Introverts need to budget their energy reserves like others budget money

All the jargon about introversion and extraversion may be confusing to many but most people do understand the need for “budgeting” resources.

Just as most of us must watch our financial spending closely, introverts have to do the same with their energy. Unless you are one of the recently won the lottery or have some endless source of income, then you usually budget your finances to some degree. Of course, some have more to work with than others. The same is true for introverts. Some of us may have larger energy reserves than others but for the most part, introverts have small reserves of energy that must be refilled frequently.

For this introvert, the magic number or amount of time that I can spend energy without completely emptying the tank is about three hours. After three hours of an activity, I’m finished and looking for the nearest exit. This is especially true if I’m out shopping or have to attend an event or party… basically, anything that involves a lot of interaction with other people will burn up my energy source quickly.

Since most people can understand budgeting finances, let’s look at some common tips for managing money.

  • Plan ahead – take a look at a typical week/month and determine how much money is coming in and what will need to go out.
  • Be aware of “leakage” unplanned expenses – trips to the ATM, going out for fast-food… any expense that is not regularly a part of your planned budget.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut back – what expenses can be cut out or what could you do without or possibly sell?
  • Don’t spend your surplus – if you budget well and have a surplus then save it or invest it.
  • Don’t deplete your bank accounts – always leave funds for unexpected expenses or emergencies.

Ok, now let’s apply those same tips to budgeting energy for introverts.

  • Plan ahead – plan your week/month; what activities or events do you have planned that will drain your energy bank? How much time will you have daily to recharge your battery or deposit energy into that bank?
  • Be aware of “leakage”, unplanned energy zappers – things like unexpected guests, last minute invites to events, or other types of stimulation can slowly drain your battery.
  • Don’t be afraid to cut back – determine what activities can wait until another time or what events can you cancel or decline on an invite.
  • Don’t spend your surplus – if you have managed your day/week well and have extra energy, don’t burn it up all at once, save it or spend it wisely
  • Don’t deplete your energy reserve – take time to refuel before you reach empty

Most people don’t have to budget their energy so tightly. However, these tips are good ideas for anyone. Most people are extroverts; we are the minority (3 extroverts to every 1 introvert). Extroverts typically can handle several activities in one day or attend several events in a single week without having a complete melt down but for introverts, if we do not have time to refuel then we have one of our “Jekyll and Hyde” episodes. Well, at least that is true for this introvert, not necessarily true for everyone.

If you want to read more about introverts, read The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World.