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NOTHING BUT THE RUTH!

Working From Home While Introverted

By Ruth Carter

Introverts were born for social distancing. Not being around people is our happy place. COVID-19 has required many of us to work from home, which comes with its own set of difficulties since countless others are working virtually. Here are some of the tips that are helping me maintain my sanity during this challenging time.

Turn Off Notifications

The upside of having devices is it allows us to work from anywhere. The downside is that we can be surrounded by devices that are constantly lighting up and beeping. When it’s time to get work done, turn off all your notifications, close out your email, and put your phone where you can’t see or hear it.

When it comes to interacting with clients and opposing counsel, do everything you can by email. This way you interact with them on your schedule, not theirs. Make it clear that phone calls are by appointment only.

Limit Virtual Socializing

So many activities shifted to videoconferencing platforms like Zoom when the stay-at-home recommendations went out. My rule as an introvert is to have no more than two videoconferencing activities per day. And preferably those are limited to ones where people 1) don’t talk over each other and 2) mute their microphones when they’re not speaking.

Virtual socializing can be just as draining as in-person events, except that in a Zoom meeting, I don’t have an option to escape all the voices. At in-person events, we introverts have the option to step outside. This option doesn’t exist at virtual events without taking off our headphones and completely disengaging. That’s why I try to limit myself to two events, two hours total, of virtual socializing each day.

Bring Your Pet to Video Meetings

One of the best things about attending Zoom-based meetings is seeing other people’s pets. If it’s soothing for you, bring your pet to the meeting. The other animal lovers in attendance will love it too.

Set Mini Daily Goals

You may find that you are more productive when working from home. There are fewer distractions than at the office (assuming you don’t have kids). That does not mean you have to do everything all in one day.

Every day or once a week, make a list of what you want to accomplish each day. Right now, since I’m working from home, I’m using a whiteboard instead of my usual notes system, aka the “Wall of Pain.” Set little goals and manage your expectations for yourself.

Wear What’s Comfortable and Conducive for Work

Even when they’re working from home, some people need to put on real clothes and shoes to get in the right mindset to do work. Other people are happy as clams working in their pajamas. Wear whatever makes you comfortable and allows you to get your work done. (I’m definitely Team PJ Pants when I don’t have to leave the house.)

Make Time to Recharge

Extroverts get their energy from being around others. When you’re introverted, it’s the opposite. We need to take time away from socializing and other people to recharge our batteries.

Even when you’re working from home, it helps to have a somewhat structured daily schedule. Delineate between work and nonwork times (and places if possible). Take time each day to step away from your computer and clear your mind.

What about you? If you’re an introvert, what rules are helping you stay sane while surviving COVID-19?

Image ©imagezoo.com

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Ruth B. Carter Ruth Carter

Ruth Carter — lawyer, writer and professional speaker — is Of Counsel with Venjuris, focusing on intellectual property, business, internet and flash mob law. Named an ABA Journal Legal Rebel, Ruth is the author of “The Legal Side of Blogging for Lawyers,” as well as “Flash Mob Law: The Legal Side of Planning and Participating in Pillow Fights, No Pants Rides, and Other Shenanigans.” Ruth blogs at UndeniableRuth.com and tweets @rbcarter.

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