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Are Introverts or Extroverts More Productive?

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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

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Last Updated on October 21, 2021

How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

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How to Create Your Own Ritual to Conquer Time Wasters and Laziness

Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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Program Your Own Algorithms

Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

How to Form a Ritual

I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

  1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
  2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
  3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
  4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

Ways to Use a Ritual

Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

1. Waking Up

Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

2. Web Usage

How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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3. Reading

How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

4. Friendliness

Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

5. Working

One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

6. Going to the gym

If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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7. Exercise

Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

8. Sleeping

Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

8. Weekly Reviews

The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

Final Thoughts

We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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