Want to Boost Your Productivity? Go Tech-Free & Embrace Stillness

no emailHave you ever felt busy but not productive? Like you’re sitting at your desk for several consecutive hours and yet nothing is getting accomplished?

Per a piece on Fast Company, there’s a strong case for sitting still. Being over doing, silence over noise.

For instance, the writer spent a month at an artist residency in Wyoming. In addition to living off a dirt road without cell phone service and spotty internet connection, she writes, “It was also a dream.”

The New Yorker initially looked at her phone and after a moment of panic she quickly realized that her phone was going to take on a new identity. Yes, it had morphed into a paperweight.

Pointing out our need to disconnect because it squashes our ability to focus and be present, we simultaneously have the need to connect online. It’s addicting. It’s just a fact of life. Does it have to be 24/7 though?

It sounds like the writer enjoyed her experience. Although friends and family asked if she got bored and lonely, she was able to feel emotions. Yes, she felt lonely a times but she didn’t suffocate emotions or distract herself with a smartphone. Instead, she chose to feel her emotions, a full range of them.

She writes, “Doing that requires focus–the same kind of focus, I’d argue, that’s needed when coming up against a challenge in your creative work.”

The experience of disconnecting gave her a sense of being comfortable with stillness and solitude. After mentioning there’s a sense of discomfort at first, at the end of the day you’re more focused.

She recalls:

“For those four weeks, I was constantly engaged with my work, but for the first time since I can remember, when asked the question, ‘How are you?’ my default answer was not ‘busy.’ Creative work requires prolonged concentration. It often requires solitude. It requires not being busy, but being focused.”

And while we’re not all able to jet to Wyoming for a month, there are ways to incorporate solitude into our daily lives. Decrease the busy and amp up the silence, the focus, the quality time to be present with ourselves. Whether it’s yoga or meditation, going for a walk or simply not bringing your phone when you head to the gym, it’s all good. Maybe that’s because people actually respect the need to disconnect and wish they could do more of it themselves.