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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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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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