The Advantage Of Solitude In A World Of Distraction

| January 10, 2018

In the words of Albert Einstein “The solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.”

We live in a hyper-distracted world where technology has created work environments disrupted by a constant stream of telephone calls, emails, tweets, texts, and meetings. In 2010, Eric Schmidt, then the CEO of Google said that “every two days, we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization until 2003.”

Multi-tasking is the norm for our work day, but a body of research now developing shows that our IQ drops by 5 to 15 points when we try to focus on more than one thing at a time, with a corresponding decrease in performance as much as 50%.

This being the case, and the onslaught of information demanding our attention being relentless, it is wise to build times of solitude into our day – a time to shut off the sources of distraction and focus on what is most important, rather than what is most urgent.

Doing so requires discipline, or if you lack the discipline, it requires structure.  Build periods of solitude and concentration into your schedule.  Determine what is your most effective time of the day (first thing in the morning?  late in the afternoon?) and make that a time to focus on the most important project of that day, in solitude. Schedule your meetings for your lesser productive times; and schedule your least productive time for the mundane tasks. Then guard that time carefully. Schedule it as though it was a meeting. Block it on your calendar so that no one else can fill it. Close the door if necessary, shut off the alerts, and focus your attention and your creativity on what is most important.

Most productive people have a “To Do List.”  Maybe it is time to create a “Stop Doing List” as well.  Some things on your Stop Doing List should be delegated to others, some are distractions to be put aside, some are counter-productive to a healthy life and should just be eliminated altogether.

Finally, just as you should not allow the busyness of the work day distract you from productive solitude, Christians should not allow the busyness of the world to distract them from a time of spiritual solitude, of time with the Lord. No one was ever more busy than Jesus Christ.  Yet, while His disciples said that “everyone is looking for You,” Jesus “went out, and departed to a solitary place and there He prayed.” (Mark 1: 35 – 37).

We would be wise to do the same.

Category: Lifestyle