By Seamus Casey
Elm Staff Writer
Alone time is often viewed as someone being antisocial or just being lonely. For most people, this could not be further from the truth. According to Psychology Today, spending time alone allows one to reboot his or her brain as it needs rest and recovery like the rest of the body. Being alone with no distractions gives a person the chance to clear their mind and focus anew. Alone time improves concentration and in turn, leads to increased productivity. Travis Tradberry, contributor and co-author of “Emotional Intelligence 2.0” and President of TalentSmart, proved this with a study of 600 computer programmers at 92 companies across the nation. Tradberry found that while productivity levels were relatively stable within each company, they varied greatly from one company to the next. The more productive companies had one thing in common – they provided private work spaces that granted freedom from interruptions.
Being alone allows people to not only work more efficiently, but build confidence in themselves and better appreciate others when they return to a social situation. Constantly being with friends can cause one to lose his or her identity within the dynamics of a group and forget personal needs. Proper solitude also means detaching oneself from social media because, in reality, that is a group activity.
I know the value of alone time from my own experience growing up on a small farm relatively far from school and the urban life. I had a lot of alone time and spent it developing hobbies such as fishing and riding ATVs.
Research studies have shown that more can be accomplished in solitude than in a group. The primary reason: individuals in a group setting tend to slack off because they think less effort is needed and that others will compensate. A study by Keith Sawyer at Washington University in St. Louis suggests that being alone boosts creativity because individuals isolated from groups have many more ideas than people who pool their ideas.
There are other negatives to neglecting one’s time alone. For example, a person spending time on Facebook might become envious or even depressed when viewing the profiles of others because he or she might feel that their own life doesn’t match up. This can create an unhealthy lowering of self-esteem or even a “constant need to impress” others. Another detrimental aspect of continuously being attached to a group or social media is the chance that one becomes overly dependent on others. Finally, silence in group situations or lack of participation in social media can be incorrectly perceived by others as “missing out” or “loneliness.”
Therefore, students at Washington College should make alone time part of their daily routine so that they maintain a healthy body and mind, and give themselves the best opportunity to succeed in academics and life.