dadworking

Reflecting on priorities of family & work

The Introvert’s Disadvantage

I hope I don’t come across as that dad who would love nothing more than to spend every waking hour with my kids. It will be tested this weekend, as we all have a 4 day weekend – thanks to the very generous holiday policy of my organization. I do enjoy spending lots of time with my kids and think they are at a fun age; truth be told, I’ve been saying that for 4 years now. But there is someone I enjoy spending time with just as much and sometimes more – me. You see, I’m an introvert. I read a book once that told me that being an introvert was an advantage, but I’m not sold.

Myers-Briggs classifies me as an INTJ – Introvert, INtuitive, Thinking, Judging. In relation to this topic, that means socializing and participating meaningfully in large groups, such as meetings at work, is a challenge and takes extra effort and energy. That energy spent at work impacts the quality and quantity of the time I can tolerate my kids without going crazy.

The (tk) amount of time I can spend with my kids and not go crazy is not a fixed number. In fact, it’s a relatively complicated algorithm the likes of which Google would be jealous of. The factors that go into the equation include:

  • w = how much I have to be “on” at work; inversely proportional to how much (i) independent, heads down work I have
  • s = sleep – quality and quantity (mine and my kids)
  • n = number of hours/days since last nap
  • f = coefficient of friction between my kids at that particular time
  • me = last instance of “me time”
  • bac = alcohol consumption – quality and quantity (just kidding – sort of)

I think the equation looks something like this, but it’s been about 20 years since I’ve done calculus.

tk = f(w(s+n)me+ bac)/i

When I have days at work with lots of time on such as facilitating or participating in strategic meetings, it’s much more of a challenge for me to be on at home. Sometimes I just need to collapse on the couch and watch TV. My wife can tell how intense my day was by the amount of conversation (or the lack thereof) I engage in with her when we’re both done with our work day. One of the biggest factors outside of what I’m doing at work, is the amount of “me time” I’ve had in the recent past.

turtle

(Picture via http://www.oddlysaid.com)

Time away from my family makes me a better father and husband. I don’t require loads of time – an hour at the gym, an hour-long nap on weekends, a guys weekend a couple of times a year, et. al. Nothing crazy. Cooking dinner is actually a great strategy I’ve developed in order to have me time. It’s just me with knives, pots, pans, food, and usually a glass of wine or a beer. I can let my mind wander and recharge my extrovert reserves as I prepare the meal in order to have the self-control to not hurl said pots and pans at my kids when they start to fight over the inanest of things and enjoy or time together.

It’s hard to predict the number of interactions my introverted self will have at work, but I can plan things for just me to help keep me sane. Not only is this time not selfish, but it’s a requirement to be a great dad. Knowing my personality type and being aware of triggers, helps me to adapt and transition from work time to family time. What do you do for me time? How does your personality type impact your prioritization of work and family?

5 comments on “The Introvert’s Disadvantage

  1. Daniel De Guia
    February 13, 2015

    As a fellow introvert, I can sympathize. It ain’t easy, especially if your spouse is very extroverted, as mine is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Andrew
    February 15, 2015

    I was told there would be no math on this blog.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. stefanie cavender
    February 16, 2015

    my husband is an introvert and im an extrovert although i need the me time too in order to be able to keep cool in a public while my kids are each screaming in an ear and tugging on both pant legs. I dont get much of that time during the week so unless involved in an organized extra curricular activitu, we stay in. When the weekend rolls around im ready to get out of the house and go have fun with my hubby there to help. My husband on the other hand would like nothing more than to stay home. It takes an immense amount of effort to decide what would be a good balance of both our desires. Maybe we both need more of the bal in our formula! 🙂

    Like

  4. What a great post! I can very much relate to the “me time” part of the equation. Unfortunately (especially for my family) I have yet to find that “me time” in my cooking…though the glass of wine during the preparation helps tremendously.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: PTO – I Use it or I Lose It (mentally, that is) | dad working

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This entry was posted on February 13, 2015 by in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , .
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