On Quiet, Undistracted Alone Time

A few days ago Mike Schmitz wrote our pick on The Sweet Setup for the best meditation app.

I have long been a proponent and practitioner of regular, quiet, alone time — it is something that has (mostly) been part of my normal day for more than 20 years. (Even as someone who is 100% on the extrovert scale.)

If you read my article from yesterday, I shared about how to have an Apple Watch recovery day by using the Mind & Body workout type on the Apple Watch.

And, as I hinted at in that article, there is additional reason I like the Mind & Body workout type beyond using it as a recovery day workout.

I also like the Mind & Body workout type as a way to help me purposefully set aside 15 – 30 minutes of my day for some device-free, undistracted, quite alone time.

Now, of course, you don’t need an Apple Watch or a meditation app in order to set aside and have some quite, undistracted alone time. But if either of those are tools that can help you, then by all means you should take advantage of them.

. . . . .

Back in 2014 I recorded a podcast and wrote an article about something I call “The Just Checks”.

The Just Checks is about the habit of checking our inboxes: Twitter, Instagram, Email, Facebook, et al.

And the problem behind the The Just Checks is that they rob us of our ability to focus and do deep work (by training our brains to resort to inboxes when we are bored, or challenged). And this habit robs us of any quiet alone time. Why?

Because checking Twitter does not qualify as quiet alone time.

Though we may be physically alone, we are distracted and are not alone with our own thoughts — we’re scrolling other people’s thoughts, stories, inputs, ideas, opinions, etc.

And so, if our moments of down time are filled with inboxes and social media, then we’re never actually being alone. And over time this lack of solitude — “Solitude Deprivation” — can be a serious issue that can lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.

My challenge to you this week: Set aside 15 minutes sometime this week to have some quiet, undistracted, alone time.

P.S. On my shelf are two recent books on the matter: Digital Minimalist by Cal Newport and Stillness is the Key by Ryan Holiday. To be honest, I haven’t yet read these books. But they are in my queue.

On Quiet, Undistracted Alone Time