

    Anyways, I was curious to hear more thoughts from you Joel about your strategies for getting things done. I have also tried the GTD method now for 6 months but I find myself getting really stressed out by it. I got the impression in the podcast that you also have negative experiences with the GTD system. Do you have any ideas on a version more suitable for NPs?

    Many thanks!

  • Mon

    My ten-year-old function is severely dirty. I feel like I am always there. I try to get out of it, but then working on my co-pilot gets tiring too.

    I am an INFP and I’ve had problems with my three-year-old too. When I am extremely depressed, I don’t feel like doing any work. And then Te is about systematizing (right?) I don’t feel like doing any work like organizing my room or whatever. How does an INFP relax?

    • Charis Branson

      Depression usually comes from not spending enough time with your Driver process – Fi/Authenticity. It sounds like you are interacting with your back seat way too much. Focus on your front seat. Create ways you can pair Authenticity w/ Exploration (your copilot). This will give you the energy you need.

      If you need ideas for pairing Fi with Ne, you might try asking the community over on our FB page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1066580883382024/?fref=nf.

    • Melanie Douglas

      Very good podcast. It hit me that stress does indeed come when people don’t want you to be in your driver process and try to get you to abandon it. When they’d prefer you to be another type and make you feel the odd one out for it. As an INFP I lead with introverted feeling and that has ruffled a lot of feathers. I don’t mean to ruffle people, but when I get deeply convicted about something there is no way I’m going with what the group wants me to do if it makes no sense to me.
      I can also vouche for growing the co pilot really changing me. Before I knew any of these functions I went off to college 3 yrs ago at age 35 with a 13 yr old as a single mom. Moved 7 hrs north in Ontario and I have never been the same. It changed my life to explore new surroundings, the francophone culture and learn about plights I had no idea existed. Basically it changed the course of my life and I switched my school focus to northern economic community development. I’ve been exploring ever since and going to new places and wouldn’t rule out living in Churchill Mb or Nunavut even someday.

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