I’m a self identified introvert and I really love time alone to sit and think (or run and think). As a husband, father of three and manager of designers, I don’t get nearly as much alone time as I once did. Don’t get me wrong, I love having in-depth conversation with the people that I’ve surrounded myself with. Hearing about my daughter’s day at school, going on walks with my wife and having one on ones with the Design Directors at thoughtbot are all incredibly fulfilling conversations and I don’t want them to change.
The issue that I keep running into is that I feel exhausted mentally after a few of these. This feeling is especially relevant after I’ve led a design sprint, which almost feels like waking up the morning after binge drinking. I head home after every day of the sprint feeling exhausted and delirious. This feeling, typical for many introverts, is called an introvert hangover because the symptoms are sometimes so similar.
Last Friday was especially bad for me because I had been in a sprint all week and then pushed my normal one on ones and meetings to the end of the week. This culminated in seven meetings on Friday lined up one after right after another. By the end of the day my brain felt like it had been used as a punching bag. Towards the end of days like these I end up saying stupid shit at best and at worst I say things I regret. Not so different to being drunk.
On my drive home I realized that I need to treat meetings like I would drinking. I need to space them out and make sure that I have down time alone for focused work. I need to make sure that if I’ve had back to back meetings all afternoon that my wife knows that I’m going to be a bit of a mess and that once the kids are in bed that I’ll need some time alone to recollect myself.