How often are you alone with your thoughts?
I mean really alone: no cell phone to distract you, no “Can I ask a quick question?” pop-ins, no email notifications pinging?
According to Cal Newport in his terrific book Digital Minimalism, solitude is crucially important to our growth and success:
“When you avoid solitude, you miss out on the positive things it brings you: the ability to clarify hard problems, to regulate your emotions, to build moral courage, and to strengthen relationships.”
Solitude is important. It is also becoming more and more rare.
This week, create a moment of solitude.
If you’re like many of my coaching clients, you will look at your calendar and see meeting upon meeting upon meeting. You might initially think, “I have no room for solitude.”
I challenge you to create room for it, keeping a few things in mind:
- Small pockets count, especially to start. Fifteen minutes of being alone with your thoughts is better than zero.
- You could combine your solitude with a walk, a bike ride, or a morning coffee.
- Find a park bench, head to a coffee shop, or hop on a local bus for a bit of solitude. That’s right: You can be alone with your thoughts even when you’re not physically alone (just like you can be physically alone and completely distracted – by your phone, for example).
The benefits to regular solitude are numerous and relate to everything from productivity to physical health to goal achievement. Give yourself the gift of a few minutes of solitude this week, and see if you can increase the regularity of it in your life over the coming month.
And be sure to peek at my blog
later this week for a few of my takeaways from Digital Minimalism