The Introvert’s Guide to Surviving Lockdown
It would seem on the surface that the lockdown would be a dream for any Introvert: spending weeks in isolation with only your nearest and dearest to interrupt your peace. Yet it seems that the lockdown brings some challenges for the introverted too. So here are my five tips for Introverts to survive the lockdown:
Ping! There goes another alert. Buzz, another colleague is trying to get in touch with you. Introverts say that focus is incredibly important for them, and that interruptions plainly and simply degrade that focus. What’s worse it takes some time to get back into the zone after you’ve been interrupted, so ten interruptions an hour really cuts back on your productivity. A bit of communication and scheduling here can really help you (yes, Ps can schedule too!) Agree with your team (or family) that there are certain times that you will have your head down and won’t be checking your messages, and that there are other times that you will be way more responsive. Remember that not everyone knows what it’s like to be an I, so let them know why you’ve got your Instant Messenger turned off, or your door closed.
Finding time for you
Working from home used to be an opportunity to do some of your best work: being focussed and in the zone for hour on end, getting huge amounts done. Now you’re getting those constant interruptions from work, and in addition you may suddenly find yourself sharing your workspace with another person, with a couple of much smaller people buzzing around the house too!
Finding some space for the focus mentioned above is important, it is also key to remember that you also need some ‘space’ for yourself to recharge your batteries, particularly if you’ve been having to do a lot more extraverting than normal. Many Introverts talk about the importance of being in nature for this. Whilst that can be hard to achieve right now, looking for even a small opportunity to take a walk to the park, or just sit at a window where you can see something green will make a big difference. Avoid the temptation to dive into more online rabbit-holes of news, opinions and research. This is not the alone-time that you’re looking for.
Giving support (only you can save the world)
Let’s face it, you’re probably going to find this easier than many of your Extravert friends, family and colleagues. You’re way more used to spending more time with only the people you know well, so focussing and being productive by yourself is far less of a challenge. So here’s the thing then, more of the responsibility for providing support is going to fall on you! They need your help. So how can you provide this? Well just knowing that spending time with you will recharge their batteries, one of the easiest things to give is your time. Remember too that Extraverts only know what they think about something when they’ve had a chance to talk it out, so look for opportunities to be a sounding board. Try not to judge them if the first thing that comes out of their mouth sounds poorly thought through. It is. As they talk they will become clearer. And happier.
No-one is an island
Introverts need people too. Just because you’re energised by consideration and reflection doesn’t mean you don’t need people. This is doubly true when dealing with a crisis. You have the same feelings as anybody else and you need your friends and loved ones to be with you when times are difficult. So do remember to schedule those calls, video conferences and simply time with the people in your house.
Just because you can do it, it doesn’t make it right
Just because it’s not as energising, doesn’t mean that the extraverted world isn’t useful to you. All the Introverts I talk to say that they like talking to other people when they want to find out more information to understand what’s going on, or to find the right people to work with to achieve their goals. (Those of you into Type Dynamics will know a little more about this). So just because it may be possible for you to get by for days on end at the moment without talking to anyone else, doesn’t mean you should do! Your work performance will be better for the involvement of others, and as I’ve said above, you’ll feel better too.
So there we have it, Introverts need a few tips to get through the lockdown too! Take care of yourselves, your energy levels, and those who rely on you.
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