Prevent Introvert Burnout – How to Manage Your Schedule

This is a great article by Stefanie Finkelstein about Burnout!

Physical and emotional exhaustion?

Feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment?

Cynicism and detachment?

If you are feeling any of these things, there’s a good chance that burnout is manifesting in your life. 

Are these symptoms familiar to you? Have you ever felt this way? I know I have. It isn’t pleasant. 

Burnout is a term that you might hear a lot these days because so many people are under chronic stress, especially in our fast-paced world.

Introverts are more susceptible to burnout than extroverts are. We need more time alone to recharge. Overcommitting ourselves, especially to social-oriented activities can easily lead to introvert burnout.  

It can happen anytime. It could be a Monday, and you are preparing for a big presentation at work this week; the same week that you have to attend a dear friend’s birthday celebration and a colleague’s going away party. 

Then, a relative calls and asks if you’re free on Saturday for a family event. You check your calendar and, upon seeing that you have nothing planned on that day, you say yes and commit to attend.

As the week progresses, you go along with your schedule and by the time Saturday rolls around, you realize that you would much rather stay home. As much as you love your family, you get this heavy feeling that anchors you to your comfort zone. 

But because you don’t want your family to feel like you are bailing out, you force yourself to get ready and drag yourself out the door. You feel so wiped-out that you want nothing more than to stay at home and curl up in bed all day. 

Over-scheduling is a recipe for introvert burnout. And if you keep doing this repeatedly, you are on track to manifest some of the symptoms listed above and jeopardize both your personal and professional life.

What I want to address in this article is how to prevent introvert burnout so you are feeling your best. When you learn how to better manage your schedule, you also become a better leader. 

But first, let’s find out what’s driving you to overpack your schedule with activities.

People-pleasing is not uncommon for introverts. We say yes to requests for our time without realizing how it may impact us.

Unlike extroverts, we don’t recharge by being around people. Instead, we feel refreshed after spending time in solitude.

A great mindset you can adopt when it comes to managing your schedule is to think of it as managing your energy instead of your time. While you may have time on your calendar, you may not have enough energy to spare. 

Acknowledging that you have limited energy that must be replenished is the first step to preventing introvert burnout. After all, it is how introverts are hardwired. It’s not about being anti-social or selfish by any means. 

Now that you know the mindset, the next question is: how can you prevent burnout? 

Here are some strategies you can try:

  • First, determine your threshold. Remember that this is about managing energy. For some, the threshold might be one major social activity for the week. It could be two or more for you. Perhaps one event daily with weekends as your free time. Consider reserving one free day each week. Can you get by and still feel great with a half day of time dedicated to recharging? Only you know what will work for you. Once you figure out what your limits are, set boundaries and stick to them. So, it doesn’t matter if you’re free on a particular day; if you’ve already booked your one (or two) social activities for the week, politely decline the invitation.
  • Second, learn to say no. While some people find it hard to say no to requests for fear of displeasing the other person, realize that saying no is an opportunity for you to be your best self for other, prioritized things. 
  • Finally, set a self-care routine. You can enjoy a cup of coffee or tea while watching the sunrise. Or you may want to spend some quiet time with your journal before going to bed. Whatever works for you, make sure that you set aside some time for it. It makes a huge difference for your overall health and well-being. As an introvert, being self-aware is important in situations like this. Because only you can manage your energy. Only you can determine what is right for you.

Experiment with the strategies above. You’ll find out what works best for you. Implement what you discover and you’ll be on top of your game – energized and working toward your goals with enthusiasm.

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