An Introverts Guide to Introverting at Work
I'm an introvert. Damn proud of it! But the thing about being "the introvert" in the office is...opportunities for solitude and recharging are few and far between. Yes, there are evolved organizations that recognize that all employees aren't created as personality equals. However, these progressive workplaces aren't the norm.
Sometimes, I need peace and quiet. No conversation and limited interaction with others. Without these things I feel overwhelmed and overstimulated. Thankfully, I've developed some coping mechanisms that have severed me well over my forty years of introversion.
Here are some tips to help you carve out decompression or introverting time while at work.
Go to lunch!
Get your ass away from your desk, grab your purse or wallet and get out of the office. My favorite lunch spot is my car. I listen to podcasts or music while I enjoy the me time. For introverts, staying at your desk during your free time is a surefire way to burn out. Go to lunch everyday, even when it rains or snows. Enjoy your free time.
Work in a private space away from stimuli.
If your desk is in a public area or if you work in an open floor plan work-space, find a quiet spot in the office to work. Sometimes hallways, staff lounges or even bathrooms are a good safe haven when you need a place to gather your thoughts or work in silence. Taking this time away from your coworkers to work in solitude isn't rude, it absolutely necessary in order for you to maintain you sanity.
Sit quietly and zone out. Even if you're in a public space.
There are times when I sit at my desk quietly; zoned out. I'll saw hello to my colleagues or anyone else I encounter, but I spend most of my time sitting quietly in our open office collecting my thoughts. This is something I do often. The tricky thing about this is people often think I'm being rude or I'm angry about something but I'm not. I just need quiet time to shut off my brain or I need the quiet time to sit with my ideas and thoughts before I take action.
Don't be afraid to tell people your busy.
Thinking is tantamount to breathing for introverts. I can't think in a chaotic environment. I can't work in a chaotic environment. The over-stimulation makes me crazy. To protect my sanity, I let people know when I'm busy and need uninterrupted time. Being honest in this way shows your friends or coworkers that you are capable of communicating your needs. The old me would shut down, I've learned to give direct and honest communication so I can hopefully get the same thing in return.
Bonus tip...I've perfect the art of the resting bitch face, I use it when I have to convey my need for privacy or solitude to a coworker who just doesn't the hint. Use the power of the resting bitch face to send energy vampires on their way so you can recharge and focus on your work.
My fellow introverts...how do you introvert in the workplace? What, if any, challenges have you encountered?