The benefits of focus for introverts (and everybody around them)
O boy, I feel like a kid in a candy shop. Working from home for the past ten weeks gave me so much work satisfaction and energy. It allowed me to tap into the benefits of focus associated with introverts.
In a recent conversation with my colleagues on how working from home is affecting us, it was clear that there is a division in opinion between the introverts and extroverts. As expected, introverts love isolation. The mere fact that they work alone allows them to focus intensely and produce high-quality work. On the other hand, the extroverts found it torturous. Not able to get out and chat with colleagues and friends deprives them of an essential energy source. For the introverts, the benefits of focus in isolation outweighed the negativities of the absence of interaction with others.
“Introverts avoid small talk because we know it is the white bread of conversation. There are no real nutrients in it, just empty calories.” – Michaela Chung, The Irresistible Introvert
The misconception of the benefits of focus
The consequence of introverts loving to focus on a piece of work at home without any disruptions are leading to several misunderstandings.
These misunderstandings lead to a few misconceptions, the perception that introverts are shy, unemotional, dislike working in groups, don’t like talking, want to be left alone and don’t make good leaders, to name just a few. Some may even say that introverts are awkward. The biggest drawback of these misconceptions is that we frequently place introverts in a box.
My biggest struggle while working in isolation is the ability to express myself clearly to colleagues and avoid misunderstandings. Although we do have access to a variety of collaboration application, it does not replace the benefits of physical interactions when communicating.
The consequential benefits of focus
The result is, we frequently overlook one of the essential advantages of an introvert, the benefits of focus. Introverts can focus on a task for extended periods, even in isolation, allowing them to become experts on the task at hand. This focus improves decision making, gives them clarity and helps to work more effectively. And, even get energised in the process.
I am not claiming that extroverts can’t focus for extended periods, or work in isolation. However, extroverts do struggle to “recharge their energy levels” while working alone.
Taking advantage of the benefits of focus.
There are multiple ways how managers, business executives and entrepreneurs can use introverts’ benefits of focus to their advantage.
Using an introvert as your internal observant
Introverts are excellent observers and may frequently notice small details that may lead to challenges in the workplace, much faster than the extrovert counterpart. In this case, the benefits of focus allow introverts to read people through small details like gestures and expressions. So, if you need a good view of the challenges at hand, ask the introverts, they will be able to provide a truthful observation.
Let introverts optimise your business processes
Introverts love thinking in a structured and organised way, especially in the comfort of an isolated environment. If you need to optimise your business, production or operational process, engage with the introverts. The benefits of focus create an environment where they concentrate for extended periods to analyse a challenge from various angles.
Exploit the introverts creativity
Solitude fuels an introvert’s creativity. In particular, isolation will fuel an introvert’s ability to think deeply and focus for extended periods. Introverts will instead analyse the problem in their heads for some time, rather than discussing it with colleagues. The benefits of focus for introverts are that it allows them to think outside the box, and they enjoy it. Most of the time, this strategy will lead to more creative solutions faster.
Utilise an introvert's ultimate comfort zone
The best way to use an introvert’s benefits of focus is to understand their comfort zones. They prefer quiet environments and enjoy their own company. They are usually independent persons. If you can utilise these comfort zones, you will end up with an efficient employee.
Working in isolation exposed the values of introverts to me. Every day introverts are using the benefits of focus to their advantage. By exploiting the introverts in groups’ ability to focus and the associated benefits, we were able to:
- recognise problems and challenges even before they became visible to the rest of the group;
- optimise our internal process to take the quality of our operations and products to the next level, and;
- found creative ways to address production challenges and reaching new clients.
Success comes from doing the part that others are uncomfortable doing. Therefore, introverts will always reap the benefits of focus. When the awkward provides you energy, you are more likely to go for it. So why not exploiting these comfort zones?