by Matt Alderton | November 09, 2017
If you had just one word to sum up our modern society, a good choice would be "distracted," suggests Harvard Business Review contributor Mike Erwin, co-author of "Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude" and CEO of the Character & Leadership Center.

"Technology has undoubtedly ushered in progress in a myriad of ways. But this same force has also led to work environments that inundate people with a relentless stream of emails, meetings, and distractions," Erwin says.

If you're having a hard time staying focused with so many distractions, there's an easy solution, according to Erwin: solitude.

"Build periods of solitude into your schedule," Erwin advises. "Treat it as you would any meeting or an appointment. If you don't schedule and commit to solitude, something else will fill the space. One need not be Henry David Thoreau here; 15-minute pockets of solitude are very effective. If we spend our entire workday sitting in meetings and answering emails, it leaves little space in our minds to do the hard thinking that is essential to good decision making and leadership."

What you do during your solitude also is important, according to Erwin, who says you should use your moments of solitude to create a "stop doing" list.

"There are only so many hours in a day. As your to-do list grows, you cannot keep accumulating more tasks," he explains. "Solitude gives you the space to reflect on where your time is best spent, which provides you with the clarity to decide which meetings you should stop attending, which committees you should step down from, and which invitations you should politely decline."

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Questions, Comments, Suggestions?
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