The Introvert's Corner

How to live a quiet life in a noisy world

Energy Management: Hell Week Edition

The nuts and bolts of managing my energy through a busy week.

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First of all, nothing about the quality of the past week’s events was hellish. My book, The Introvert's Way, came out Tuesday, and the launch has been nothing but superduperswell. Really. Every minute of all of it was fun. Nevertheless, it was a whole lot of minutes. High quality and high quantity.

Promoting a book is as much work as writing one, and it’s the kind of work that’s ill-suited to an introvert’s nature. But if you want to sell books, you have to promote it. Cold, hard fact of life. So I spent the week juggling schmoozing, glad-handing, and and making public appearances while trying not to hit an energy wall.

No, I won’t manage to go pedal to the metal for six weeks, as I threatened. I needed a breather by Friday, and I took the weekend off. An introvert’s gotta do what an introvert’s gotta do.

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I did a few things right, in terms of getting through the week with minimum wear and tear. And a couple of things not so right. For example, fueling myself primarily on mint M&Ms was not a good idea. Next time I anticipate a week like this, I’m going to stock the house with healthy snacks. I don’t cook much, so I need grab-and-eat foods. Foods that are better for me than M&Ms.

I allowed myself space to get through the week. I didn’t beat myself up if I wasn’t productive all the time. I spent Tuesday, the day the book came out, indulging my own ego, goofing around on Facebook, chatting with well wishers.

On Wednesday, I had an hourlong live radio interview at 1 p.m., so I spent that morning sewing, which how I unwind. I was calm and relaxed when it was time to go to the station. (And radio is a perfect medium for introverts, since it's essentially a one-on-one conversation in a quiet room.)

I made time to exercise as many days as I could, walking the dog, at the very least. And one afternoon, I forced myself to leave my phone inside and sit in the backyard, where I stared up at sky and trees, listened to birds, and tried to think about as little as possible. Sometimes even listening to music is too much stimulation but I don’t always realize it until I turn it off. I don’t know how long I sat there. Possibly more than ten minutes but I wouldn’t swear to that under oath. At any rate, I felt a little less buzzy afterwards.

But then I stayed up too late that night for no particular reason. I regretted that Thursday, which was a big day, with a reading at Barnes & Noble and party afterwards. I tried to stick with busy work that day, cutting cheese into little cubes for the party and putting stickers on cards I would distribute. (What, you think I have a support staff?) I tried to nap, but I'm not good at that, so I just lay quietly on the bed for 20 minutes.

Then, when the time came, I slapped on my clown nose, set my plates spinning, and gave myself over to the evening’s dog and pony show. The full-out extrovert push. And I had a blast, one hundred percent. Resorted to the bathroom only once.

But ohhhh, Friday morning came early. I woke at 7 so as to be well coffee-ed up for a 9 a.m. interview with Wisconsin Public Radio, which would be on the phone. But no healthy food on Thursday, all those M&Ms, and a few glasses of wine the night before (extroversion in a bottle!) and no amount of coffee could crank me out of bed—so I stayed there. Talked to the fine people of Wisconsin from bed. Like Mae West. I wonder if they could tell.

Out-of-town friends had spent the night, so after my interview we had brunch al fresco (ahhh, Texas winters), which was a nice break. I got some work done Friday afternoon and stayed in that night and was asleep before 10—crazy early for me.

And then, it was introvert time. I stayed in and sewed Saturday and postponed that night’s plans which, fortunately, were with an introverted friend who completely understood. Sunday I cleaned house, went to my drawing class (I thought about skipping that, but decided that enforced quiet time and a visual task would be good for my brain), had dinner with the friend I’d put off the night before, and was asleep by 11.

I have another big week starting. I’m ready, I think. Although I’m completely out of mint M&Ms and I’m not sure cheese cubes are a satisfying substitute.

Sophia Dembling is a widely published Dallas, Texas-based writer. Her latest book is The Introvert’s Way: Living a Quiet Life in a Noisy World.

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