6 Tips for managing and nurturing introvert energy

by | Jul 14, 2014

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Managing and nurturing introvert energy

It was a typical day. You arrived at work and rushed straight into your first meeting. That meeting overran, and you arrived late for your second meeting. The third meeting took you to lunch time. You snatched a sandwich and your fifth coffee of the day at your desk.

More meetings followed. Later in the afternoon you had just an hour to do all the work generated by the meetings, but people stopped by to talk, fragmenting what remained of your concentration.

Late in the evening you caught up with a fraction of the workload, but you found it hard to focus, and you went home dissatisfied and exhausted.

Introvert energy works differently

Breaking the cycle of rush and energy drain starts with understanding the energy differences between introverts and extraverts:

  • Introverts draw our energy from within and need quiet time to recharge. Extraverts draw their energy from being with and bouncing off other people.
  • Extraverts are energised by social interaction. Introverts are drained by it, need high energy to be at our best in group settings and recovery time afterwards.
  • If we want to deliver our best results, we need to manage our introvert energy actively. That can be challenging when our extravert colleagues see quiet time as an aberration. Sophia Dembling, Psychology Today blogger and author of “The Introvert’s Way”, says that when her energy is drained, “...it feels like my brain is tired, almost like a muscle would be tired”.

Finding what works for you

So how can you best manage your own introvert energy?

Firstly, drop the guilt. Quiet time is as essential to you as training is for an athlete. It keeps your introvert energy in tip-top condition, especially when you’ve tailored your recharging approach to suit your unique preferences and needs. You’ve been employed to deliver results. See your quiet time as part of being fit to do the job.

Build up a repertoire of top-up and recharging strategies that work for you.

These might include my 6 Tips for managing and nurturing introvert energy:

  1. Three long breaths: breathe in for a count of 7, and breathe out for a count of 11. This comes from Padraig O’Morain’s new book, “Mindfulness on the Go, which is full of manageable brief meditations for busy folk.
  2. A bathroom break between meetings when you can take time just to breathe and centre.
  3. A walk in the park or round the block, noticing everything around you: sounds, movement, the faces of others, the weather, flowers, trees.
  4. An hour or an afternoon doing something that truly nourishes your spirit.
  5. Taking time to read a book or watch a sunset.Become acutely aware of when your energy is getting low.
  6. Choose the strategy that best fits the moment and do it.

Don’t allow others to prevent you from recharging. Your full introvert energy is the most precious gift you bring.

alewis Subscriber
,
Ann Lewis trained as a coach in 2002 and left HR for her own leadership coaching practice at the end of that year. Between 1987 & 2002, Ann was an HR professional in the non-profit sector in the UK, and has ten years’ HR Director experience in the third sector. Ann’s experience of being bullied early in her career and of coaching people who have lost their balance at work have helped her to recognise her own energy challenges, and have given her a deep understanding of how important it is for leaders to stay aware of their emotional responses to the ups and downs of their leadership role in order to remain balanced and effective. Ann is author of Recover Your Balance – how to bounce back from bad times at work. Her new book, The Quiet Zone, for introverts and introverted leaders, will be published in 2014. She is based on the Isle of Wight in the UK.

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