You like your co-workers, but you just can’t get anything done when they’re around. If this sound familiar, then you might be an introvert. For those who prefer to work alone, here are some tips that will help you be more productive in the office.
For those who don’t know, introverts are the quiet ones that tend to feel more energized from spending time alone, while extroverts are people persons who gain reinforcement and energy from being around others. Since introverts need solitude in order to recharge, it can be problematic for those who work in busy, open offices where overstimulation can hinder productivity.
Do the most important tasks early in the day
The more interactions introverts have over the course of the day, the more drained and distracted they will become. You should capitalize on the morning hours when you will be able to do your work uninterrupted, without people dropping by your desk. Either that or you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get your work done.
Fight for a flexible schedule
If your role allows for it, see if you can come in late, leave early, or work from home on certain days of the week. Chances are, you’ll get more done from home anyway. If this isn’t possible, be proactive about carving out time for yourself in the office.
Schedule meetings with yourself
If you use a system that allows bosses or co-workers to put time on your calendar, you might end up getting pulled into back-to-back meetings. Keep control by scheduling time for yourself to work on specific tasks. Knowing that you have these periods of time will also help you manage other interactions that might pop up throughout the day.
Find hidden corners
Search for a quiet corner or book a meeting room which would allow you to work in solitude for an hour or two. Alternatively, taking a stroll could help clear your mind of office work or give you time and space to think clearly.
Find alternatives to in-person meetings.
Occasional face-time is important, but endless in-person meetings are a surefire way to deplete your energy. Rather than running across town to meet clients, do your weekly check-in via phone. In the office, use email or chat platforms like Slack to communicate with colleagues when possible. This way, you can respond at your own pace — or just tune people out when you start to get overwhelmed.
Go out for lunch
For some, lunch is a time to banter with co-workers in the company kitchen. For introverts, it’s a time to escape. Some people feel like they don’t “have time” to go out to lunch, but if getting away for a bit will boost your productivity in the afternoon, it’s well worth it.
Know when to opt out of company events
You need to know when to show and when to go. Certain functions, like the office holiday party, you’ll need to make an appearance. But don’t feel guilty if you’re not in the mood to hit every happy hour that your co-workers organize. You spend all day at your office; you’re not obligated to use your precious evening hours playing ping-pong with the accounting team.
Let people know you’re an introvert
You might not want to tell everyone that you’re an introvert on your first day, but ultimately, there’s no shame in letting your co-workers know the truth about you. Introversion and extroversion are better understood today than ever before, but there’s still a lot we can learn from each other.
Daniel is an Art Director and Graphic Designer with over a decade of experience in advertising and marketing in the Greater Toronto Area.