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How to Use Solitude to Your Advantage

Written by Jacob Salem

The world of business moves much faster than the world of farming (to give just one example).  Mergers, acquisitions, quarterly reports, conferences, meetings, and tight accounting practices are just some of the monthly responsibilities you may have on your plate if you engage in business. 

It’s exhilarating to be such a mover and shaker, and the excitement of a new development keeps us going. 

However, in such a frenetic environment it is difficult to take a moment of pause.  It’s challenging to disconnect every week and find some solitude for you and your thoughts.

But is solitude worth it?

Yes.  Much like the oft-overlooked benefits of sleep, the scientific community is in practically universal agreement on the benefits of solitude.

One study by the University of London found our IQ drops 15 points when we multitask. 

This is backed up in the research conducted by Clifford Nass, who has concluded that distractions prevent the brain from adequately filtering out irrelevant information.

So clearly there is enough evidence to back up the claim that distractions harm productivity. 

You probably already knew that, but it helps to have numbers to back it up.  The funny thing about distractions is that they can emerge just as often from internal sources (fatigue, stress) as external (social media messaging, texting while talking, etc.).  Harnessing the value of solitude is a great reliever of distraction no matter it’s source. 

What Is a Good Way to Integrate Solitude into My Schedule?

It all revolves around effective time management.  You can start by taking 15 minutes at the beginning of each day to close your eyes and reflect.  This simple practice will help dispel anxieties about the upcoming day that would otherwise build up.  It might sound cheesy – but it works. 

Another great tactic is to schedule a half an hour block every day in which you do some activity on your own.  It might be a walk around the blog, a trip to a local gallery or museum … anything that will take your mind of work for a short time.  Personally, I take Jiu Jitsu classes. That time is on my calendar several times per week.

How Can Solitude Help My Business?

There are tons of ways solitude has material benefits to your business.  However, to get to the material benefits you need to first improve your own mental and physical health. 

Solitude Improves Mental Health

Tips for ensuring strong mental health are not shared enough amongst the business community.  Why is it that we cannot support each other in taking breaks and slowly down for a minute? Symptoms of weak mental health include: feeling overwhelmed, stressed, general uncertainty, lacking hunger, not sleeping very well.  The best cure is taking some time out for yourself.  You will become a happier and more productive worker if you do!

Solitude Can Make You a Stronger Leader

Taking time for solitude will make you a better leader because it will help you form a stronger understanding of your own identity.  What does that mean, exactly?  It means that you have taken the time to reflect deeply on issues affecting you and your team, and in those moments developed potential solutions.  That’s what leaders do: they tackle the big issues with originality and think through problems affecting everyone. 

Gives You Time for Brainstorming

Creativity in business is of vital importance, but it notoriously difficult to harness.  When you are overworked and stressed there is no time for finding creative solutions to your business.  Taking 30 minutes a day to let your mind wander will provide an opportunity for creative solutions to just pop into your head.

Do your best to integrate solitude into your weekly schedule, and if you’re like me, it will become self-evident that taking time away for yourself will make your business life more enjoyable and productive.