Most people view the concept of “solitude” from a negative point of view. They think solitude means a state of being alone, depressed, unwanted, and anti-social.
They are wrong.
They are wrong because they confuse “loneliness” with “solitude.” In reality, they are two different states of being.
Solitude is a choice to be alone to engage with oneself, a choice to get to know yourself in isolation without feeling isolated.
Loneliness is a negative form of solitude. This is when a person isolates himself because he feels incomplete. He feels something is missing, and even amid 100s of people, he feels out of touch.
What this article addresses is the positive type of solitude. The kind that helps you to gain the confidence you need to be yourself and to enjoy your own company.
Life changes rapidly. One day you are single with few obligations, and within a few years, you are married, you have kids, you have a 9 to 5 job and other responsibilities. You become so engrossed in the daily minutiae of life that it gets difficult to give your best to any endeavor.
For me, I have learned to spend some time away from it all. This has helped me to identify the activities that are most important to me and to focus my efforts on such activities.
The result is a more fulfilled life and higher levels of productivity.
Below, I will share with you how solitude can help you become more productive.
Ways in Which Solitude Can Help You to Become More Productive
Spending time alone will help you de-stress and recharge your batteries.
Life is full of many relationships we have to maintain, and these require a lot of physical and mental energy.
We have to soothe egos, resolve conflicts, read the emotions of others, deal with people we may not like, and interact with all kinds of people every day.
All of these take a toll. Time away will give the brain the time it needs to rest and recover. The requirements of day to day life builds our stress levels, and occasionally taking a break from it all will help us recharge and get ready for the next cycle.
Spending time alone will help you develop and evolve your thought process.
The truth is that we are all different, and we all have unique life experiences. No two individuals have the same values, abilities, skills, genetics, and natural gifts.
This will give the insight you need to develop a thought process and an individual approach to life that suits the way you see the world. And such an approach will facilitate finding your purpose and what you want to accomplish with your life.
Solitude will give you the time to plan your life.
Planning requires a lot of reflection, and reflection requires peace.
We spend a lot of time planning holidays, birthday showers, community events, weddings, and so on, but we hardly ever spare the time to map out our lives.
When you are alone, you have the time to evaluate your life goals, your progress, your challenges, your strengths, and how they all influence the current state of your life.
Solitude will help you reflect on those goals that remain unfulfilled and why you haven’t made much progress towards accomplishing them.
When you do this, you will identify what needs to change about your life and what needs to get better. You will be able to develop an actionable plan that will help you reach your goals.
When the path towards attaining your goals becomes clear, you become more focused, and your productivity will increase exponentially.
It will help you become more independent.
When you spend more time alone, you take a few trips alone, and you engage in fun activities that you can enjoy on your own, you become more self-reliant, leading to a higher level of independence.
Someone who always relies on others and who fails to learn necessary life skills will find it difficult to reach his potential and to improve the value he brings to society.
The ability to solve complex problems independently when the situation calls for it is vital to becoming a more productive individual.
The time you spend alone to develop yourself away from the judgmental glares of the rest of the world will give you the confidence you need to tackle challenges you need to face on your own.
It will boost your creativity.
Some of the most creative individuals in history have championed the positive impact of solitude on creativity.
According to the genius composer Wolfgang Mozart,
When I am, as it were, completely myself, entirely alone, and of good cheer-say, traveling in a carriage or walking after a good meal or during the night when I cannot sleep- it is on such occasions that my ideas flow best and most abundantly.- Wolfgang Mozart
This is why highly creative individuals like writers, artists, musicians, and inventors seclude themselves when they want to create something extraordinary.
I am not saying great inventions have not been born out of collaborative effort; most ideas come from collective brainstorming. But, truly exceptional ideas are often developed in solitude.
It will help you gain the right perspective to deal with the troubles of life.
According to Thomas Merton in the book ‘Thoughts in Solitude,’ he said, “We cannot see things in perspective until we cease to hug them to our bosom.”
This means that when we take a break from it all, we remove all the distractions and noise that cloud our thoughts, we can examine life events with more clarity.
We develop a perspective that is not affected by the negative thoughts that naturally cloud our thinking when something unpleasant happens to us.
Instead of drowning in negative thoughts, we recognize that everyone has problems, we try to solve our problems by reflecting on ways we can improve. We learn to better appreciate the positive things in our lives.
A person that is free of inhibitive negative thoughts will have the freedom to enjoy life, and a happy person will be more productive.
How to Create the Time to Be Alone
You voluntarily decide to spend some time alone.
If the time you spend in solitude will be beneficial, it has to be a voluntary decision. You are the one who decided to join social groups, and when you want to step away temporarily from those groups, it has to be a personal choice.
When a feeling of rejection enforces solitude, if it is motivated by the belief that you don’t belong, then such isolation will not lead to rejuvenation.
Instead, it leads to loneliness and depression.
When you choose to step away, you should be making it of your own free will. You are making a choice because you recognize the benefits, and you are confident and relaxed that you can easily re-connect with the social groups you are stepping away from.
You must learn to love who you are
If you don’t enjoy being the real you, there is no way you will enjoy spending time with yourself. You need to fall in love with everything that makes you special and accept all your imperfections that cannot be changed.
Think about how your special attributes have fueled your achievements in life. The promotions you got because you are diligent, the skills that come naturally to you, the accolades you got because you did something you love doing, and so on.
If you are spending time alone, then you need to like yourself, because we only truly enjoy hanging out with the people that make us happy.
Schedule some alone-time and include activities you enjoy
If you don’t set time aside for solitude, it will not happen. You need to allocate a specific time that you will regularly spend alone—a time when you will do away with all commitments and distractions and focus on yourself.
It is easier to enjoy your time alone when you are doing the things you love. Many people avoid solitude because they can’t figure out what to do when they are alone.
The time you have allocated for yourself is a great time to re-discover activities you used to enjoy when you had more time to yourself. It is the time to explore interests that have always fascinated you but that you just couldn’t find the time for.
If you are not accustomed to being alone, take baby steps. Start with a few hours a week and use it to reflect on what makes you unique. With time you can allocate more hours to enjoy the activities you truly love doing alone.
When you get comfortable with your own company, then you will have the strength and skill to delve into your thoughts truly.
Envelop yourself in your thoughts
When you are alone, you become more aware of your thoughts and your real emotions. A time spent in reflection without any external stimuli will force you to look within and think about the things that are important to you.
It is in this state that a significant number of the most complex problems in the world are solved.
This inspiration can give birth to ideas, transformative ideas that will help you contribute more to your work, and this will effectively make you more productive.
In our hyperactive world, taking time to be all by ourselves is a great luxury. Being alone doesn’t mean you have to be lonely. I love being with people, but alone -times offer me an excellent opportunity to focus, do deep work, and achieve more.