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As an introvert, I have learned that some solitude for me is not a luxury, but a necessity. The need for solitude in many of us is not selfish or strange, but in reality, brings us to our best self. We turn inward naturally and much good comes from this.  We need to spend some time there in our inner world. As an introvert, not only do I enjoy a little solitude, but I find it helps me be more organized, productive, and at peace.  We need quiet to focus, relax and recharge, plan and prepare, and think and dream. When do you have some time alone?

Books referenced in this podcast:

Laura Stack, What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do

Marcus Buckingham, StandOut

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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Podcast Transcript

Ep. 15 – Solitude Is A Necessity, Especially For Introverts

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. Normally we will air each episode on Monday morning.  Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform. 

As an introvert, I have learned that some solitude for me is not a luxury, but a necessity. The need for solitude in many of us is not selfish or strange, but in reality, brings us to our best self. We turn inward naturally and much good comes from this.  We need to spend some time there in our inner world. As an introvert, not only do I enjoy a little solitude, but I find it helps me be more organized, productive, and at peace.  We need quiet to focus, relax and recharge, plan and prepare, and think and dream. When do you have some time alone?

I was thinking about this while I was working this past week.  I had plenty of work to do this week, lots of meetings, lots of emails, some pressing.  And then there is the group chat.  Group chats or group texts can be such a great way to communicate quickly with several people.  But do you find they can be extremely disruptive when you are trying to focus on something?  And it can go on forever with people responding one after another.  

I am still working from home as I have been for the past year.  When I was working in the office on a regular basis, sometimes I would get into the office for some quiet time or I would stay late, no one calling, emailing, or no group chat.  Occasionally I would go in on a Saturday when the office was closed and got some good quiet time then.  These strategies haven’t worked for me this past year as I have barely gone into the office.  My quiet time at home can be very unpredictable with the five of us here.  My wife works for herself and her schedule is never the same.  Getting up early mostly works, but “staying late” occasionally doesn’t.  I did have a door at work, but now I am in a high traffic area at home.  I have been taking this working from home day by day as no one could predict exactly when working from home was going to end.  Maybe if I had known it was going to be more than a year. I could have done some better planning.  Maybe I could have found a quieter space with a door. I have actually been thinking of going into the office this next week for a little quiet, since it will mostly be empty.  

Laura Stack, in “What To Do When There’s Too Much To Do” has some recommendations for those without a door and many will apply to those with a door as well:

  • Turn your workspace away from active areas like busy hallways.
  • Wear noise-canceling or noise-attenuating earphones while you do the above.  People might think you’re listening to something and might be less likely to interrupt you.
  • Set up a signal to let people know you need to work uninterrupted. For example, you might wear a red cap when you’re deep into something and need to concentrate.
  • Set a symbolic barrier across your doorway such as police tape or a cube door.
  • Hold off responding to e-mails; close your e-mail program to give yourself some time to focus.
  • Send your calls directly to voicemail, so the ringing doesn’t distract you.
  • Turn off your cell phone (don’t just set it to vibrate).

The above strategies are great advice.  You may not be able to do all of the steps listed above, but you can select those strategies that will help you be most productive and focus on implementing those.  You may need to do some convincing to get your co-workers or family members to cooperate.

Of course we need quiet time for many other areas, besides being productive at work. I don’t need or want quiet all day long, but some quiet stretches here and there are very needed.  Do you know how much time alone do you need each day and for what purpose?  How do you spend this time?  Do those at home or at work support you in the time that you need?

 Not only do I find some solitude helpful in getting things done, but I also need some quiet time for other reasons.

  • I often need  to recharge after activities or situations that drain me. Do you know what types of activities drain you?
  • I do some of my best planning with some quiet.  What plans do you have for your day, your week, or year? 
  • As an introvert preparation is key.  What interactions, meetings, presentations are coming up?
  • I need time to think.  What problems do you need to solve?  What visions and dreams for the future do you have?
  • Sometimes it is relaxing and fun to spend some time alone.  What activities do you enjoy?  And remember, you know best what you like.  The other day I hadn’t been out of the house in a couple of days and just went for a drive.  Turned the music up loud and rolled the windows down.  It was just what I needed. 

I took  Marcus Buckingham’s assessment from his book, StandOut. In the results, this particular paragraph stood out to me, as it describes me well:

“You are a thoughtful person, someone who needs time alone to mull and muse–without this alone time, events pile up on you, haphazardly, and your confusion starts to overwhelm you.  So you look forward to time by yourself–early in the morning, late at night, long walks–and you use this time to get clear.”

As introverts, we think, and we think a lot.  We need time to ourselves to “mull and muse.” I’ve learned quite a bit about managing my time and energy to be more efficient over the years, but sometimes find it challenging to make time to myself to get clear, while balancing all of my other responsibilities. However, I like how Buckingham laid out the consequences of not taking the time we need.  Not only do we do our best work when we have some time here and there to think, but as introverts, if we don’t, “events pile up” and “confusion starts to overwhelm” us.  I have experienced being overwhelmed as I always have more to do than I have time for.  I need to take these consequences seriously as I want to be successful.  Not only must I figure out how to continually improve myself, but I also must make sure those around me also have the time they need to get clear.  Not only is the quiet essential, but without some quiet, I lose my peace, I may not be able to concentrate, and may be a bit irritable.  What do you need to do to get some more quiet time?

I now understand that some solitude for me isn’t something that’s “nice” to have, but a true need for most introverts.  I need to help other people understand this need, but should not apologize for it. It is very natural for introverts to need quiet time and by honoring this natural need, I am able to perform better, feel better, and get more done each day.

I know that positions and workplaces are going to vary and some people will work in an office that recognizes the need for quiet concentration.  With balance, we can get some great things accomplished.  The social aspect is important in being part of a work “team” and building relationships among those you work with. Also, I love my family and want to spend time with them.  We introverts really do like people and social interaction.  But, the quiet solitude is important for our concentration, analysis and deep thought.   Our workplaces need to recognize the strengths of each individual employee and provide balance between social and quiet time.  What is your workplace like?  As an introvert, what strategies are you using to achieve this balance?  

We must continue to get the word out that there is a need for solitude in many of us that is not selfish or strange, but in reality, brings us to our best self.

 Thank you so much for joining me.  I look forward to further connecting with you.  Reach out quietandstrong.com, david@.  I will add social media channels to the show notes. Please comment on the social media posts related to this podcast.  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.  Let’s keep the conversation going.  Get to know your introverted strengths and needs and be Strong!

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