“Do you have a second?”
*I’ll just check Facebook for 5 minutes…*
There are so many tasks that are a part of our everyday lives – from beeping phones to buying one item at a grocery store – which are taking away the time we need to relax and unwind. And as introverts we need that downtime.
Take Back Your Downtime is a three week email course designed to help you stop unproductive habits so you’ll have room for more downtime in your life.
I provide you with the prompts, tools, and knowledge to stop your everyday life from sabotaging your downtime.
You bring the motivation and hardwork needed to make the changes that will take back your downtime.
Who: Introverts who need more downtime
What: Three weeks of emailed prompts, tools, and knowledge
Where: Online, through daily (weekday) emails
When: Starts Monday, January 5th
Cost: Pay What You Want
And: You get access to a private Facebook group with others who are taking the course
Weekday emails should take no more than 30 minutes of your time. Sometimes I will provide you with one task on a single topic, for instance turning off your email’s pop-up notification. Other times I will ask you to look at a compulsion you might have, provide you with ideas on how to stop that compulsion, and prompt you find your own solutions to break your unproductive cycle.
It’s possible that not every task or prompt will apply to your situation, so you’ll also get a list of 15 optional extra tasks.
- Week one: Most of week 1 will be spent tracking how you currently spend your time.
- Week two: We’ll discuss productivity tips and tools, and how to apply them to what you found in week 1.
- Week three: We’ll look at time-sucking habits, like grocery shopping and cleaning, and what you can do to diminish that time, or make the most of that time.
This class is best for
People who are overwhelmed, or feel like they have little control over their lives and are operating on autopilot.
This class might not be for you if
You can’t put aside 20 minutes a day to work on creating downtime. Or, if you’re looking for parenting advice.
I used to think so. But gradually over the past 10 years I’ve realized that I was putting far too much weight on this concept of happiness while failing to notice how satisfying it is to be content or peaceful.
I just finished a great book called The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. The Antidote is not about introversion, but I think happiness is something that’s on a lot of introverts’ minds.
Over the years there’s been a number of studies (study 1, study 2) which found that extraverts are happier. Many of my fellow introvert bloggers (Beth Buelow, Susan Cain, Arnie Kozak) have already discussed their reactions to this research, and have suggested that the researchers’ definition of extroversion may be flawed. The conversation about whether extroverts are happier is far from over, but The Antidote brings up an important question. Should we focus on trying to be happy while ignoring all the other positive things in life and suppressing the negative ?
One of the first arguments the author, Oliver Burkeman, states against striving for happiness involves thinking about a white bear. In 1863 Fyodor Dostoevsky, when writing about his travels in Western Europe, observed: “Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute.” Social psychologist Daniel Wegner thought that was such an interesting concept that he tested it. The result of his research is the Ironic process theory, which states that when you deliberately try to suppress a thought, the thought is more likely to come up. According to Burkeman, it may be “our constant efforts to eliminate the negative — insecurity, uncertainty, failure, or sadness — that is what causes us to feel so insecure, anxious, uncertain, or unhappy.”
His quest to examine happiness brought him to the Nairobi slum of Kibera, where people living in extreme poverty are happy. Why it is that communities which exist in extreme poverty don’t show up at the bottom of every assessment of happiness levels? Can it be that the things we think will make us happy and therefore strive for and hold on to – security, material objects, money, etc. – don’t actually hold the key to happiness?
The book also looks at length at the beliefs of Buddhism and Stoicism. According to the Buddhist point of view and its belief in non-attachment, if everything is unified then there is no such thing as attachment or separation. A Stoic similarly tries to “remain undisturbed by undesirable circumstances.” And one of the ways a Stoic may try to achieve that is by negative visualization. What would happen if you lost everything you value? By occasionally asking ourselves this we can learn to value what we have and what’s good in our lives.
So how does all of this relate to introversion? Well first of all, the jury is still out on whether we are actually not as happy as extroverts. But if we find out that we aren’t, so what? We are often happy. We are also often content, peaceful, and calm. Life is not a race where whoever is the happiest wins.
And if we have these negative thoughts in the back of our mind which we’re trying to suppress- maybe I’m not social enough, maybe I’m not doing enough to be happy, etc. – those thoughts might actually make us even less likely to be happy. By suppressing those questions we may make them more likely to bubble up into our conscious thoughts. What would happen if instead of trying to “out happy” extroverts, we live life on our own terms? And what would happen if we realize that unhappiness and insecurity are as much a part of life as happiness, serenity, and calm. I don’t think, and the author of the book doesn’t seem suggest, that we shouldn’t have goals or plan for the future, but that we might not want to run away from uncertainty or imperfection.
Maybe happiness doesn’t have to be the most important thing in life, maybe ALL of life is important.