Introduction: How to Make the Most of Alone Time
Time on your own is precious. Modern life can be very busy. Your job, your social life and your family jostle for your time so it might be unusual that you get any time alone. Here are five suggestions of how you could make the most of alone time.
Leave your smartphone in the other room, turn off the TV and do something worthwhile. If you don't feel like you have time, make time! Do the urgent jobs now and write a list of the things that will wait a few days. By writing a list it's a lot easier to let go of them and do something else without getting stressed about it.
Get yourself a decent pair of ear plugs such as my ZenPlugs. I developed these myself because I couldn't find a comfortable, effective pair of ear plugs which stayed in my ears. I use them a lot for meditating and to help restful sleep. They are molded at home from a kit in a few minutes to give comfortable, antibacterial plugs which last for years. If you think they might be helpful you can get them from http://www.zenplugs.com.
Step 1: Learn a New Skill
Most people have a dream ability they have always wanted. Use your time to better yourself by learning the piano, practising mixing records or learning computer aided design. Create a bucket list of things you would love to be able to do and work your way through them.
If your not sure what to do use a job-list app (sorry, you'll need to go and get your iPhone again) or an old-fashioned pen and notebook to write ideas as you have them then choose the best.
Step 2: Learn Meditation and Mindfulness
Meditation and mindfulness are useful skills for anybody. Whether you work in a busy job, a boring job or are a stay at home mum/dad meditation will improve your health, happiness, energy levels and make the world seem a better place.
Although many mindfulness exercises can be done with other people and whilst out and about, it is worth learning to cultivate stillness of the mind whilst you are alone. It is then much easier to carry this stillness with you when you are with other people.
Whilst practicing your meditation it is a good idea to create a serene environment to allow you to cultivate a quiet mind. Turn off your phone, put your ear plugs in and try to choose a time of day when you are unlikely to be interrupted.
Studies have shown that people's sense of wellbeing improves significantly when they meditate. I am planning a simple post on how to meditate so check out my Instructables list in the next couple of weeks if it's not up already.
Step 3: Write a Blog
Writing a blog about yourself, your work or your area of expertise is a wonderful thing to do. There are several reasons for this. Writing about parts of your life can be cathartic and encourages you to look at it, study it and think again.
You may learn things about yourself and the world around you which surprise you. Teaching your area of expertise to others, whether it is cooking, parenting or professional photography is therapeutic, intellectual stimulating and can add value to your life. Set up an Amazon Associates account (it's easy) and when people buy things from Amazon having been directed from your page you get a cut! So if you are doing a cookery blog you can recommend cookery books and kitchen ware, or a building blog, building kit. Earn yourself some extra cash!
Step 4: Solve a Problem
Sit down with a cup tea, a piece of paper and a pencil and solve a problem. Problem-solving can be fun; try to come up with an invention or app to help with a problem you have been having at work, in the kitchen or the garden.
Just because you feel that you don't know enough about the problem to be able to solve it doesn't mean that you won't be able to come up with a great solution. If you research existing solutions for problems you will find it a huge range of approaches.
Think through the things in your life which you consider to be problems. This could be a problem you are having with another person, a problem with your life, for example you don't have enough money or a problem with your house.
Sometimes having training or too much knowledge in an area can be a disadvantage because it can railroad your thoughts in a certain direction. Newbies with quirky ideas may just come up with something amazing.
Step 5: Write a Book
Everybody has at least one book in them. Brainstorm a few ideas to start with. You might already have some ideas in the back of your mind which have been there for some years. Most people have an interesting part of their lives they can talk about and embellish with some stories.
Alternatively, is there a skill in your life which you have mastered? If you put your learning into writing you have yourself an e-book and a way of making yourself a small income. Nowadays it is easy to self publish on the Amazon Kindle store. It costs nothing, you simply upload your book to the Kindle store and set the price and people can download it.
Use a book writing app to give you a template and guidance on layout and structure. By writing on your phone you can use Siri to dictate quickly or tap away on the keyboard on the tube or during your lunchbreak. You can note down ideas as you think of them. Create some space by turning off your phone, wearing your ear plugs and finding a quiet corner where you won't be disturbed.
You could combine this with Tip number 3 to publicise your book. Writing a blog with excerpts of the book is a great way to encourage downloads.
Summary. Make the most of time to yourself. You could learn a new skill, meditate, write a blog, solve a problem or write a book. Have fun!