When was the last time you scheduled time to stay still? If you're like most people, it's been a long time since you did it. In books, videos, and webinars, productivity experts share a range of valuable information on productivity for work and life. Most are reliable and proven strategies, and each one of them will undoubtedly help you advance your goals. Yet, there’s one productivity tool that’s often overlooked: solitude.
What is solitude? Solitude is the art of being quiet and engaged with yourself -not to be confused with lonelyness. It may seem contradictory that nowadays when we're distancing from the rest of the world, we can't find time to be by ourselves. When was the last time you went for a walk for no other purpose than to let your mind wander freely? If you can't remember, this is the time to begin.
We aren’t used to quietness as a strategy to increase our productivity; on the contrary, society finds it unacceptable. We’re required to be always on the go. And let’s be honest, even these days, when we’re cooped up at home, we’re still always "on." Webinars and online courses are in fashion, and video calls are recurrent events. We stream anything, from boot camp and pure barre sessions to TV series that we binge-watch shamelessly. "It is a sign of the times," someone told me the other day.
Quietness has become so foreign to us that we don’t know how to handle it. I even think we’re afraid of being alone with our thoughts. Nowadays, with children at home for months, and remote work as the new normal, solitude has become ephemeral, though more important than ever. But also before the pandemic hit, we weren’t open to deliberately slacking off. Senior management sure scheduled time to do deep work, strategize, and plan, but this is different. It's allowing your mind to flow freely.
By now, you may be asking, how can “doing nothing” be conducive to improved productivity? Well, believe it or not, stillness is a constructive and beneficial practice to increase productivity. Taking time to disengage from the information overload surrounding you and making an effort not to be busy, affords your brain space to generate fresh ideas and to process information, which translates into heightened productivity. So, take a walk and enjoy nature, the blue skies, or the rain. Disconnect!
Choosing the best time for being alone with your thoughts is essential. Choose a time when nobody is waiting for you to do something else. Even if short, plan for time to disengage from your busyness and let your mind wander off in whatever direction it takes you.
With an ugly virus out there, children bored at home, and many jobs going remote indefinitely, we’re under a great deal of stress. The upside is that disruption provides an opportunity for change, for trying new things. Therefore, make time to enjoy the journey and appreciate wherever your imagination takes you. Don’t fret staying still for a while; it’s time well invested, and your job performance will confirm it.
Do you practice quietness and stillness regularly? I invite you to share your thoughts on this and other time management and productivity topics. If you find this post useful, like, share, and leave a comment below so others can see it. Thanks for reading, and may your planning bring you peace of mind this week.