Matt Browne ( @MatthewLiberty) tweeted a link to a Newsweek article entitled “100 Tweets of Solitude”. The article addresses the more media/still lonely paradox. A strong believer in the difference between loneliness and solitude, I realized loneliness comes unbidden, but solitude is chosen. The key is balance based on individual goals, personality, and key relationships (both online and off) in our lives.
Solitude is chosen, it can refresh and re-create. Solitude is not so much time alone, as time with ourselves. I’m a solitude guy in a social butterfly family. I make a living connecting people to God and others. I’d offer less to the people in my life if I did not intentionally cultivate solitude.
Here’s a paradox; I use tech and social media in ways that enhance time for writing, thinking, and solitude. Here’s some ideas if you’re interested:
1) Zero (or near-zero) your email inbox every day. Check email at set times of the day, so you don’t worry about it 24/7. Instantly delete emails that aren’t relevant. For relevant emails; open, immediately respond, take needed action, then delete. Using your email inbox as a reminder or to-do list is a losing game.
2) Choose forms of engagement and maximize them. Face to face engagements are best for counseling, teaching, conflict resolution, rapport building, family, friends, co-workers, and when my mom shows up. Use the phone when face to face isn’t needed, and email is not enough.
3) Use one central device if possible, preferably mobile. Time for an Iphone commercial; it has indeed changed my life. I manage three email accounts (1 work, 2 personal), Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, and I enjoy the Notes feature for writing; the notes can be emailed to other devices. The Iphone lets me do all this with my left hand, leaving the right hand free to hoist a coffee mug. A laptop at home and a desktop at work round out the picture.
4) Manage your social media accounts with a preferred client such as Tweetdeck or HootSuite. Tweetdeck on Iphone works for me, a glance and a sweep of columns updates me quickly. A key is self-awareness; know who and what you want via social media. Be thoughtful, respectful, interesting, and bring something to the table.
Solitude is awesome. Get some. I hope these ideas help.
Yikes! Gotta go, my mom’s here.