Wednesday, October 23, 2013

31 Days: Leave Me Alone (Please)

Tony asked me if I'd had a good day. I affirmed that I had, and that most of it was spent alone. I said that like it was a good thing. And it was.

But I thought through that statement as I walked out of the room, and realized that it's not entirely true. It just feels like I spent most of the day by myself.

I'm not complaining. It actually feels good. A little alone time goes a long way.

I actually only had about four hours to myself. This morning I worked from home with my family moving in and out of the room. I spent another two and-a-half hours with piano students, and then another couple of hours with small group people. Tons of them. I hung out to speak with a beautiful 13-year-old who wants to be a singer, gave a kid a ride home and then got back to the house to check email and figure out what I missed.

In between all that, I had four hours to myself. I sat at a table, earbuds in, people milling all around me. First at McAllisters, over a bowl of vegetarian chili; then at Starbucks, clutching a skinny vanilla latte. I worked and focused, in and out, on a couple of major projects.

I made great progress.

And tonight, I feel energized and most happy about the fact that I had that time alone. Even though it was less than half of my work day, it feels like the biggest part of all that I did today.

I guess it's true. I have to admit it. I am, truly, an introvert.

I'm energized when I have long stretches of time by myself. I like having people around me; in fact, I think I'm most productive being alone in a busy place full of people and noise.

Weird, that. I often feel guilty about this, because I never feel like I can get anything done at the office.

Except I talk to people a lot, and I love that. So what I get done is getting to know people better. That's important, and I like that. But I don't feel like I can get focused work done on the larger projects on my plate.

If I could, I think I'd sit at Starbucks three days a week, earbuds in, getting work done.

On weeks when I have small group (two of them now) or rehearsal, I'm very "other-focused". I'm listening and looking and caring and sincerely trying to be about the other people. It feels very "giving", at the risk of sounding all uppity. But that's how it seems to work; I function in those moments as someone whose main focus is equipping other people. I wouldn't say that's necessarily hard work, but it does seem to deplete my resources somewhat.

So I really like being all by myself. I think it helps me get my work done. It seems to energize me.

I think that makes me sort of weird. So I try to be more normal, and work some in the office. Except I don't get my work done.

Somehow it balances out. I'm just thankful for my job, and the flexibility, and the opportunity to help people. Balance is the name of the game.


spookyrach said...

I am reading. And commenting. :D And being kind of jealous of your focus. Focus is a good feeling.

Ashton said...

You gotta do what you gotta do. Music works wonders

Jennifer said...

I just had to comment and say that this isn't weird at all! I'm an extrovert to the T, but I still love having alone time. I think it's essential to sanity to learn how to spend time with yourself, and be ok with it! And not feel lonely, like a lot of people do. I admire your ability to be productive, functioning, and happy in your alone time c: It's a model for all of us!

Lori said...

If I could, I think I'd sit at Starbucks three days a week, earbuds in, getting work done.

yes you can.... because you can.

I think it makes me more normal?!. Yes, it is normal. It is who and what you are. I know because I am one too.

And yes we are the least productive when we are around others trying to make sure everything and everyone is okay, fed, washed, grouped, sung, sang, plucked and strung. You get the point.

And I been meaning to talk with you about these things because it helps me focus too.... because I can't do it "out there" I have to do it "in here" and it makes me feel normal. Okay, saying I'm normal is a stretch, I know that... but you know what I mean.

More time to self... pencil yourself on your schedule.

Jayne said...

I think it's the being in the middle of people you don't know and don't have to constantly stop to interact with that makes it more productive time. I have both extrovert and introvert tendencies, and they balance one another out nicely I think.