How to Use Your Alone Time More Productively

Most writers won’t need advice relating to the second part of the above title:

(and Actively Enjoy It)

But, hey, just in case:


by Adam Dachis

Few people enjoy being alone, or at least feel somewhat socially rejected if they do. Nevertheless, solitude can make you more self-sufficient, add to your confidence, and help you get to know yourself a lot better. If being alone scares you, bores you, or just isn’t your favorite thing, here’s how you can fix that and make your time more productive.

You, like many people, might get stuck on the idea that being alone is like having some sort of disease—even if you’re the kind of person that prefers being alone. You might skip movies in the theater if you have to attend in solitude. Or maybe you criticize yourself for eating lunch at your desks instead of with coworkers or friends. Perhaps you spend too much of our time out with others because you just don’t know what to do when you’re by yourself. With a little work, however, you can make your alone time much more productive. With the help of Roger S. Gil, a clinician specializing in marriage and family therapy, and Eric Klinenberg, professor of sociology at NYU and author of Going Solo, we’ll to look at the benefits of solitude and how you can use them to your advantage.

You Can Engage in Productive Introspection

The parts of being alone that frighten us can actually help us. When nobody else distracts us, we have the opportunity to become introspective. You, like many others, may not look forward to moments of introspection. The idiom “you are your own worst enemy” exists because we tend to criticize ourselves more harshly than anyone else. Nevertheless, if you engage in introspection productively, you can wind up feeling better rather than worse. Roger explains:

By taking the time to understand what our core beliefs are about ourselves, others, and the world at large, we can gain greater insights into our own thought processes and how our minds work. “Alone time” helps us shut out the noise introduced by others and get to inspecting our emotional baggage.

Instead of criticizing recent behaviors or worrying about the future, use introspection to think about what you believe and what matters to you. Spend a little time considering the positive actions you took in a given day or week. When analyzing personal weaknesses, think about how you may improve. Negative thoughts tend to find their way to the forefront of our minds when we have no other distractions, and that’s okay. Just approach them productively. See your alone time as an opportunity to solve problems through introspection and get to know yourself better rather than a time to dwell on the downsides of your life.

You Get to Do Whatever You Want

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