In this episode, we review time management, productivity, and success, especially for introverts. We all have a lot to do there’s a lot going on in the world right now. It can be a bit much and overwhelming at times. As an introvert do you feel easily distracted, anxious, out of energy, or sometimes just lost in thought? What role does personality play in all this? We’re going to discuss making a strategy by knowing your introverted strengths and needs to be more productive and energetic and successful.

7 key areas to consider as you are making your time management strategy:

  • Focus on the Important
  • Time To Recharge
  • Balance Of Quiet
  • Avoiding Overwhelm
  • Managing Ideas
  • Getting Organized
  • Planning Your Week

Get my book: 

Minding Your Time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts

Contact the host of Quiet and Strong :

David Hall
Author, Speaker, Educator, Podcaster
quietandstrong.com
Gobio.link/quietandstrong
david@quietandstrong.com

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Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Quiet and Strong Podcast, especially for introverts.  I am your host, David Hall and creator of quietandstrong.com.  This is a weekly podcast dedicated to understanding the strengths and needs of introverts. Introversion is not something to fix, but to be embraced. We will air each episode on Monday mornings.  Be sure to subscribe. 

We launched the podcast on World Introvert Day.  If you don’t know this is yearly on January 2. I hope you took some time to celebrate the greatness that is introversion.  I was great to connect with so many of you on social media, linkedin, twitter, facebook, instagram.  There were good conversations and I also attended a zoom meeting with a panel of introverts which was very helpful. We have come along way in helping introversion be better understood, but are not done, so keep the conversations going. Again, my hope with this podcast is to empower introverts everywhere to use their great strengths while making sure their needs are met and being understood by other introverts and extroverts alike. In episode 1 I suggested taking an assessment like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) as a start to looking at your introversion or extroversion and other important personality factors.  I also reviewed  6 key differences between introverts and extroverts.  And we will do plenty of myth-busting on this podcast such as introversion is not synonymous with shyness or being anti-social.  And we all need connection with others.  And the goal is not to become an extrovert, but to embrace your introversion and be Strong.

Today we are going to review time management, productivity, and success, especially for introverts. We all have a lot to do there’s a lot going on in the world right now. Iit can be a bit much at times. Are you overwhelmed? I work full time, I run a business with my wife, we have three kids, I try and write and speak, I just started a weekly podcast, and lots of other things I want to do, and maybe have some fun too. So how do you do all this? Or as an introvert do you feel easily distracted, anxious, out of energy or sometimes just lost in thought? What role does personality play in all this? We’re going to discuss making a strategy by knowing your introverted strengths and needs to be more productive and energetic and successful.

As I was discovering that I was an introvert I was extremely busy so I was also studying time management and realizing that there wasn’t much written that was directed specifically towards time management for the introvert. But yet there were very specific needs that the introvert would have. And so I decided to make this my first book – Minding Your Time, Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for the Introvert.

When you are considering your time management strategy, remember, we do a lot of thinking, we do need some recharge time. So your strategy should include time to clear your mind, quiet time for certain tasks and projects, time to prepare to plan to reflect to think. And of course time to recharge each day in order to be effective.

In my book, I laid out 7 key areas to consider as you are making your time management strategy. I will add these to the show notes.

  • Focus on the Important
  • Time To Recharge
  • Balance Of Quiet
  • Avoiding Overwhelm
  • Managing Ideas
  • Getting Organized
  • Planning Your Week

At the time of this recording, I have been telecommuting full-time for the last 9 months.  At this point, I am not sure when I will return to the office and what role telecommuting will play in the future.  It is nice to not have to drive in traffic and my desk is only a few seconds away from my bed which is nice.  There are good and bad things about attending a few zoom meetings each day.  I am able to see my wife and kids more, but there are also more distractions at home, like “can you not run the blender right now, I am in a meeting.” I do miss other family and friends that I have not seen in awhile.  I am hopeful that things will get better for us all soon and hope that you and your loved one are well and staying safe.  I do think some form of telecommuting is here with us to stay for many of us and we can discuss that in your time management strategy. Some good has come and some adjustments needed to be made, it’s hard to know what will be permanent. This new and current aspect of life will be part of the podcast today.

So the first thing is we need to focus on the important. There’s so many things to do. You know if you’re an introvert you probably have a lot of great ideas and you’re probably coming up with ideas for your work and your life and there really isn’t time to do everything. Have you tried to do everything? I have, it doesn’t work. And unfortunately sometimes when you try to do everything you end up doing nothing. So you really need to spend some time thinking what do I want most. What is so important to me with my family, with my kids, with my work, with my health, with my finances, with my faith. What are the things that I really want to accomplish? I think from time to time you need to sit back and reflect.  Often a good time for me is a Sunday morning maybe while everyone is still asleep and the house is quiet, you need to figure out what is a good time for you.  Sit back and think you know if I could only accomplish a few things, what would they be for home or work or other things. I did this for work, I came up with my top three projects I wanted to accomplish for the year, because there is always more to do than possible. I thought over this next year these are the three things I really need to accomplish.  I made myself a little graphic, so I could remind myself of my priorities when things got to be too much.

Make sure that you take some time to recharge.  Do you know what drains you? Maybe too many meetings or a certain kind of meeting? Maybe a  presentation? Or a little too much small talk. Can you take a break after that thing that drains you? Maybe you can plan for that break if you anticipate something’s going to be draining. That’s the ideal situation. It doesn’t always work but that’s the ideal. And it might not be a full break, you might still be doing some work, but stepping away for a moment alone can really help. Things that you enjoy could still be draining. For example, I love giving presentations like this. But afterwards, I’m done, I need a break. I often present with the extroverted friend of mine and when she’s done with our presentation she’s ready for the next one. It’s not good or bad it’s just different and we need to know ourselves and what we need. Back in the office I didn’t take the many breaks but I did move about more with checking in with people or going to and from meetings.  Now that I am in this same spot all day I do need to remember to get up and walk around and stretch a bit. Also, I am now realizing how much my commute was a recharge time for me.  Now when work is done and I need to recharge and I move from my desk to the recliner in my bedroom, and I joke with my wife that I am driving home.  And I chill out for a bit and then after hang out with my family for the evening.

 How about the weekends? How are you recharging for the week? What kinds of things do you do to recharge? And then it’s also important to do what I’ll call the retreat from time to time where you take a little vacation or maybe it’s a staycation. I usually like to mix it up doing some travel and some staycation, but right now we’re still in a worldwide pandemic and I had planned some vacation early on in 2020 and then it came around in the summer and I decided to take it even though I wasn’t going anywhere even though I was staying home. Staying home was very relaxing and recharging even though I didn’t go anywhere. During this time of pandemic I have been trying to get out in nature a bit with my family and that is always a great time to recharge. Sometimes a staycation can be just the thing that you need. I don’t know why some people think you have to go somewhere when you are on vacation.  Again, I like to mix it up normally. Maybe you are working for yourself and I know this may mean in many cases that you are working all of the time, so a retreat can be difficult, but all the more reason that you need it. My wife runs her own business and so the work is always there, but over the holidays she choose certain days she was going to be off. It is so needed to recharge, regroup, refocus, and relax.  So be sure to find the time daily to recharge, weekly, and from time to time take that retreat.

As introverts, we need a balance of quiet.  Some focused time in solitude to get my work done and accomplish my goals. Multitasking with all the starting and stopping and trying to figure out where I left off doesn’t really work well for me. I need some focus in my day to be able to get some serious work done. One of the best things I ever did was block off the first 90 minutes of my work day to get started on the day and have some quiet time to focus and think and get some projects started. Now sometimes that’s not enough and I had found myself in the office on a Saturday when no one else was there just to get some of this quiet and a lot of times it’s just kind of getting caught up for the week, preparing for the next week, but there was this one Saturday where I was working on a project and I spent eight hours in quiet focused only on this project. I got it done, And it made me reflect and think okay when would I have had this 8 hours during my chaotic week.  It makes me think you know I need to keep pushing for to have some more quiet focused time for me and also for those that work with me. An occasional Saturday is ok, but not a good long term strategy. In the pandemic, I have moved from an office with a door I could close occasionally, to an “open office plan.” in my house.  And my wife, Cari, a fellow introvert always works at home, so for the past 9 months we have been in her space –  Me and the three kids.  Me with constant zoom meetings and the kids with online school and the online school was definitely frustrated for her and all of us. We both need some quiet.  Often part of this quiet is me getting up early and she tends to stay up later to get her quiet. Introverts need some quiet whether working from home or in the office to have some needed focus. I can’t get up early enough to get all of the quiet I need at home, so some negotiating and scheduling with the family is important. Do you know how much quiet you need?  Or those around you?  I think this is something that we can definitely work on in our companies and/or at home. 

Avoiding overwhelm. Have you been overwhelmed? Are you overwhelmed now? I actually am this week. I’ve got a lot going there’s a lot going on in the world. And sometimes our thoughts can really get the best of us thinking of all the things that we have to do, all the stress we might be under. Its important to step back and make a plan and make some priorities and know the things are going to be okay.

I really like this quote from Marcus Aurelius “the universe is change our life is what our thoughts make it.” Sometimes that’s what you have to do you have to, think what what needs to be done, what has to wait, I’m going to make this podcast right now for example, and on Monday I’m going to do this other thing that’s pressing and this other thing well it’s not as important and it’s going to have to wait. And it’s all going to be okay so sometimes you have to reframe your thoughts and reprioritize and make a plan for how you’re going to get things done and not be sucked in by all the negative thoughts that you might have.

And then there is managing ideas.  As an introvert, we have all kinds of ideas. Sometimes they don’t stop for me and it can be a problem when you’re working on one thing and you’re getting ideas on something else and you really want to stay in the present so that you can get that thing done that you’re doing, or stay focused with those that you’re with, or maybe get some sleep,  The idea you have it might be a really good one so you need to capture it. Maybe I have a pad of paper nearby and I write that thing down so that it’s off my mind and I can stay focused on the present. I always have my phone and so my phone is a great way to capture ideas, you know there’s lots of apps like I use Evernote or I might put ideas into a shared document in google that I can pull up on any of my devices later.  Sometimes when I might be driving is when I have my best ideas. I might call myself hands-free and actually leave a voicemail. So there’s all kinds of ways where you just need to capture that idea and keep going to be working, but at the same time don’t let that idea slip away because it might be a really good one.

It is important to get organized. Organization is really important for all the things that we discussed so far. It’s important to get your important items in the calendar, plan your recharge, plan your balance of quiet, get things prioritized so you aren’t overwhelmed. Plan a time to organize your ideas. I like to use a calendar that I can have wherever I am. In my case I use the Google Calendar. It’s on my phone, work computer, home computer, and that’s how I manage all the things that I do.

Sometimes you might just need to make an appointment with yourself to work on that particular project that you need to get done. No matter what system you use, it’s important that it’s always available to you. Don’t schedule to too tight so you are ready for the unexpected.  The unexpected is a regular occurrence for me.

Part of getting organized is planning for your week

Here’s another great quote from Loey Pastor: “Chance favors the prepared mind.” Preparation is one of the key things for an introvert. We like to and need to  think about and through things and in order to do that it’s best to be prepared. So as things are coming up in the week, I like to look ahead before the week begins, what’s going on this week, what meetings do I have, what conversations am I going to have, am I ready for those? Do I need to do any work for those? Do I need to do some research so that I can think ahead of time? Or do I need to prepare for the meeting? Has someone sent the agenda out so I can think ahead of time. Because I do best that way. Again I can go into a meeting cold and do fine but I do so much better if I thought about the agenda items and have written down the things that I want to make sure I address. During the meeting if I make sure that I address my items and also capture those things I need to do later. Back on ideas, it is common for me to have something brought an unrelated thought, so it is needed to capture that thought for later and stay focused in the meeting. And after the meeting making sure I capture all this to-do items and ideas that I had. Preparation is so important for an introvert. And so in your week you need to come up with those strategies you can do to prepare for those conversations and meetings and presentations and experiences that you will have.

So here’s the areas to consider as an introvert as you make your time management strategy. Again, there’s some things that are very unique to an introvert.  You can reflect on your strategy and make a plan. Some of these things you may be already doing and think about that. How am I doing? What areas can I improve by taking into consideration my unique strengths and needs as an introvert?
Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out quietandstrong.com, david@.  I have added social media channels to the show notes. Send me topics or questions and we can address those on the show. So many great things about being an introvert and so we need those to be understood.  Sometimes it will be just me and sometimes we will have guests.  So much great work is out there in books, blogs, podcasts, videos.  We need to keep the conversation going as that is where we learn the most about our strengths and differences. Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be Strong!

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