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Are Introverts or Extroverts More Productive?

Are Introverts or Extroverts More Productive?

Imagine a colleague of yours, or perhaps your dorm-mate, working in isolation on a project. He is a reluctant conversation-starter, but when you speak to him frequently and discuss topics which interest him more, he suddenly shows you bursts of his exceptional communication skills and how fun and out-going he can be. You may have experienced such individuals in your life, who seem aloof and prefer to remain in their own world until shaken out of their long slumber.

On the other hand, your friend Cathy may be a party-brat who loves to wear new dresses to casual parties and yearns for attention. She is excellent at communication and gets along very easily with strangers. She loves to get feedback from her friends on what she is wearing and how she is doing, and then makes changes to ensure self-improvement.

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There are introverts, and there are extroverts, and then there are those who fall in between these two extremes. If you are a boss, you may have to deal with both kinds of individuals and devise strategies to make the best out of their skills and energy. But before you do this, you need to know who is more productive naturally and how can you set up such environment which is conducive to both.

Are introverts shy?

Introverts are asked this all the time. If they are shy, isn’t it difficult for them to develop rapport with colleagues or to actively participate in brainstorming sessions? Neuroscientists actually define shyness as a behavior–something akin to being fearful in social situations; however, introversion is defined as a motivation that is ruled by how much an introvert actually wants and needs to be in such social situations. So it is not necessarily true that introverts are shy.

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Who is more productive?

It is difficult to decide who is more productive because both seem to possess qualities which the others don’t. The real trick is to basically understand how their minds work and what type of attitudes they bring to the table, which distinguishes them from others in terms of productivity.

The real difference in terms of productivity of both the introverts and extroverts comes in the form of how they derive their energy.

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  • Introverts tend to gain more energy and focus when they are left alone; therefore, you shouldn’t always expect instant answers from them.
  • Extroverts, on the other hand, require external stimuli to get that much-needed energy to perform. For them, social recognition, appreciation and colleague support is more important. Take that environment away from them, and they are nothing more than ordinary workers.
  • Introverts tend to find that much-needed spark and energy to work when they are alone, and if you put them in a situation where they have to interact with people, soon they will lose all of their energy for work and show lower levels of productivity.
  • Extroverts naturally have a lower basic rate of arousal; therefore, they need much more time than introverts to be productive. This is why extroverts always demand the company of others in order to shine.

From what you’ve read so far, you may think that introverts are more productive, but there is catch here: extroverts are considered to be happier in general compared to introverts, and personal happiness and satisfaction counts a lot towards productivity. If you are stressed and unhappy, you may not be able to focus on your work, and you could become less productive. An extrovert, however, may be more productive if the office environment makes her happy.

So, the productivity of introverts and extroverts really depends upon the kind of environment you put them in. If it is conducive for them to recharge easily, whether that means giving them alone time or excuses for social interaction, both can be equally productive for your organization.

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Adnan Manzoor

Data Analyst & Life Coach

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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