When working from home, personalities matter. Introverted and extroverted ones do matter. Yet, this goes beyond who will do better at home. It goes to foreseeing the roadblocks each might face. This is especially true of distractions working from home.
Going Beyond Social Distractions Working From Home
To grasp this, we must avoid the trap that many fall into that differences between extroverts and introverts are just social. They’re. Distractions exist as both.
Those working from home often cite distractions as a key problem. Yes, they are social. Spouses, children, family and neighbors fall here. And yes, extroverts are vulnerable at home when craving that socializing.
However, non-social ones exist too. Extroverted-introverted distractions working from home will differ as external versus internal, things versus thoughts.
Here the extrovert is likely distracted by things in the office and home. The introvert is likely by extraneous thoughts triggered by the work, the job, the industry and personal happenings. Whereas the extrovert will move on to doing other things besides the work at hand, the introvert will likely daydream.
Facing Danger Every 18 Minutes
As research behind TED talks attest, the average person can only focus for about eighteen minutes until the extrovert itches to do something else or the introvert’s mind wanders. While this varies for each person (perhaps being longer for introverts), it’s still a danger.
In other words, both extroverts and introverts should expect two to six such moments every hour. Their resistance to distractions is the weakest at these times. Now, these breaks in focus aren’t bad. We need them. What’s bad is when they extend beyond a minute or two.
Dealing With The Danger Of Distractions
Dealing with this danger of distractions two to six times every hour will vary for extroverts and introverts.
The simplest way for each is to keep a note pad or file open to jot down things to do (extrovert) or thoughts and ideas (introvert). When the craving to do something else comes up, jot it down. Do the same with ideas. Add a short explanation. It could be what caused it to pop up.
Still, variety helps. Only doing this won’t be enough. Planning helps. Set aside one-minute tasks (extrovert) to do one at these moments. Review a list of ideas or projects, not the whole file. If any thoughts pop up, jot them down (introvert).
Don’t read emails, texts or notifications. Don’t open project files. They contain sirens who will wreck your ship on the rocks of distractions.
Finally, both extroverts and introverts would do well to pause from sitting every 60-90 minutes. It’s unhealthy to sit too long. We need breaks from it. Make another cup of coffee. Walking outside for a bit is especially good for thinking and focusing.
In the end, no one is a pure extrovert or introvert. Most likely a blend of these suggestions will work best. What’s the right balance? Only you will know by trying. We’re all different.
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