Chapter 4 of “Quiet Influence; The Introvert’s Guide to Making a Difference” by Jennifer Kahnweiler is about the introvert strength of Taking Quiet Time.
So if taking quiet time for ourselves is important, how can we do that? Kahnweiler interviewed a number of successful introverts and shares some of their secrets. (My comments are in italics.)
Create Structure and Protect Your Quiet Time by
- scheduling and protecting quiet times on your calendar.
I’ve tried this for my professional life and sometimes it actually works. My office is famous for pop-up meetings, those times when someone pings me on instant messaging and wants to do an instant meeting. I’ve learned to excuse myself and set an actual meeting time but sometimes I feel obligated. It’s a tough one.
- getting up early
My favorite idea. It helps that I am naturally an early bird. I always manage to get time to think and write before starting my “public” day. I couldn’t make it through without that.
- eating lunch alone
That’s a rule for me. I need that recharge time in the middle of the day. Absolutely. The worst thing is getting locked into a working lunch because then you have to make small talk, which is even more of an energy drain.
- building in breaks
Tried it. Can’t get it to work. Sometimes I put fake meetings on my calendar just so that I can get a little breathing time. My company schedules meetings so tightly together that it’s hard to even get a bathroom break. It’s lunacy.
- selecting your optimum working environment
Now here’s a fantasy if there ever were one. I’m in information technology, and fortunate enough to be able to work from home. The few times I do have to go into the office are times when I let go of hoping to accomplish anything. It’s a noisy and distracting huge cubical farm. If you work in the corporate world, good luck!
Graphics from the Wall Street Journal
- Turn off your devices
I have to admit that I’m doing much better on this one. My iPad is being used as a clock, and I’ve turned off sound and messaging so I’m not distracted by that during working hours. I do the same thing during my personal life. I’ve just found it’s easier to only turn on the wi fi when I want to google something. I limit checking my email. It’s helping
- Reduce stimuli
This is a continuation of the above. I turn off all the bells and whistles and only check in with the rest of the world a couple of times a day. Even at work, I refuse to check my email every time something comes in, and I’ll put my instant messaging on Do Not Disturb from time to time.
- Turn off all sound
There are sometimes I can listen to soft acoustic music and still concentrate, but even those times are rare. I usually have so much coming at me during work that I need peace and quiet.
Go Within Yourself
I try to take little qigong breaks during the day. When meetings end early (a rarity, but it does happen), I grab a quick stretch break and do a little something.
- Don’t forget to breathe
This is a big one. I do forget to breathe, or I find myself doing that shallow, high chest breathing instead of really exhaling and inhaling. I’m trying to remember to do three breaths between things: One breath to let go; one breath to be present; one breath to ask what’s next. It helps me focus.
- Take Naps
This is one of the biggest joys of working from home. I grab a forty minute power nap whenever I can. Thirty to forty minutes recharges me. Less than that leaves me feeling more tired and more than that makes me somnambulistic. I just can’t seem to wake up. I’m usually booked solid from 8:00 to 1:00, but if I can squeeze in a power nap after 1:00, I do. It gets me through the rest of the day. I get up between 4:00 and 5:00 and start work as soon as I get done taking my time in the morning, so by 1:00 I need some recharging.
What is your day like? What works for you? Share your good ideas, please.
Next installment… Ideas to increase your quiet time strength.
Hi. I’m Chris. I’m an introvert. All of my postings tend to reflect my introvert world in some way or another. Join me and like minded introverts for a special slant on the world.