There have been too many times in my life where I had way too much to do. And with many tasks and projects looming, there are endless meetings, emails, and interruptions. I found myself spinning my wheels and feeling overwhelmed. I have been studying time management for quite some time to attempt to get my world under control. At the same time, I was studying introversion and coming to understand my specific strengths and needs. In my study of time management, I was not finding much about introversion as it relates to time management. Yet, I was discovering that as an introvert I needed some specifics to be more productive:

  • Time to clear my mind
  • Quiet focused time for certain tasks and projects
  • Time to prepare, plan, reflect, and think
  • Time to recharge each day to be effective

I put these needs and some strategies together in my book: Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts. There are many strategies that may apply to both introverts or extroverts, but as introverts, we have the unique needs above that need to be honored to be our best.

I have been incorporating these strategies over the past few years and am finding I am getting much more done and have a greater sense of peace. As I outlined in my book, I have learned to set my most important priorities and determine the tasks I need to accomplish first. As introverts, we have an amazing gift of thinking. In order to use this gift, we need some solitude from time to time. Introverts are not all the same and our needs for solitude will differ. I do not want to be alone all of the time, but I need a little time each day. Lately, I have set aside a couple hours each day to focus on whatever is the most important priority. During this time, I try not to think about all the other things I have going on. I ignore the emails that are constantly coming in. If I have a nagging thought about something else, I write it down to deal with later.

In order to do this, you must have a plan. In his article The 5-Minute Productivity Hack That Will Revolutionize Your Workday, Damon Zahariades states that you should make a plan the night before and this can be accomplished in 5 minutes. According to Zahariades by simply making a plan

#1 – You’ll Be Able To Focus

#2 – You’ll Know How To Move Forward

#3 – You’ll Work According To Your Energy Levels

The article outlines seven great tips for making your daily plan. The last one I really resonate with: “Be Realistic.” I know an overflowing to-do list has been a problem for me. Zahariades says that in order to be realistic you need to be conservative in your time estimates and leave more time than you think is needed. The second thing he recommends is to “limit the number of items on your list. Keep it under 10.” There have been times where I have a hundred things on my list, but by not having a focus, I ended up not accomplishing much.

You will be most successful and at peace when you learn what you need and what your strengths are. As an introvert, you have a great gift in thinking, but need some focus to use your gift effectively. You need some time to think, but also must be realistic about what is possible to do. I have found that when I try to focus on what is most important I get far more down than if I try to do a hundred things at once.

 

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