In today’s online-driven world, life as an introvert is much more comfortable. With Netflix, Uber Eats, Twitter and FaceTime, the whole “leaving the house” thing has become a relic of the past — or at least it has for most homebodies.
While some argue the personality labels of “introvert” and “extrovert” are completely oversimplified, there’s definitely some truth to the opposing polarities. Some of us gain energy from being around other people (extroverts), while others recharge from sources like books, movies; and feel somewhat drained by social gatherings (introverts).
For the latter group, working in situations where they’re surrounded by others for long periods of time can feel like torture. That said, introverts still crave personal contact with others (they’re humans, not aliens!), so working from home can present its own set of challenges, too.
If your personality tends to veer into introvert territory, here are five essential career tips to get ahead, while protecting yourself against energy vampires (yes, they are definitely a thing!)
1. Take solo breaks.
If you work in an office, your extroverted coworkers may think break time is an opportunity to follow you to the coffee shop while they chat about their weekend. This may work for you sometimes, but more often than not, you’ll want to protect your breaks so you don’t burn. Tell them you have an errand to run, or a phone call to make — then go for a solo stroll to think and recharge. Chances are, you’ll come back feeling refreshed and ready to slay some more work.
2. Pop in some headphones.
While you probably don’t want to be wearing headphones 24/7 at work, they can come in handy when a chatty desk mates won’t stop gabbing about the latest episode of Stranger Things. Headphones can be a great way to let your co-workers know you’re trying to focus without telling them outright. Plus, you can use them to listen to some soothing tunes.
3. Find a job with flexible hours or a work-from-home schedule.
For introverts, a day working from home can feel like heaven. These days, many companies are catching on to the fact that a comfortable work environment is an absolute must if they want to retain employees and attract millennial hires. Talk to your manager about working from home once a week, or better yet, aim for a career you can do from home all the time!
4. Get social!
Introverts are funny creatures: we relish our alone time, but it doesn’t mean we’re totally antisocial. If you work from home, make sure you plan to meet a friend for lunch or coffee a few times a week. Use social media to track down other like-minded creatives who work from home, and hang out regularly to keep each other motivated and inspired.
5. Create a sacred workspace.
Whether you work in an office or at home, make sure you carve out a special place where you can get the creative juices flowing. Cover your desk with plants, pictures and objects that make you happy. You just may find it makes your work day more enjoyable. Never underestimate the power of a clean and beautified workstation!