A good work-life balance seems impossible to achieve if you’re an introvert. Doing so often involves pushing for what you want and learning to stand your ground, two points which introverts can have difficulties with. 

So what can an introvert do about? 

Speak up. Easier said than done, right?

If even the thought about it makes you break into a sweat, here is some advice on making work life easier as an introvert.

Start With Yourself: How Much of An Introvert Are You?

First, it is important to tell whether you have a more introverted personality. An introvert is someone who functions better by focusing on their own internal thoughts.  

They prefer quiet contemplation and need alone time to recharge after they reach their threshold of social interaction. They function better on their own, in quiet settings and out of the spotlight. 

Extroversion and introversion are the final ends of a broad spectrum. Every individual is on a different part of that spectrum. 

So, to be in tune with yourself, your personality and your needs, do some soul-searching first and think about the work settings you find appealing.

Understanding yourself will make it much easier for you to identify and achieve a work-life balance that suits you.

Pick Introvert-Friendly Careers

If you haven’t already chosen a career and well know of your introverted nature, it’s in your best interest to consider introvert-friendly careers. Some telltale signs your current career will crumble include: 

  • You are unhappy with your job.
  • You find it’s a poor fit for your work preferences. 
  • You are dreaming about just running off somewhere quiet. 
  • You can’t focus with so many people around you and they drain all your energy. 
  • You feel like you can’t catch your breath because of so many interactions. 

If this is your case, it’s time for a radical change. 

Some careers that are well-suited to introverts include: 

  • Database administrators
  • Writers
  • Graphic designers
  • Paralegals
  • Developers
  • Commercial drivers
  • Accountants
  • Engineers 
  • Mechanics 

You can do all of this work on your own and with minimal disruption by others while you’re working.

Look for The Right Company Culture

We base much of American corporate culture around extrovert traits. Networking with others, the charisma to sell an idea and being a “people person” are all valued. 

Introverts need to look for companies that welcome introvert traits in their employees. Certain kinds of company cultures suit introverts better than others. 

You might not have to switch your job just yet. Instead, see how open your employer is towards implementing some introvert-friendly policies to your company. 

Offer suggestions on how the company can help introverts feel more comfortable and explain how this will help them better contribute to the team.

Practice Saying “No”

If you already have a career and job you like, you don’t want a complete change but still long for a better work-life balance. Hard as it is, one of the first skills you need to work on is the ability to say no without feeling bad about it

Never bite off more than you can chew. 

Taking on extra work because you feel uncomfortable saying no and speaking up for yourself is a common problem for all of us introverted individuals. 

So how can you say no without feeling like a bad team player about it? Be diplomatic. 

No one likes to be told “No”, but remember. When you say “Yes” to long office hours, you are technically saying “No” to the free time you deserve and need. 

Explain that you are swamped currently and won’t take on an extra task because you can’t do it in time. 

Many might still insist you can do it and make it, but don’t budge under pressure. Offer a compromise instead: let them choose – you do this now and something else (they are invested in) will be postponed, or you do this at a later time, or they do it if they are in a hurry. 

Establish ground rules and then stick to them. When you learn to say no to working late and additional work, your quality of life will improve.

Advocate Remote Work Policies

Introverts often have a more difficult time being productive in a noisy office where coworkers come over to chat every ten minutes. 

If being able to work from your quiet office at home will make you more productive, consider talking to your supervisor about it. Many companies already have remote work policies

If your boss is hesitant, you can mention many of the benefits remote work has for employers, such as lesser utility costs. 

You don’t have to work from home all the time – sometimes even just a day or two a week can make a difference in your job satisfaction (and your company’s finances).

Final Thoughts

Remember, you need to be your best advocate and pursue a path that will meet your needs and desires. Standing your ground will lead to a healthier, better work-life balance. 

It will take time, but it will be worth it. 

Is your current workplace more introvert-friendly?

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Jennifer McKenzie

Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs.

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