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Susan Cain

September 18, 2015 by Speakers' Spotlight

How the World’s Most Famous Introvert Deals with a Schedule Filled with People

Susan Cain believes society overvalues the gregariousness of extroverts and dramatically undervalues the talents of introverts. In her bestselling book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, and in her record-smashing TED talk, Cain explores ways to tap-in to the quieter contingent–in the workplace, the classroom, and elsewhere–whose input we cannot afford to waste. TechInsider looks at how this famous introvert spends her busy, people-filled days:

Ever since she penned the 2012 mega-hit “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” Susan Cain has become the long-needed voice for the voiceless.

We like to think of her as the patron saint of introverts.

But amidst all the new and exciting things projects Cain is taking on, including starting a company and designing smarter office spaces for the working world’s quieter types, we began to wonder: How does the person who helps introverts help herself?

What does a typical day look like for our patron saint?

Though Cain says the idea of a “typical” day makes her go “um,” she was nice enough to come up with a basic outline.

“I remember when I was writing ‘Quiet,’ I didn’t even own a daily calendar — I didn’t need one,” she says. “My schedule consisted of: Write and research ‘Quiet.’ That was a very blissful time.”

These days, things look a little different:

7 a.m.-8:30 a.m.: Hang out with my family.

8:30 a.m.-12 p.m.: Head for library or cafe for blissful time, alone with my laptop, in a state of flow, with a latte on hand. Look around periodically and think: “I can’t believe how beautiful this library/cafe is.” (I choose my work locales very carefully). Then think, I can’t believe how lucky I am to do work that I love so much.

12 p.m.-1 p.m.: Answer reader mail. Share especially poignant or inspiring stories (with names removed) with various Quiet Revolution colleagues, so we can all remember why we do this work.

1 p.m.-3:30 p.m.: I usually schedule meetings and media interviews for afternoons. I’m pretty fanatical about scheduling them in chunks, back to back, thereby preserving the rest of the day for flow-time and family.

3:30 p.m.-7 p.m.: Kids get home from school/camp, and it’s dedicated family time.*

7 p.m.: In the early evening, I try to go for a run or get in a quick game of tennis. Then it’s back for the kids’ bedtime.

8:30 p.m.: After the kids go to bed, I usually hang out with my husband or go back to work.

* “Also, a few times a year I try to like cooking,” Cain says. “This happens to be one of those times. So tonight will involve my attempt to make Moroccan chicken.”

Chris Weller/TechInsider/September, 2015