As an introvert, preparation is a key to success. In our busy lives, it can be hard to find the necessary time to plan and organize your schedule, but this is such an important activity for introvert success. In this podcast, I give some tips for managing your time by scheduling a weekly review with yourself to organize your time and plan for those things that need to get done as well as the meetings that will be taking place. Taking this time for yourself will help you be more productive every single week.
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Change your comfort zone, 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 Mondays. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform.
I had an amazing afternoon last Friday. It turned out to be a quiet afternoon and I was able to get some great work done. Sometimes this is called a state of flow. It can be an amazing experience for an introvert to be left alone with your thoughts and do some creative and rewarding work. This doesn’t usually happen by chance. Preparation is key and I believe that as an introvert you will have unique strategies for organization and productivity. This was the topic of my first book. Minding your time: Time Management, Productivity, and Success, Especially for Introverts. As introverts, we have unique strengths and needs and should approach life with this in mind.
Another book I highly recommend is David Allen’s Getting Things Done (GTD). While the book was not specifically written for introverts, I found it very helpful as I try to accomplish many things each day. According to Allen, it’s important to get our minds clear by regularly capturing those things we need to get done and make a plan. As an introvert, I spend a lot of time thinking, so it’s so much better when my mind is clear instead of racing from one thing to the next.
One of the parts of GTD is having a weekly review. Allen says the weekly review consists of:
- Gather and process of all your “stuff.”
- Review your system.
- Update your lists.
- Get clean, clear, current, and complete.
I have a standing appointment with myself at the end of each week where I review what I was able to accomplish and what needs to happen the next week. So after my amazing Friday afternoon I had a look at the week and the week coming. What did I get done this week? What will carry over into the next week. I take some time to review what is coming up.
As part of this process I look at the upcoming meetings I have. Do I have the agenda? Is there any information I need to look at ahead of time? What questions do I have now? What points do I want to make? I have learned that, as an introvert, my strength is thinking deeply and thoroughly, but not usually on the spot. I know I am not going to do as well if I am not prepared. Of course, I have learned this the hard way. I’ve also learned not to compare myself to others that might be good at “winging it,” as that is not my strength.
As an introvert, preparation to me is one of the keys to my success. I highly recommend scheduling time for your weekly review with yourself to organize those things that need to get done and the meetings that will be taking place. I look at my calendar at the end of the week and then again as I start the week. Of course, from time to time you need to set aside some quiet time to look at your long term goal and dreams. For today we are looking at the weekly review.
Steve Chandler in Fearless discusses how important it is to actually make appointments with yourself. We always make time for others, but rarely give ourselves the same courtesy. Chandler explains the problem when we don’t make time for ourselves:
“Because you don’t have any time blocked out for yourself. No time to meet with yourself for your own planning. Or exercise. Or for meditation or contemplative prayer. No time in your planner for you to be in solitude. To just go alone into the silence so you can create.”
It is very important to be part of the team and I actually enjoy collaborating with others. However, as an introvert, I do need time alone each week to think, and also, as Chandler describes, to take care of myself. Don’t feel guilty about needing this time for you. It will make you a better person and more able to effectively serve others. You will also find time to create that needed state of flow.
Here are a few thoughts about making time to plan. I have learned that deadlines are important to me as there is a time to think and a time to get things done. Not all introverts work well under deadlines, but I actually do better when I have a timeline that must be met. However, I have to schedule that critical time to think – ahead of time – in order to do my best work when it’s actually time to do the work.
If you have a deadline coming up and need help with the “thinking” part of your project, here are a few ideas from previous posts that might be helpful:
1) Understand that you need to allow yourself time to think about the project – this is especially important for introverts.
2) Set an appointment with yourself to ensure adequate thinking time – setting an appointment with yourself, like you would with anyone else, will ensure that can carve time out of your busy day to spend on the project.
3) Preparation is Key – Those brilliant ideas will come, but they require research, preparation and time.
4) Capture your ideas – If you have thoughts or ideas that come to you about a certain project while you’re working on something else, capture them so you can clear your mind to focus on the task at hand (and have that great idea handy when you need it!)
Knowing that I need time to think about a given project is half the battle. I do best with preparation, and after I prepare, I need to allow time for those ideas to roll around in my head. So as I look ahead to next week, I will make sure to carve out that needed time to prepare and think. As you’re working on your next project or deadline, don’t forget to plan your reflection time!
An introvert goes deep in thought and, given time, can come up with some brilliant ideas. That is not to say that they cannot come up with great ideas on the fly, because they can. I just know from experience that some of my best ideas have come with some time to think, while maybe scribbling some ideas on paper or typing on my computer. This goes for many things such as meetings, speeches, or important conversations. I often do my best work when I can think ahead of time.
I was giving an important presentation. I was presenting to a group of people that I had not spoken to before. Also, I could not help but think that if I do a good job this could be a start of an ongoing presentation opportunity. If the presentation was poor, this may be a one-time presentation.
I took a few minutes and did a little brainstorming with myself on a piece of paper to consider the needs of the audience. Then I kept that paper handy while I did some other work, and as ideas about this presentation continued to come, I made note of them. Once I had gathered all the topics that I wanted to share, I put them together in my presentation. The presentation went well. As a result, I will continue to present to this group and keep building a good relationship with them.
So as I look at my week I also consider my recharge time. How does each day look? Is something draining that I need to schedule some time after? Or do I need to schedule some time before an important meeting or presentation to be ready. Prepared, and in the right frame of mind. Having a weekly review has been a key to success as an introvert. Making sure that I am scheduling time to meet with others, and myself, and that I have some quiet time to focus and prepare.
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!